Microsoft adds new intelligent features to Teams, boosting collaboration and productivity

Microsoft celebrated one year of its Teams platform by adding new features and improving integrations with calling and meeting room devices.

Building a slide deck, pitch, or presentation? Here are the big takeaways:
  • Microsoft is adding a long list of software and hardware features to its Teams app, all of which are due out later this year.
  • Changes include extended hardware integrations, new native app support, transcription and translation features, Cortana integration, and mobile quality-of-life features.

In celebration of its first year of availability, Microsoft has announced a list of new features coming to Microsoft Teams over the coming months.

New features include quality-of-life improvements to the Teams app, as well as extended hardware integrations and new partners. Microsoft is also adding Direct Routing telephony integration to Teams in Q2 2018, making it the only listed feature to have a release date.

Over 200,000 businesses started using Microsoft Teams in 2017. Whether your business only uses it for team sharing, or it's part of your larger collaboration infrastructure, these upcoming updates have something for everyone.

New Microsoft Teams software features

It's worth noting that there is no release date attached to any of these features, aside from the Direct Routing integration mentioned above. Microsoft only mentioned "later this year" in regards to these software updates, so it's anyone's guess when they'll become available.

  • Cloud meeting recording: Microsoft is adding one-click meeting recording capabilities that will include fully searchable timecoded transcripts. Meeting videos will also be available for playback, and Microsoft said facial recognition will be coming in the future, allowing transcriptions to have speaker attribution.
  • Inline message translation: Teams chat will be able to translate messages inline, making collaboration across language barriers simpler.
  • Cortana integration: Cortana will be integrated into Teams, allowing calls, joining conferences, and adding people to meetings to be done with voice commands. Microsoft also said that Cortana functions will be added to conference room hardware and IP phones.
  • Background video blur: Teams video will be able to blur video background to force attention on the speaker.
  • Proximity meeting room detection: This feature will allow users to connect to nearby Teams-enabled meeting rooms.
  • Mobile sharing: Meeting participants will be able to share live video, photos, and screen captures from their mobile devices that have Teams installed.

New and improved Teams hardware integrations

A lot of the software updates focused on meetings and real-time collaboration, which requires hardware integrations to make happen. Like the software updates, there are no release dates attached to these features or devices. Microsoft has provided a roadmap for Teams-powered devices that provides more specific information, including some release dates.

SEE: New equipment budget policy (Tech Pro Research)

  • Surface Hub integration: Teams will now be natively supported on the Microsoft Surface Hub.
  • New hardware integrations: Previous partners Logitech, Crestron, and Polycom are being joined by HP and Lenovo in offering Teams-integrated hardware. Microsoft also said that all Skype Room Systems will now support Teams meetings as well.
  • Existing hardware connection certifications: Teams is certifying connections with BlueJeans, Pexip, and Polycom "to support interoperability for meetings in Teams with existing hardware investments."
  • Native Teams app in desk and conference room phones: Desk phones from AudioCodes and Yealink and new conference room phones from Crestron, Polycom, and Yealink will have a native Teams application.
  • Mobile phone stations: Plantronics is introducing mobile phone stations to "combine the Teams experience with desk phone capabilities," though what that means hasn't been revealed.

Also see

Image: Microsoft

About Brandon Vigliarolo

Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.

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