Microsoft is bringing third-party app integration to Teams that will allow developers to bring additional in-meeting functionality to its video conferencing software.

New API and SDK capabilities coming to Teams will allow third-party apps to display notifications and other content while a meeting is running, such as polls, surveys and virtual whiteboards. Previously, developers could only integrate their apps within channels, one-to-one chats and group chats as opposed to meetings themselves, meaning the only way of sharing information sitting in apps outside of Teams has to share your screen – which comes with its share of privacy concerns.

“Meetings extensibility has been a highly requested from both our customers and partners for good reason,” Microsoft said in a blog post on its Teams community page.

“There are numerous scenarios across lines of business, industries, and competencies where these extensibility points will unlock opportunities to enhance collaboration and productivity.”

Third-party developers will be able to configure how their apps interact with Teams before, during, and after a meeting. The apps themselves will available as buttons within the Teams control window. For example, developers will be able to take advantage of in-meeting “content bubbles” allowing apps to display important information to meeting participants based on their role.

Enterprise software providers Polly, Open Agora, iCIMS, Miro and HireVue are among the first customers that will take advantage of the new capabilities. Polly and Open Agora both allow users to create and distribute polls and surveys, while iCIMS and HireVue provide talent acquisition and interviewing platforms and Miro offers virtual whiteboard tools.

Developers will be able to take advantage of in-meeting “content bubbles” allowing apps to display important information to meeting participants.

Integration will start opening up in a developer preview mode over the coming weeks, Microsoft said, with general availability expected later in 2020.

“Microsoft Teams is the hub for teamwork and with these new meetings extensibility points, developers will be able to enable richer collaboration experiences across the meetings lifecycle,” said Microsoft.

“End users will enjoy an enhanced end-to-end meetings experience as they go from scheduling the meeting to attending the meeting to collaborate with meeting attendees after

Bringing third-party app integration to Teams marks enough step in Microsoft’s mission to makes its conferencing and collaboration platform the go-to choice for businesses that continue to operate remotely during the pandemic. Most recently the company introduced Together mode, which is designed to make meetings more engaging by whisking participants into a virtual auditorium surrounded by their colleagues. The new feature will be landing in August alongside other updates.

Microsoft Teams, Google Meet and Zoom, have all been contending closely in the remote working space since the start of worldwide lockdowns, with Slack, BlueJeans and Zoho among the other business software providers also capitalizing on the remote working boom.

Adding support for popular third-party business tools not only builds on Team’s ever-growing list of capabilities, but will also make the platform more appealing to developers looking to bring their software to Microsoft’s 75 million-strong Teams user base.