Microsoft Teams, which was only known to corporate offices before, has become famous and widely used in the COVID-19 pandemic. As everything shifted to the cyberspace, apps like zoom and Teams have taken center stage, and continue to attract new users. Microsoft Teams was mostly used by schools, to create formal, yet user friendly channels for different subjects of every class. Teams was better for formal conversations for school as it organized subjects, and consolidated e-notebooks, material uploaded by the teacher, and other aspects of the classroom into one app. However, the power point sharing was a loose point for the app, which often glitched and more importantly hid the speaker from view. This is now being resolved by the organization, as the company is introducing a new slew of features for the app.

The latest upgrade of Teams was announced today, with a preview of Teams Connect. This new feature will allow the creation of channels with people inside and outside the organization. These new channels will be in the same list of channels as before, and the channel admin will have complete control over who can access which part of the channel.

The other upgrade is even more interesting, and is called PowerPoint Live. With this, Teams aims to enhance the PPT sharing experience of users with several new options.

For the screen sharer, this would mean that they will be able to view all of their own notes, slides, and meetings in a singular view. This was a much-requested feature, as earlier when a user was sharing their screen, they were not able to see anything else on their team tabs without broadcasting it to the world. This new feature will resolve this issue, along with making the share even more engaging as now the viewer will have the option of viewing the video of the speaker alongside the presentation.

The announcement mentions 3 new modes for this: a standout mode which will make the speakers video appear in front of the shared content; a reporter mode that will show the shared content behind the speaker, as if they were standing in front of a smart board at home; and the side-by side-mode which will split the screen into two. The standout mode would be launched in March, while the others will be launched soon.
The viewer will now also have the option of flicking through the whole presentation independent of the sharer as they wish, as well as see a summary of the slides using a screen reader. Also, at the beginning of the meeting, Teams will automatically adjust the layout of the videos and shared content according to the kind of the meeting. It will also put the gallery of videos at the top of the screen so that the speaker can maintain eye contact with both the people and the camera at the same time.

Teams has also increased the number of participants who can attend an interactive meeting. Now, up to 1,000 attendees are allowed in a single meeting. Additionally, for a broadcast meeting, where only one person has to address the others, say a CEO or a principal to the parent community, there can be up to 20,000 attendees. This feature will be reduced to 10,000 in June 2021, according to the understanding that by then we will be back in school and offices.

Moreover, Microsoft is already developing new technologies such as voice identifying features for conference room. It is also working with Dell to build smart conference room monitors and speaker bars. Seems like Microsoft is anticipating and planning for the time when the use of Teams will go down, and ensuring that its revenue won’t!