These New Microsoft Teams Features Will Help Boost Your Business Communications

COVID-19 has caused a major disruption to many Australian businesses. To operate effectively, leaders have been forced to rely on technology to keep their businesses viable. Even as we see the country beginning to relax social distancing rules, travel restrictions across state borders and internationally are still in place, which continues to put a strain on business operations. Through this crisis, IT services providers have partnered with tech giants such as Microsoft to actively supporting businesses of all sizes. The new features in Microsoft Teams are making this solution a top choice for Australian corporations.

Microsoft Teams

As businesses across the country prioritized remote work for the safety and well-being of their workers, Microsoft Teams played a critical role in helping their employees stay connected through video meetings, calls, and chats. As demand grew due to the pandemic, Microsoft saw a 200% increase in the use of Teams with a staggering total of 2.7 billion meeting-minutes per day being conducted through Teams. This exponential increase meant Microsoft needed to innovate and add new features to boost the communication capability of its customer base to meet demand.

Increased Participants

Users began to demand the ability to raise the number of people who could be shown during a video meeting. Microsoft stepped up to the plate by increasing the number of participants that can be viewed on-screen during a meeting from four to nine, three across and three down. The new feature should be available now, and Microsoft has confirmed that the limit will be increased even further in the future.

This innovation optimizes for attendees who have enabled video and places the remaining audio-only participants below the meeting stage. To provide a high audio and video quality experience, the layout will automatically adapt based on the users’ bandwidth, then alter the number of videos shown to ensure a great meeting experience still. Teams will now obscure your telephone number from any participants outside your organization, keeping your contact details secure.

Raise Hands

The new “raise hands” feature in Teams allows meeting attendees to identify that they wish to speak, making it easier to participate in large meetings actively. Prior to this innovation, attendees were reluctant to interrupt the flow of a conversation. Now everyone will see a visual cue on the attendee as well as in the participant list that prioritizes who raised their hand first, giving them the room to participate in the conversation in the order they raised their hand.

Custom Backgrounds

The new background effects from Teams keep the focus on you, not what’s behind you, which can be distracting to other participants. Microsoft is building upon this heavily popular video background blur feature in Teams meetings with additional background effects. This new feature allows meetings attendees to customize their video background from a list of pre-selected images, and they have also indicated they will continue to iterate and enhance this feature to include the ability for users to upload their own custom images.

Multi-Window Chat

Another interesting new feature Microsoft has released is the Multi-Window Chat. This new feature will allow the user to open chats in windows rather than in tabs boosting their communication capabilities. Although it was expected to be fully enabled by the end of May, the Multi-Window option will be available for meetings and calls in June. Group chat has now been increased to 250 participants making it possible for a greater number of participants to communicate with each other.

Sydney Technology Solutions are experts in the complete range of Microsoft suite products and very experienced in providing Teams to a large number of businesses all across NSW.

If your business has yet to take advantage of the many features Microsoft Teams has to offer to give your communications a real boost, click here to get in touch with one of our representatives or call (02) 8212-4722 to book a free no-obligation consultation.