Microsoft Ignite 2022: Microsoft Teams Announcements Part 2
As we continue with the Microsoft Teams Announcements from Ignite 2022, we can see from Microsoft Teams Announcements Part 1 the many new features affecting, which I term loosely, physical spaces. The reason why I term it this way is that we saw how new features and enhancements affected Meetings, Rooms and Devices, Microsoft Places, and the new offering of Microsoft Teams Premium. This article focuses on the new features and enhancements surrounding audio connections.
The very heart of Microsoft Teams is Chat and Collaboration, which are seeing many new features and enhancements, including:
- New Channel Experience: with a new layout available for all channel types, including shared channels, users will see the most recent posts at the top, easily catch up on conversations, pop-out posts to return to them later, and contribute to the discussions. There are new post types, important posts can be pinned for quick reference, and in the info pane, channel information such as shared files, channel members, and more, can be found. Channel headers can be customized with corporate branding or users can upload an image to reflect the personality of the team.
- Expanded Reactions: expanded reactions will allow Teams members to express themselves with over 800 emojis. Expanded Reactions are also available in Outlook.
- Suggested Replies in Group Chat: leveraging machine learning, replies are generated and suggested as a response in group chats. Reply by clicking on the suggestion to save time.
- Recommended People When Creating a New Message: leveraging AI, Teams chat will recommend colleagues based on previous collaborations to assist in initiating new conversations.
- Add People to a Group Chat with @mention: without having to navigate to the add-dialogue, new participants can be added to the chat with @mention while controlling how much of the history of the chat can be viewed by the new participant.
- Mention @everyone: with @everyone, a message can be sent to everyone in the group at the same time along with a notification.
- Delete Chat: without impacting participants in the same chat conversation, you can easily organize or remove chat conversations.
- Schedule Send: by right-clicking on the “send” button, the message can be scheduled for delivery similar to Outlook’s delivery delay. Viva Insights will suggest a schedule send suggestion should you be sending the message outside of the recipient’s work hours.
- Video Clip: participants can express themselves by recording and then sharing the clip by sending it to chat participants. Recipients can view a video clip and reply with one of their own.
- Work Hours and Location: by setting up a daily work location, colleagues will be able to see where you are working from, whether remote or onsite and can easily schedule in-person meetings. Any revisions in Teams or Outlook will automatically update in both apps.
- Loop Components in More Places: currently available in Teams Chat, loop components (pieces of content that stay synced across shared places) will be an integral part of Word for web, Outlook for Windows, and Whiteboard.
Under the Insert menu in Word for web documents, add a new loop component such as a checklist, poll, or task list, thereby looping in the right people into the conversation within the context of the draft document, blog post, or white paper.
A loop component can be copied and pasted into Whiteboard (for web, Teams, and desktop), bringing the conversation to where the project team is meeting and brainstorming. Teams chat conversations can be carried over to Outlook for the web, ensuring Teams chat members are in sync no matter which app they prefer.
- Sensitivity Labels and DLP in M365 Docs Coming to Loop Components in Teams Chat: set at the administrative level, sensitivity labels can flag content as Public or Confidential, and a watermark can be included to clearly communicate the sensitivity of the data. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) continually monitors and evaluates Loop components for flagged information and will automatically notify the user if they are working with sensitive data or content.
New features, enhancements, and additions surrounding the Phone and Contact Centre provide Microsoft Teams another method of communication for collaboration and these include:
- Teams Mobile Phone: previously known as “Operator Connect Mobile”, administrators through the Teams Admin Centre can assign one SIM-enabled number to a Teams Phone which can serve as the desk phone, Teams number, and mobile number. The benefits of a Teams Mobile Phone include the integration of Teams with the user’s native dialer, unified business communications, shared technological support and guaranteed call quality, and streamlined telecom policy management for mobile.
- CRM Browser Pop-Out: with CRM integration, when a call queue agent answers a call, that customer record will automatically open. Specific users can be assigned this capability by Administrators whereby the metadata from an incoming call triggers a web page URL in the browser-based experience of the CRM provider.
- Management of Busy-On-Busy Settings: available in 2023, users will be able to manage their settings and set their preferences on how calls are routed when they are on a current call.
- Detailed Call History: a rich and comprehensive call history including access to call recording and transcriptions, how calls arrived, if calls were transferred, if calls were forwarded, and how calls were controlled once received.
- Federated Group Calling: video, screen sharing, and group Team calls can be made with federated colleagues without any PSTN usage charges.
- Teams Home Devices UI Updates and Performance Improvements: with the updated IP phone client, desk phone users will now have call hold, call transfer, and mute call.
- Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) Devices Integration with SIP Gateway: the integrated DECT devices with SIP gateway will allow frontline workers to communicate with their colleagues by using the Teams calling functionality on their DECT device.
- SIP Gateway Analog Telephones Support: on select analog phone models, the analog telephone adaptor (ATA) will support analog endpoint phones requiring PBX, such as elevator phones.
- SIP Gateway Overhead Paging Devices Support: Teams calling functionality will be available on ringers, speakers, and pagers in early 2023.
- Branch Office Survivability v2: in the event of an internet outage, Survivable Branch Appliance capabilities will allow users to use chat or call history plus use the dial pad in offline mode to dial outbound PSTN calls and, if the user is connected to the same network and SBA, and if the recipient has an associated phone number, VoIP calls will be routed to PSTN.
Collaboration in Microsoft Teams is being further enhanced with Collaborative Apps, including:
- Teams Live Share Canvas: this new package allows Teams members to use shared pens, laser pointers, highlighters, and cursors in Teams Live Share experiences with minimal code changes.
- Adaptive Card-Based Loop Components: still in the development stage, Adaptive Card-Based Loop Components will assist users to take action in the flow of their work.
- 1P & 3P Apps: independent software vendors (ISV) are continually developing collaborative apps to enhance collaboration within Microsoft Teams. These vendors include 3M where handwritten or drawn Post-It® Notes are surfaced and digitized, SAP, iHeartRadio will be the first music app in Teams where members can listen to music whilst working and share their favourite tunes, Brainstorm, Workplace from Meta which allows streaming from Teams meetings into Workplace groups, Workday, Zendesk, Survey Monkey, Thrive Global, ServiceNow, Priority Matrix, and Zoho.
And finally, Microsoft Teams for Frontline Workers is seeing many new features and rollouts including:
- Viva Connections Pre-Configuration in F-SKUs: the pre-configured Viva Connections Dashboard will be pinned at the top for F-SKU users. By being pinned at the top, the simplified home site will provide the most relevant Dashboard cards, such as Shifts, Approvals, Tasks, and Top News where they are easily accessible for frontline workers.
- Team Shifts Connector for UKG Dimensions: the co-engineered Shifts connector provides real-time, bi-directional, and a single seamless interface for simplified scheduling and time management. Frontline workers will have the capability to view and accept open shifts, clock in and out, request time off, and much more.
- Walkie-Talkie Push-to-Talk on Honeywell Devices: with Walkie-Talkie Push-to-Talk (PTT) devices, the need to carry bulky and separate radios is a thing of the past. Partnered with Honeywell, these purpose-built and durable devices serve the distribution, transportation and logistics, healthcare, and retail environments and operate on cellular and Wi-Fi networks to deliver 24/7 coverage.
- Audience Targeting in Outlook: coming soon to Outlook, the frontline workforce can be segmented by location, job code, and department. With this capability, operational and corporate communications will reach their intended audiences.
- Approval APIs: leveraging flows, organizations can set up the Approvals app within the workflow of their users who will no longer need to go to the app to find, create, and respond to approval requests.
With the many new corporate and industry collaborations, features, enhancements, and premium offerings, Microsoft Teams strives purposefully forward with the goals of inclusivity, flexibility, and collaborative teamwork. Acknowledging the hybrid work environment and external customer bases, data and content are kept secure with sensitivity labels, watermarking, and automatic notifications when content is flagged as sensitive. Managing time, organizing daily tasks, and knowing when one is on shift is made easier for frontline workers with the updated Viva Connections Dashboard. Overall, Microsoft Teams is evolving to not only support Teams members with collaboration, but it is also providing the tools to be organized, secure, and efficient with daily, weekly, and monthly tasks.