Microsoft Teams: Chat, Telephone, and Meetings

Microsoft Teams is receiving a lot of love these days! Consistently adding and upgrading features, these new features in MS Teams are aimed at ensuring opportunities for collaboration, whether through chats, meetings, or video, are seen and noted by the user, especially when they are in focus mode with headsets on.

MS Teams basis for collaboration is through the chat where users can talk with other team members to keep abreast of the latest project news, contribute new ideas, provide solutions, and to communicate generally with their teams. However, some team members may be members on more than one team, and their feed can fill up quickly with numerous chats and threads, making it not only difficult but time intensive to determine what is important, what requires action, and what is a priority in the answering queue.

Addressing this, new filters have been added in Chat and Teams to help filter more than just the user’s activity. The new filters in Chat allow Teams users to filter based on a person’s name for every group, meeting, or 1:1 chat that they have with them. By selecting More Options, they can apply additional filters, such as unread messages, to further refine what they are filtering. Keywords can also be used to filter group chats that have names by finding a specific team or by finding a channel by name.

Staying connected to all your team members provides many advantages, but one key component of constantly being connected is the consistent loss of concentration and focus, which in turn drops productivity substantially. There is a balance between communication and collaboration and with the ability to mute a conversation in a channel, the user can now focus on the tasks at hand without constant interruption. Alternately, a muted conversation can still be tracked by turning on notifications for that conversation. Any activity in that conversation will provide a notification to the user but not for an entire channel’s activity. Accessing the notification settings for a conversation is simple. Go to the original post and then select More Options. Then, choose the toggle Turn Off Notifications/Turn On Notifications to turn notifications off or on.

Many Teams users wear headsets to not only keep their hands free but to take phone calls. With a headset on, it is easy to miss incoming calls but with the new Secondary Ringer feature, an incoming call will ring the computer. Even with a headset on, Teams users will not miss an incoming call.

On the topic of calls, the experience of Cloud Voicemail has received several new improvements, including the capability for users to directly transfer a call to Cloud Voicemail. Additionally, users are now able to configure features in the Teams setting options, including choosing the greeting language, configuring call answer rules, customizing the TTS for the standard greeting and the “out of office” greeting, and choosing when to play the out of office greeting.

One of the most useful features on a telephone is Caller ID but this function has only been available through a telephone provider. For Teams users, they will be able to see the PSTN Caller’s name based on the AAD data and/or display the users’ names that were provided to the telephone company. This is possible with the new Reverse Number Look Up enhancement. Reverse Number Look Up is currently available on the desktop and, soon, it will be available on Teams mobile.

Google Chrome now supports web Teams users with placing calls from a web browser. Access this by launching Chrome and then, while in Chrome, choose Calls on the left side of Teams or type in /call in the command bar at the very top of Teams.

The phone system for Microsoft 365 GCC (Government Community Cloud) also received new capabilities and updates. These include Teams calling improvements for VOIP users, call handling enhancements, phone number blocking, Group Call Pickup (GCP), Call Park (CP), multiparty calling without conference license, and shared line appearance (SLA).

From chats to calls to meetings, the common theme is communication and collaboration. With the new “Meet Now” feature, available on desktop, it allows the Teams user to skip the meeting invite and head straight into the new meeting. This can be accomplished by going to Calendar on the left side of Teams, select Meet Now in the top right corner, and then add the people to the meeting. No calendar. No scheduling. It’s straight forward. It’s simple.

In Teams meetings, highlighted participants appear in the standard 2 x 2 layout with the most active speakers taking priority. With Pin, the Teams user can now choose who to show in their own personal view, and because this is the Teams user’s personal view, it does not impact other participants in the meeting. To create the custom layout, right-click on a meeting participant and select Pin (or Unpin).

With Missed Meeting-Add notifications, a notification will appear in the Teams user’s activity feed to notify the user that someone tried to add him/her to a meeting. If the meeting is still active, the Teams user can join the meeting directly from there.

With these new features and enhancements, communicating within Teams gains versatility, flexibility, and customizability while addressing issues of interruption, productivity, and personal preferences.

  • Sunday, October 27, 2019 By : Mike Maadarani   

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