Microsoft Ignite 2021 included several announcements on various Microsoft products and services including the all-new Microsoft Mesh, Azure platform, the future of cloud computing, and much more. Microsoft also used the stage to announce a whole new range of announcements and features to its thriving Microsoft Teams, which is now arguably the world’s most widely used collaboration and remote work platform. Here are all the announcements made on the Microsoft Teams and new features at the Ignite 2021.
Microsoft Teams Connect
Teams Connect is meant to help organizations and individuals to collaborate more seamlessly with their partners, customers, vendors, or other business parties through shared channels. The platform leverages Teams’ capabilities to maintain control over how data is shared and used across the platform. It allows users to add other members from different organizations to the channel, paving the way to create a single channel for inter-organizational communications without having to switch tenants.
According to Microsoft’s roadmap of features launches, Microsoft Teams Connect is expected to be publicly available starting June 2021 along with the admin controls.
Microsoft Teams Virtual Events
Although the Teams Virtual Events were first unveiled at last year’s Ignite, most of the features and capabilities started rolling out now and will continue during the first half of the year. It packs in several features, such as the all-new Presenter mode. It includes functionalities to use surveys, disabling attendees’ video, use of a whiteboard, live feedback, and the ability to add apps on the go to improve user interactions. New options to Presenter mode are also in the roadmap to be launched and include standout, reporter, and side-by-side modes.
Teams is also rolling out a new feature called “view-only attendees,” which allows the platform to support meetings for up to 10,000 attendees at once. Presenters in the meetings can also use PowerPoint Live on Teams, which curbs the need to share the screen and offers a more complete and inclusive experience for both parties.
Microsoft is also adding an option for meeting moderators to disable the camera of the attendees or participants. This feature is currently road mapped for April.
Whiteboard is a collaborative digital canvas in Microsoft 365 meant to improve engagement in meetings. Microsoft announced that the Whiteboard would be available in Teams even with external participants in the meeting. Moreover, additional content types such as forms and diagrams will soon be supported in the platform, along with content blocking, attribute tagging, and more.
Microsoft last month announced Viva, its first-ever employee experience platform. Microsoft added more information and important announcements about the different modules in the Viva at Ignite 2021. All the primary modules in Viva, including Learning, Connections, Insights, and Topics, will be entering public preview in batches starting this month. More information about the announcements regarding Viva at Ignite 2021, can be found here.
Dynamic View is meant to optimize the presentations by intelligently auto-arranging meeting elements, such as participant thumbnails, whiteboards being presented, and more. Microsoft announced that the Dynamic View would be made generally available this month. The Dynamic View allows users to place a gallery on top so that there can be a better eye-contact made with the audience in the presentation. Moreover, it adjusts itself when the meeting window is resized.
Microsoft Teams is also scheduled to get an AI-powered smart polling option that is also supported for mobile and guest clients. It will intelligently prompt polls or questions to the participants based on previous polls or the meeting purpose. It also provides a summary data report of the polls at the end, providing valuable insights.
Apart from these Microsoft Teams new features and updates, several other additions are scheduled to launch this year for the Teams platform in general. These include end-to-end encryption for 1:1 Teams calls, Teams multi-geo support, custom Teams templates, customer key support, out of office, Graph API for Teams export, information governance, and retention policies. All are being road mapped to be embedded into Teams this year.