Microsoft Teams is the perfect tool to enable an organisation's employees to collaborate and communicate remotely. It's a powerful digital workplace solution that is regularly updated and optimised by Microsoft to be as effective as possible. Last month's updates focused on improving productivity and the user experience, along with new features to enhance calls and meetings. Here's a round-up of what's new.
Chatting and collaborating
'Focus time' is something you can schedule in MyAnalytics to power Teams to help you stay focused. MyAnalytics enables users to explore their work patterns to learn ways they could be more efficient. The new feature helps by posting your status as 'focusing', silencing notifications whilst focus time is active (determined by your custom priority access configuration) so that you can stay on-task with minimal distractions.
Calls and meetings
With Microsoft Teams Rooms - Intelligent Capture/Content Cameras, users can now take part in whiteboarding from a distance. The content camera detects a whiteboard inside a room and crops/frames it, so remote viewers can easily see what's on it. Skype for Business Server customers can now access the innovation from Teams with the Meetings First configuration. All versions of Skype for Business Server are supported.
Listening to user feedback, Microsoft has added the ability to share audio content within a Teams meeting, enabling all participants to hear the media being presented. This is a simple yet significant addition that Microsoft Office 365 users will definitely appreciate. Another welcome feature is the ability to enact audio conferences through direct routing for GCC High and GCC DoD, essentially enabling people to participate in meetings from a standard telephone number. It will require some configuration from IT departments to incorporate this feature, but it will make a big difference to many.
Personal apps - an integral part of customising Microsoft Teams to a specific organisation's requirements - are being brought to the Teams mobile app. They have been rolled out for developer preview to enable developers to observe the experience of their app within Teams mobile, and a wider roll-out will be here before the end of 2019.
Teams for education
A new enhanced Assignments tab shows a simple breakdown of what's coming up - essentially, it's your personal to-do list. For teachers, this means the work that still needs marking, and for students it means upcoming due dates. Educators can now implement resources from Staff/PLC teams to class assignments easily; no more moving content from one team to the next. You can also dictate when turn-ins will be closed as you assign a due date, which grants some flexibility regarding if/when work handed in late is acceptable.
That's it for the August updates for Teams in Microsoft 365. Stay tuned for future update run-downs as Microsoft continue the ongoing mission of optimising their software. It really is a powerful, scalable solution for businesses of all sizes.
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