In the current scenario, with Zoom in the lead, there have been a number of options that have popped up for us to make the best use of. Be it Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams or any other such application or website, there has been an unprecedented need and demand for such services due to extended hours of work from home and seemingly never ending office meetings and conferences. Alongside that, there has been a massive increase in usage of those platforms for keeping in constant and daily touch with our near and dear ones.
In accordance with these trends and an end to the current lockdown and pandemic situation nowhere in sight, all of these online video call and conference platforms are trying their best to outdo and outcompete each other, releasing new updates and tweaks every now and then focusing on providing a better and more convenient user experience.
With this in mind, Microsoft Teams, in a recent update, now allows up to 1,000 users and participants to engage in interactive online meets and conferences. The number in case of Microsoft Teams’ ‘view only mode’ is a whopping 20,000! That is a lot of participants, but it also makes the Microsoft platform a perfect one for various corporate level and other large scale online events. Apart from this, new features have also been introduced that allow adding the company’s branding to give meetings and conferences a more professional approach in terms of look and feel.
Apart from this, a new cloud based phone calling system for Microsoft Teams has also been launched that makes it easier for users to get on calls with customers, partners, vendors etc. no matter where they are, office or home. According to a statement by Nicole Herskowitz, Microsoft Teams General Manager, “Connecting 1:1 with colleagues, customers and partners is important, especially when meeting face-to-face can be challenging. Employees in your organization can easily call each other from Teams without a phone number.”
The ‘Teams Displays’ feature will give an idea of all that a phone or a mobile device can be capable of. It is a dedicated Teams device that offers an ambient touch screen, high quality audio and video calling and a Cortana powered hands free experience. The Lenovo ThinkSmart View and Yealink, having Cortana built in the device, are expected to deliver the first Microsoft Teams displays later this year, for the US market.
The company further stated, “We are announcing extended support for Skype for Business (3PIP) phones beyond 2023, so you can continue to use your existing Skype for Business phones as you move to Teams.” In addition to this, it will also be supporting core calling features on SIP phones from Cisco, Yealink, Polycom, and others with Teams. Support for the SIP phones are expected to become available in the first half of the next year, 2021.
There will even be a new range of phones that have physical buttons, high quality audio and core calling features made available at affordable prices. As per a company statement, these are designed for common areas and basic information worker scenarios.
As we can see, Microsoft has a lot planned to not only elevate their Microsoft Teams platform user experience but also for a variety of their Microsoft Teams devices.