Microsoft is introducing some very innovative features to Microsoft Teams, today. The company has been working on a new ‘Together Mode’ for Teams ever since its workforce started working from home became of COVID-19 pandemic.
The use of video conferencing applications has become the norm for most people, whether they are students or professionals. The majority of the population has moved to remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic. Thus, the software giant hopes that the new features in Teams will make video conferences more comfortable and less monotonous.
New features in Microsoft Teams
We have listed down everything new in the video conferencing app.
This feature allows users to change backgrounds or add background blur to create an illusion that all participants are in a shared space for the host. Teams already uses Microsoft’s AI segmentation technology to recognize and carve out a participant’s image from the background. Now, with Together Mode, it is taking participant’s images and inserting them into a shared space like an auditorium. So instead of lots of little squares, all of the conference participants now sit in an auditorium
Currently, Together Mode only features the auditorium view which can handle up to 49 users. But Microsoft will add more options in the future.
The tech giant researched methods to decrease meetings’ fatigue, and implemented those scientific findings in this new feature which combines all elements that are important for human interaction like, eye contact, behavioral and social cues to maximize productivity.
Michael Bohan, Director of Microsoft’s Human Factors Engineering group, talked about how removing the grid view from video conferences will help in improving concentration:
“When you have a grid view, everybody’s boxed off and so your brain has to treat those as individual parts — it has to parse all information. When you remove those edges, then your brain can start to see a more unified view of things.”
The other new mode is Dynamic view. This feature provides more control over how users see shared content and the other participants in a conference. Including the capacity to see content and specific individuals side-by-side.
Reflect messaging extension
Lastly, the Reflect messaging extension allows team managers to check-in on the well-being of his/her team members. Users can do that anonymously or publicly and can keep chat bubbles so they don’t have to keep a different chat view open.
Teams can now support meetings with up to 1,000 participants. For presentations, the app will support up to 20,000 participants. Video filters are also added in this update. For example, users are allowed to adjust their lighting.
Later this year, Microsoft is also adding live transcripts to Teams so participants read what is being said in language foreign to them in meetings.
Together More will be available to users by August 2020, globally. The rest of new Microsoft Team features will arrive in the app later this year.