Microsoft announced this morning a couple of new features coming to Microsoft Teams, the communications hub for Office 365. Teams, celebrating its third anniversary this week, is the fastest growing app in the Microsoft 365 productivity ecosystem, and the communication hub is seeing increased usage during this COVID-19 outbreak that has been pushing more employees to work from home.
“We have seen an unprecedented spike in Teams usage, and now have more than 44 million daily users, a figure that has grown by 12 million in just the last seven days. And those users have generated over 900 million meeting and calling minutes on Teams each day this week,” said Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365. This number will likely continue to grow as Microsoft recently made all premium Teams feature free for everyone for the next six months.
“The new capabilities we are announcing today reflect our commitment to two things: building the very best online meeting experience for our customers; and bringing technological solutions to traditionally underserved professionals, including firstline and healthcare workers,” wrote Spataro.
Here are all the new features coming soon to Microsoft Teams that have been announced today:
- Real-time noise suppression during calls, which should help you better understand what your coworkers are saying.
- When participating in large meetings, a new raise hand feature will let others know you have something to say.
- The ability to pop out chats into a separate window is also coming soon to the desktop app.
- Microsoft Teams is getting offline and low-bandwidth support, making the app still useful without an Internet connection.
- First-line workers using RealWear head-mounted devices will be able to get information and communicate hands-free thanks to a new Teams integration.
Microsoft also announced today new devices certified with Teams, such as the Yealink VC210 collaboration bar for meetings, as well as the Bose Noise Cancelling headphone 700 UC available later this Spring. Lastly, the company is also launching today a Teams-based phone system for small US SMBs called Microsoft 365 Business Voice, in addition to a new Microsoft 365 Enterprise line up with more licensing options for Firstline Workers.