premium version, hybrid meetings, video clips, Excel Live…

During its annual Microsoft Ignite conference, the firm announced many new features to facilitate remote work and benefit from a more personalized experience on Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams Premium, a new module for a more personalized and secure experience

The firm presents Microsoft Teams Premium, an add-on which aims to make each meeting more personalized and secure and which allows you to benefit from intelligent tools.

The main features available with Microsoft Teams Premium will be:

  • Meeting guides: users will have the ability to customize and manage settings for different meeting types in advance. Thus, they will only have to select the type of meeting they wish to organize (customer call, brainstorming, technical assistance, etc.), to see the previously predefined options automatically activated.
  • Personalization of meetings: organizations will have the ability to personalize their Microsoft Teams space with their logo and custom “Together Mode” backgrounds or scenes that reflect branding during virtual meetings.
  • Smart report: a summary that will give users the highlights and important information of meetings held on Microsoft Teams.
  • AI Generated Tasks: tasks are automatically assigned from meetings held on the platform.
  • Automatic meeting chaptering: meeting recordings include chapters in order to facilitate navigation in the content and help understanding of the subject(s) discussed.
  • Smart search: users will be able to easily search the transcripts to refer to a specific point in a meeting.
  • Real-time translations: meetings conducted on Microsoft Teams will benefit from live AI-powered translations in 40 languages.
  • Advanced webinar management: in addition to the basic webinar features available in Office 365 and Microsoft 365, the Teams Premium plan will include new webinar options such as a registration waitlist and manual approvals, automated reminder emails or even the ability to manage what participants see.
  • Advanced management of virtual appointments: advanced options for virtual meetings in Teams Premium will help users manage the end-to-end meeting experience, from pre-meeting SMS reminders to post-meeting follow-up. Organizations will also benefit from scheduled and on-demand appointments, a streamlined view of all virtual appointments to track client opt-in and wait times, and more.
  • High security: new options such as watermarking to deter and prevent leaks or even limit who can record a meeting will be available to protect confidential meetings such as board meetings, financial discussions or product launches.

Teams Premium features will begin rolling out in December 2022 in preview, with Teams Premium generally available in February 2023. Availability of new AI capabilities, such as smart options, will begin rolling out in during the first semester of 2023.

Microsoft Places, the new application to facilitate hybrid work

On the occasion of the Microsoft Ignite 2022 conference, the firm also introduced Microsoft Places, a new application which aims to make it easier to organize hybrid work. This will connect virtual and physical spaces to increase connections, engagement and productivity, while having an overview of employees’ workplaces.

The Microsoft Places app, coming soon to preview, will provide access to:

  • A dashboard listing the days that team or collaboration network members will be in the office,
  • An indicator of the physical location of people (in the office, remotely or on mobile),
  • The ability to see workspaces that other users have booked, so someone can book one nearby,
  • Information and advice on commuting and driving time, as well as the possibility of automatically planning the journey time,
  • An aid to orientation and navigation in the location of the office,
  • A modernized conference room booking option,
  • Insights and guidance on hybrid working sentiment, so managers can implement best practices
  • Information and advice on the use of space, so that leaders can sustain their organization.
Microsoft presents Microsoft Places which facilitates the organization of hybrid work. © Microsoft

New features for exchanges and collaboration on Microsoft Teams

Microsoft also announced new features, coming or already available, regarding chat and collaboration within Microsoft Teams. Among these new features are:

  • Video clips: the ability to record and send short videos from a desktop computer or smartphone to communicate. The recipient of the video clip can play the video in a chat on Microsoft Teams and respond with a text message or a video clip. The video clips are already available.
  • Extended reactions: users will be able to easily communicate their status with reactions such as “reviewed” or “pending”. This function will be available from November 2022.
  • Suggested answers: Suggested replies, currently available for individual chats, will also appear in group chats. They use machine learning to generate the most relevant responses within a group conversation. The feature will be available in October 2022.
  • Schedule sending: users have the ability to schedule a text message to be sent, specifying the date and time, in a chat on Microsoft Teams. The function is already available.
  • Delete a chat: users will be able to easily opt out of individual or group conversations they no longer wish to participate in, without affecting other participants. The feature will be available in November 2022.
  • Mention @everyone for group discussions: this makes it possible to mention and notify all members of a discussion without having to tag each participant, for an important message being intended for all. This option should be available before the end of 2022.
  • Conversation Suggestions: users will have access to smart recommendations on Microsoft Teams, based on past collaborations. This function should be available before the end of 2022.
Microsoft Teams allows you to schedule the sending of a message in a conversation. © Microsoft

New features for meetings that promote interactivity

Microsoft presents 3 new features that aim to enhance interactivity during meetings:

  • Cameo: a feature that seamlessly integrates the Teams camera feed into a PowerPoint Live presentation, allowing users to customize how they want slides to appear and access recommendations for their layout. This function is already available.
  • ExcelLive: an option that allows teams to modify an Excel document collaboratively and in real time, in a meeting window on Microsoft Teams, on all media (computer, smartphone, tablet). Each co-editor can sort or filter an Excel document as they wish without disturbing the view of a collaborator. This function will be available by the end of 2022.
  • Together Mode: Microsoft is offering new improvements to its Together Mode, for more dynamic and multi-person meetings, such as the possibility for organizers and presenters to assign seats to participants in a meeting on Microsoft Teams or to ensure that all participants have the same view.
Microsoft Teams allows meeting organizers to assign seats to attendees. © Microsoft

Mesh for Teams avatars in private preview

The firm announces that the Mesh for Teams avatars, presented at Microsoft Ignite 2021, are now available for Microsoft Teams meetings in private preview. These allow users to participate in a meeting with a personalized and animated avatar of themselves without having to turn on their camera.

Once the custom avatar has been created, it can be used in a Teams meeting by selecting the option from the “Effects and avatars” menu before joining the meeting. Microsoft says Mesh avatars are available in the standard Teams meeting experience for private customers in preview, for now.

Microsoft wants to offer virtual avatars for meetings on Teams. © Microsoft

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