This Wednesday, Microsoft announced some exciting new features they’ll be adding to Microsoft Teams. As the path to a COVID-19 vaccine stretches into a long road, it’s becoming clearer that work-from-home will likely be necessary well into 2021. Moreover, with many companies saying they will allow remote work post-pandemic, the demand for better technologies is at an all-time high. Microsoft has been working overtime, promising some major updates within the next few months. Here’s where they are going.
“Together Mode” is the latest in how attendees will view their meeting. This feature uses AI technology to segment your face and shoulders from your background, placing you in a virtual space shared with your co-workers. This way, you can see your co-workers sitting in an auditorium space, in a cafe setting, or even around a boardroom table.
The auditorium setting looks a bit childish, but can actually be very helpful. With it, attendees won’t be distracted by anything behind their co-workers. Also, being able to clearly see each person can make it much easier to notice who is speaking and who seems distracted. After all, we receive much of our information through body language when we communicate in-person. Unfortunately, much of that transference is lost over traditional video calls. But this setting seeks correct that issue, creating a virtual sense of togetherness in an isolating time.
Together Mode will be accessible to all users at some point in August. Upon its launch, Auditorium View will be the only available option. But Microsoft says it’s working on designing more virtual spaces for the near future.
Larger Meeting Size
In an impressive move, Microsoft has announced that Teams meetings will soon be able to include up to 1,000 participants. Furthermore, such meetings will allow up to 20,000 audience members to view live without participating. This will have a huge effect not only on large corporate operations, but also in entertainment. People will once again be able to attend larger (virtual) performances.
Microsoft is also launching a dynamic view which will allow people to share content alongside other participants. For example, two people doing a presentation could now have one screen sharing while both their videos appear next to the slideshow or document. Presently, it can be difficult to follow when you can’t see both presenters as well as the presentation itself. This feature intends to address that problem.
Live Meeting Transcripts
In a few months, Teams meetings will also offer a live transcript of the call. This feature will also have the capacity to translate that transcript so that attendees who don’t speak the same language can follow along with subtitles. This feature will be ideal for international business and cross-cultural collaborations.