AI helps Microsoft Teams Phone deliver clear, distraction-free calling
Published Jul 12 2023 08:00 AM 10.1K Views

Hi everyone! Pete Daderko here, Director of Product Marketing for Microsoft Teams Phone, and I’m coming to you live from One Esterra on the Microsoft campus, still looking for practical ways to make life a little easier. As a product marketer, I want to share useful Teams Phone features to help others navigate their day. So, I’m still spreading the word, one Teams Phone feature (and interview) at a time.

Join me as we continue our “I didn’t know Teams Phone did that” adventure.


Let’s talk AI in Teams

What’s the first thing you think of when you hear Artificial Intelligence? Maybe it’s ChatGPT. Maybe it’s the Terminator franchise. Maybe you simply see it as a tool to enable experiences that make life easier. Whatever comes to mind, it has definitely been a hot topic due to its exciting potential. But did you know AI is already powering a lot of Teams Phone experiences?

Don’t worry, we have no plans to make Teams Phone sentient. AI is working in the background to help deliver the best possible calling experiences in Teams.

For example, did you know Teams Phone can suppress background noise? I have kids, and when I’m working from home it’s inevitable, they end up in the room while I’m on a call. Teams Phone uses AI to filter background noise so that my kids don’t inadvertently interrupt a conversation. Now I just need to figure out how to keep them from jumping into the camera shot.

For you, it might be a barking dog or your neighbor’s obnoxious leaf blower that always seems to be running during your most important calls. Whatever the annoyance, AI-based noise suppression is working to filter out unwanted sounds.

Traditional noise suppression algorithms have only been able to eliminate ambient noise sources, like a consistent fan in the background. The Teams AI learns the difference between speech and sporadic noises and suppresses problematic sounds like a coffee grinder, garbage truck or flushing toilet. You can enable this feature by adjusting your device settings prior to a call or meeting by selecting "High" in the "Noise suppression" drop-down.

I’m sure you’ve been in calls where multiple people are talking at once. In the age of remote work, interruptions have created an issue where voices don’t get heard, because communications solutions suppress the sound coming out of speakers to prevent an echo chamber. Did you know the Teams AI ensures both people can talk at the same time without confusing conversation gaps? I’ll admit I’ve been guilty of interrupting a time or two. I do my best to keep it to a minimum, but it’s nice to know AI is using machine learning to allow all voices to come through, while mitigating echo effect.

Similarly, you know when you’re in a meeting and there’s an echo. It can stop progress in its tracks as people try to navigate the technical difficulties. Well, AI can preemptively eliminate the echo. If a microphone is too close to a speaker or the room is too big, AI understands it needs to block the echo while preserving the audio clarity of whomever is speaking.

AI-based innovations in Teams will continue to help ensure call quality, regardless of network issues, room configurations, or background interruptions. So perhaps the next time you hear someone mention the “rise of the machines” during a call, you’ll be reminded of the ways AI is improving your call and meeting experience.

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‎Jul 12 2023 06:09 AM
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