Highlights from Enterprise Connect 2022 – new Microsoft Teams announcements for hybrid work

Published Mar 23 2022 08:00 AM 27K Views

Five years ago, Microsoft Teams began its incredible journey. Today with over 270 million users, Teams is where hybrid work happens. Teams brings together everything you need to communicate, collaborate, and stay in the flow of your work. From connecting with those outside your organization, to giving you the flexibility to work where, when, and how you want, these improvements address the new expectations for today’s workplace.


A recent Morgan Stanley chief information officer (CIO) survey reports that over half of organizations have standardized on Teams.¹ Teams Phone alone counts nearly 80 million active users, placing over a billion calls monthly – including more than 90% of the Fortune 500 that used Teams Phone in the last quarter. Additionally, the number of active Teams Rooms devices more than doubled year-over-year.


But our work is far from over.


Since launch, we have added hundreds of Teams features that were directly influenced by your feedback. From Together Mode to 3-D emojis, we continue to integrate new ways for you to express yourself in Teams, celebrate wins together, and show appreciation for your co-workers. We have worked hard to help you connect and collaborate with colleagues, customers, and co-workers. You have shared your ideas, and we have listened. The continual improvement and reinvention you see in Teams is inspired by you.


At Enterprise Connect 2022, we’re showcasing the latest Microsoft Teams features – built for the ways you work:

 

 

Operator Connect Mobile: fixed-mobile convergence for flexible mobile communication and collaboration

As organizations experiment with flexible working models and reimagined physical spaces, a whole new set of workers are going “mobile”. This growing segment needs 24/7 mobility, not a 9-to-5 anchor. For many, the days of a fixed phone on a fixed desk in a fixed office are over, and Teams enables you to cut the cord.


This year, we’ll launch Operator Connect Mobile for Microsoft Teams Phone, enabling mobile-first calling experiences in partnership with some of the world’s largest telecom operators.


With Operator Connect Mobile, a single SIM-enabled number for Teams Phone serves as your desk phone number, your mobile number, and your Teams number. Seamlessly move calls across networks and devices with no call interruption. Transition calls from your cellular service while on-the-go to your office Wi-Fi to bring in rich video calling enabled by voice over IP. Make and receive calls on your phone’s native dialer and benefit from all the collaborative richness of Teams. Get call history, voicemail, and transcriptions in Teams and on your mobile device, while unified presence lets your colleagues see when you’re on a call – all automatically.


Setting up and managing Operator Connect Mobile is simple as well. It’s built upon the same framework and interface as the Operator Connect service we launched last year. Select from participating operators in the Teams Admin Center, purchase your license, and assign your operator-provided numbers. It’s that easy. Admins can also access call dashboards and advanced policy settings for additional insights and control.


Operator Connect Mobile leverages capabilities from the Azure for Operators product family, formerly Metaswitch Networks. Azure’s Mobile Control Point makes it easier for telecom operators to integrate with Operator Connect Mobile, enhancing their end users’ mobile experience with Teams.


Operator Connect Mobile for Teams Phone will be available through the following partners in a limited preview in the months ahead, with an expanded list of participating operators as the service becomes generally available later this year.

Mobile Operators.png

 

New Teams Phone features enable richer calling experiences

Teams Phone was built for you. Your input helps us bring innovative new features and capabilities to life.


End-to-end encryption – Some calling scenarios may require added privacy. Teams Phone now offers end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for all 1:1 VoIP calls on mobile as well as on the desktop client. E2EE means that no other party, including Microsoft, has access to the decrypted conversation, giving you confidence your communications remain private.


Common Area Phone enhancements – By early June, we are enhancing the Common Area Phone offering to serve a wider variety of scenarios for customers without increasing the price. Security, endpoint management, and cloud-based voicemail features will be available through the following service plans added to the Common Area Phone license:

  • Azure Active Directory Premium Plan 1
  • Microsoft Intune
  • Exchange Online Plan 2

To enroll devices into Intune service, check the requirements at Configure Intune to enroll Teams Android-based devices.

 

In addition, the following calling features will be available for Teams Phone devices enabled with a Common Area Phone license and the latest Teams app update (available by June 2022):

  • Call park and retrieve
  • Cloud-based voicemail through Exchange Online Plan 2
  • Call queues
  • Auto attendants
  • Group call pick-up
  • Forwarding rules

Within the Admin Center, a Common Area Phone license can be activated for Azure Active Directory Premium Plan 1, Microsoft Intune and Exchange Online Plan 2.

 

If you have auto-enrollment set up in the Microsoft Endpoint Manager admin center, and you do not want to auto-enroll your Teams device, you need to unassign the Intune license when this change rolls out or set-up a grouping structure that omits these devices from auto-enrollment


DECT device integration with SIP Gateway – We are integrating digital enhanced cordless telecommunications (DECT) devices with SIP Gateway, allowing frontline workers to use Teams calling functionality on DECT devices to communicate with colleagues while on the go. DECT device integration with SIP Gateway will be available by the end of June on the following compatible handset models from Spectralink, Ascom and Poly:

  • Spectralink (IP-DECT 200/400/6500/Virtual IP-DECT, handsets 72xx/75xx/76xx/77xx)
  • Ascom (IP-DECT Access Points IPBSx, Gateway IPBL, Virtual Appliance IPVM, handsets d43/d63/d81/d83/Myco3)
  • Poly (base stations Rove B2/B4, handsets Rove 30/40, repeater Rove R8)

We have been working closely with these partners to create a seamlessly integrated experience, and we will add compatible DECT handset models from OEM partners Yealink and Gigaset by September. Learn more about planning for and configuring SIP Gateway in your organization.


Reimagined “office” communications

Even before the pandemic, organizations began to shift the ways they think about physical office spaces and the flow of work. Using a data-driven approach to product development helps us reimagine workplace experiences, to address the evolving needs and expectations of today's workers.


Outlook RSVP – One of the challenges brought on by hybrid work is knowing who’s around—and in what form. Multiple schedules can make things messy for organizers. They need to know who is available, and whether they will attend online or in person. Outlook RSVP gives uses a richer set of options to respond to a meeting invite. Organizers and attendees can easily see who will participate online or in person in the response tracker in Outlook. Outlook RSVP will be in public preview for Outlook web access in April.


Enhancements for companion devices – New enhancements to the companion device experience make it easy to join a hybrid meeting from within a conference room. For example, when you bring your personal device into a Teams Room, your audio is automatically turned off to avoid feedback.


Improved meetings gallery settings – Intelligent meetings gallery settings help ensure more inclusive experiences without added distraction. Participants for in-person meetings will be prompted to turn on their video, so remote participants can see everyone clearly. Video feeds for in-person attendees will be hidden from the front of the room, as well as the gallery of other in-person participants freeing up space in the meeting gallery so additional remote participants can be seen more clearly. The names of in-person attendees can now be found under the conference room name—making it easy to identify all participants.


Front row for Teams Rooms – This new meeting layout for Teams Rooms is designed to enhance hybrid meetings and provide in-room participants with greater context of what is happening across various aspects of the meeting. With front row, the gallery is displayed horizontally across the bottom of the screen, at eye level. This placement replicates the left-to-right view if people were seated across from you in the room, and delivers a more natural, face-to-face experience.


Meeting content is surrounded by chat - often the “meeting within the meeting” - so when you’re in a room you can easily see and engage in the conversation in real-time. It provides quick visibility for which participants raise their hands, and in what order. This layout is supported across both single- and dual-display configurations.


Microsoft Surface Hub 2 Smart Camera – Surface Hub enables colleagues not just to meet and present, but also to collaborate and co-create in the hybrid world. On Surface Hub, teams can whiteboard ideas, contribute to projects, and connect dynamically with a video conference experience that engages people wherever they work – whether remote, in the office, or a mix of work environments.


The new AI-powered Microsoft Surface Hub 2 Smart Camera dynamically adjusts video of in-room interactions that creates an inclusive meeting environment for all participants. Automatic framing technology within the device dynamically adjusts the view of the room, reframing when someone leaves, more people come in, or a person interacts with content on the display. Surface Hub 2 Smart Camera is now available.


Microsoft Whiteboard updates – Collaboration gets a fresh, modern look with more than 50 new Whiteboard templates that help you quickly create structure for ideas and group problem-solving. Everyone in the Teams meeting can write simultaneously on the Whiteboard you’re sharing, whether from their own individual devices or on other Surface Hubs. And new emoji reactions within Whiteboard keep things fun.


New touch enabled display solutions for Teams Rooms from Neat and Yealink – Being seen is essential to an inclusive meeting environment. So is being heard. New touch enabled display solutions from Neat and Yealink are in the process of being certified for Microsoft Teams Rooms on Android and will be available next quarter. These devices combine audio, video, touch display, and compute in a single unit—allowing for easy deployment and enhanced collaboration experiences.


Call controls with Bluetooth headsets and speakerphones – As hybrid work moves between the office and home, USB dongles can easily be lost or broken. By next quarter, you will be able to use the buttons on Bluetooth headsets and speakerphones to answer, hold, or end calls as well as toggle mute state without a USB dongle. To take advantage of this, pair your Bluetooth headset or speakerphone with your Windows PC running the Teams desktop client. Teams-certified headsets and speakerphones provide the richest and most complete Teams experience. Stay tuned for updates on Bluetooth headsets and speakerphones.


The new Teams device store within Teams Admin Center – Explore and purchase Teams-certified devices from the Teams Admin Center, There, you can also enable integrated remote provisioning for Teams devices through an authenticated experience. Stay tuned for general availability details.


Making meetings matter

Microsoft Teams gives organizations new ways to work, empowering presenters to be their best, and enabling asynchronous collaboration. New functionality in Teams and PowerPoint delivers inclusive and engaging experiences designed to make your meetings matter.


PowerPoint Recording Studio – You no longer need to appear in person to deliver your message effectively. With PowerPoint Recording Studio, you can create your own presentation, record it, and send it to your coworkers. Then they can catch up and absorb the material when the time is right for them.


Pre-recording with CameoCameo is the PowerPoint experience that seamlessly integrates your Teams video feed into your presentation. Customize how and where you want to appear on your slides. Designer in PowerPoint makes Cameo infinitely more powerful, offering layout recommendations to produce more engaging and impactful presentations.


Soon you’ll be able to pre-record presentation slides using Cameo and Recording Studio. When it comes time to present your slides, it will appear as though you are in the meeting – even if you’re unable to attend. This allows for asynchronous collaboration and co-presentations with others who are unavailable, or in a different time zone. Recording Studio + Cameo, presented with PowerPoint Live will be generally available in the coming months.

Speaker Coach for Teams – Even the most experienced speakers can use guidance on presenting with greater impact. Speaker Coach uses AI to nudge you if you’re speaking too fast, notify you if you are interrupting someone, and remind you to check in with your audience. Speaker Coach is your personal coach, giving you private suggestions that you can turn on or off as you please, and helping you succeed in hybrid or remote environments. Speaker Coach is generally available now.

 

Language Interpretation for Teams – This new feature enables interpreters to translate speakers in near real-time into a multitude of languages, removing language barriers for audio, video, and content sharing and creating more streamlined meeting experiences. Soon, customers will hold multilingual meetings in Teams, supported by professional interpreters, without having the start-and-stop experience of delayed interpretation. Language Interpretation will be available in the coming months.


Streamline how you plan, organize, and deliver webinars in Teams

Delivering a successful webinar involves creating an interactive digital experience where audiences are inspired and engaged. Often, it requires help to ensure things run smoothly.


Co-organizer – Assign multiple organizers for each event and designate up to 10 different co-organizers. Co-organizers will have the same capabilities and permissions as the organizer, enabling them take on tasks such as admit attendees waiting in the lobby, manage event options, create polls, control audio settings, share content, and spotlight attendees’ feeds throughout the event. In addition, co-organizers will be able to manage breakout rooms once they’ve been set up by the main organizer.

 

To assign co-organizers before the webinar begins, select the meeting options and click on the dropdown menu under ‘choose co-organizers’ and search and add the relevant people from the list of participants. Co-organizer capabilities will start rolling out at the end of this month.


Quality and performance optimizations for Teams calls and meetings

A key element of our commitment to launching innovative Teams features is making sure these experiences are optimized for all users, regardless of network or device.


Power consumption optimizations – Since 2020, we’ve continuously improved video streaming quality – all while reducing power consumption by half.

 

High-fidelity music mode – Now you can enable high-quality audio for applications such as music lessons, concerts, or even virtual medical appointments.


Screen-sharing optimization – Teams can now optimize sharing capabilities automatically based upon the type of content , resulting in improved readability and smooth playback.


These updates are generally available or rolling out now.

 

Flexible and expressive communications and collaboration

Meaningful collaboration involves creating and sustaining productive relationships with others, including those who may not work within your organization. Throughout our industry, there’s great interest in removing data silos created from closed productivity tools. Teams is enabling this change.


Teams Connect – Collaborate seamlessly in the same Teams digital workspace with customers, partners, suppliers, or anyone outside your organization. Teams Connect lets users share channels in Teams— helping to strengthen relationships, collaborate in real-time, and make decisions faster.


When creating a new channel, you will be able to select “Shared” as the channel type. Then you can invite individuals or entire teams from as many organizations as you need. Admins retain control over the process, ensuring security and compliance for data access. Shared channels allow you to create a workspace with no boundaries.


Teams Connect shared channels will go into public preview later this month.

 

Delivering more flexible and connected experiences

While so much has changed about work, one thing stays the same. People remain the focus of everything we do. With Microsoft Teams supporting your efforts, bringing everyone and everything together, we can make hybrid work more efficient, more productive, and more rewarding.


To everyone who joined us at Enterprise Connect, in person or virtually, thank you for being a part of our team, sharing your ideas and feedback. Your partnership helps us deliver innovative Teams experiences that help make work, really work.


¹Weiss, K., Baer, J., and Huang, B. (2021, October 5). CIO Survey Takeaways- Further Solidifying the Leadership Position. (p3). Morgan Stanley Research.

5 Comments
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