Microsoft adds more hybrid work features to Teams and Teams Rooms
Microsoft has announced a series of new features and improvements to Teams to make hybrid work easier. The announcements are part of an event the company announced earlier this week. These features including the addition of Fluid components to Teams meetings, as well as new Teams Rooms features.
Microsoft first announced the Fluid Framework back at Build 2019, and its purpose is to make collaboration easier across different environments. Fluid components are bits and pieces from Microsoft 365 services, like a OneNote page or a list of tasks. The framework allows these components to be shared in places like Teams chat, and it syncs changes to every place where the component is.
Now, Fluid components aren’t just available in Teams chats. Microsoft has announced that they’re now available in Outlook, Whiteboard, and OneNote, so you can access and edit information from anywhere. They’re also available for Teams meetings, so when you set up a meeting, a corresponding notes page is created in OneNote. That way, you can edit a table in Teams with a group of co-workers, and the changes people make immediately reflect on the OneNote page where that table is.
Another Teams feature Microsoft announced today is the ability to reply to a specific chat message. Most other messaging services support this, and the goal is to help asynchronous collaboration. If you see a message long after it’s been sent, there will be other messages in between, so replying to a specific message helps preserve the context of the conversation. There’s also the ability to pin a message, so you can make important information visible to everyone at all times.
PowerPoint Live is also getting some new capabilities, starting with slide translation. When someone is presenting in a meeting, other attendees can have the presentation translated to their preferred language. Meanwhile, presenters are getting a new inking experience that lets them highlight content during a PowerPoint presentation. Alternatively, there’s a laser pointer to help bring attention to specific content. Microsoft also announced that PowerPoint Live is now available on mobile devices, along with Dynamic View. Custom backgrounds are also available on iOS and coming to Android soon.
New features for Teams Rooms
Microsoft also announced new features for Teams Rooms, specifically focused on hybrid work. A while back, Microsoft showed off its vision for the future of the meeting room, and these features help deliver on that. The first new feature is front row, a new layout places remote colleagues at the bottom of a Teams Rooms display. This brings remote participants face-to-face with those in the room physically. Other meeting information is placed above the meeting participants to provide additional context.
There are also new meeting layouts for multi-screen meeting rooms. When no one is presenting, Teams Rooms will be able to use the space on both screens to show every participant in the meeting.
Microsoft is also improving the experience for Teams Rooms on the Surface Hub, its collaboration display. This will bring new Together Mode scenes, PowerPoint Live integration, and a “modernized meeting stage”. Later this year, it will also add Whiteboard integration so multiple people can collaborate in the same room.
Finally, Microsoft announced new Teams intelligent speakers are now available from EPOS and Yealink. Meanwhile, cameras from Jabra, Logitech, Poly, and Neat should can now offer new video views optimized for hybrid meetings.