Microsoft Ignite is an annual conference for IT professionals hosted by Microsoft for those who don’t know. At Ignite, Microsoft shares new technology developments and runs sessions to learn and meet with other like-minded people.
At Ignite this year (2021), there were some fantastic announcements about Microsoft Teams and the future of meetings and collaboration. I have picked out a few of my favourites below. All images and screengrabs are from the Microsoft tech community blog.
Mesh for Microsoft Teams
With mesh for Microsoft Teams, you can virtually meet in a virtual world using 3D avatars and immersive spaces, bridging the physical and digital worlds. Instead of using your camera, you can create a personalised avatar, make conversations interactive, and express yourself using live reactions. Now, companies can create immersive spaces that mimic physical areas like conference rooms, design centers, and networking lounges. These experiences will be available in preview as part of Teams on PC, mobile, and through mixed-reality headsets in the first half of 2022.
New Webinar and Live Event Features
A virtual green room is going to be added to Webinars and Live Events allowing the presenters and organisers to speak before the event, check the Q&A and share content before the event starts. While attendees wait, they are greeted with a welcome screen, and they can use chat to engage or pose questions with the Q&A experience. This feature is going to be available early 2022.
There is a new co-organiser feature that enables you to assign up to 10 co-organizers for webinars and meetings. This will allow the co-organizer to manage meeting options, create polls, and control audio settings just like the organizer. You can expect it to be available by the end of the year.
There will also be a new Q&A experience which is due for public preview in November, which will enable organisers to better manage the Q&A when in an event. You will be able to mark best answers, filter responses and pin posts which makes it easier to manage Q&A when running a Live Event.
Shared Channels is a feature I have long waited for. A Shared Channel allows you to share a channel from a Team with another person (internal or external) or to another team. A great benefit of this is that there will be fewer Teams, and when a guest user is added to a Shared Channel, they won’t have to switch tenants to see the content. Without switching tenants, users will be able to access the Shared Channel from their Teams list. Shared Channels will be in public preview in the first quarter of 2022.
Chat with Self
Have you ever needed to take down a quick note and needed somewhere to type it quickly – either Teams chat (sometimes I use google search), well now there is a feature to help! The Chat with Self space in Teams allows you to send chat messages to yourself. You can send reminders, notes, numbers, contact details you need to save, links, and more. I’m looking forward to this one coming out in early 2022.
Delay Delivery in Chat
With flexible working we find ourselves spending time early in the mornings or evenings getting work done and sending emails and now even Teams chat messages. However you might not want to send chats to your co-workers at 9pm at night but don’t want to forget the question you need to ask. This is where the delay delivery comes in. Delay delivery of messages enables you to select a specific time to send a message. Like delay delivery in outlook, you will be able to send out chat message in a time that is convenient to you, and the message will arrive to its destination at the time you scheduled.
New Search in Teams
The search function in Teams is being updated so you can toggle between tabs to find information. This is a much easier way to find information compared to the old search UI.
To find out more new Teams features, check out the Microsoft Tech Community blog.