Microsoft held their latest Inspire conference in late July 2022, and as with every year, they have announced some new and exciting new features and solutions to Teams. Here are the ones I am looking forward to most!

1. Viva Engage

Viva Engage is the newest module to Microsoft’s Viva suite, which Microsoft announced last year. Viva Engage is a social app that builds on the existing capabilities of Communities, which is an app used in Teams to connect Yammer.



Viva Engage is a way for employees to share news, culture, feedback and have conversations and is a great way to share announcements and build communities, all within Microsoft Teams.

Viva Engage will be part of most Office 365 and Microsoft 365 licensing and will be released later this year.



2. Shared Channels in Teams

Shared Channels were announced a while ago but are now in general release, so we should see them coming to our tenants soon!

The flexibility of shared channels allows you to collaborate with parties inside and outside an organization and work effectively as an extended team without switching tenants. Users can add guests and collaborators to the shared channel without needing to be added to the entire Team. They can only see information within the channel they have access to.




Shared channels allow you to:

  • Engage in collaboration with members who are not members of the team.
  • Providing a secure and deliberate means of sharing files, holding conversations, meeting, and reviewing documents without switching tenants.
  • Maintain your work flow by using shared channels from outside your organization alongside your own channels.
  • With Teams, you can collaborate with external partners in other Azure AD orgs, just as you would with colleagues within your own.



3. New chat features

There are a few new chat features that Microsoft has announced. Two of which I love, one I am not so keen on. The one I am not too fond of is the new emojis. I think they look intense and terrifying, but I’m sure I’ll get used to them!

The other two features are pretty useful:

  1. Video clip – the ability to record a short video message and send it via Teams chat. I can see this being useful when trying to explain something that doesn’t need a whole call, or if someone is busy, it might be easier to leave that person a video explaining your point or question. This feature is coming out in September 2022.
  2. Chat with self – this feature is already available, but I find it helpful. Chat with self is a way for you to send a short chat message to yourself. The chat is pinned at the top, so you can easily find it. I use OneNote, but sometimes I need a temporary quick number or note that doesn’t have a place in a OneNote page or section. Chat with self is one I’ll be using!



4. Collaborative Annotations

Collaborative annotations enable you and your Teams meeting participants to collaborate and annotate the screen while you share in Teams. When you turn on annotations, participants will see the Microsoft Whiteboard toolset at the top of their window with the ability to use laser pointers, pens, sticky notes and more. 




This feature comes in handy when working on design, slides, documents, etc. Collaborative annotations is available now as part of the Teams public preview.


For more information on Inspire announcements, check out the tech community blog:

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