There are many changes to Microsoft Teams to report on this month – especially with the introduction of Teams Premium and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Let’s start with the features that affect chat and collaboration.
Chat and Collaboration
Chat with Groups
You are no longer confined to chatting with only individuals. If you know the name of a group of people you would like to chat with, you can start a chat with them by typing and searching for the group name. This can be a distribution group, a mail-enabled security group, or a Microsoft 365 Group.
Chat with Everyone
You no longer have to @mention everyone individually in a group chat. You can now @everyone to send a notification to everyone in a group chat.
Phone Calls in Activity Feed
When a colleague calls you and you miss the call, you are now notified in your Activity feed. It includes a “Call” button so you can return their call with just one click when you see this notification.
Schedule Send Suggestions
When you prepare to send a chat message to a colleague in another time zone, Viva Insights will make a suggestion to send the message during your colleague’s working hours. Simply click on the recommendation and it will be sent to your colleague at the start of their work hours.
With a basic Teams license, you can use the Virtual Appointments app. Add this app to Teams to use for scheduling B2C appointments. The virtual appointments app brings Bookings into Teams. Although the option to create a Bookings meeting is supposed to be integrated in the Teams calendar and accessible from the new meeting drop-down, we haven’t seen it live yet. You can get the same experience by using the Virtual Meeting app – which can easily be added to the app nav bar.
Teams Premium and AI
If you have opted in for a Teams Premium license (or just a trial), AI is bringing a number of value-adds to the Teams meeting experience. The following are new AI features available to users with a Teams Premium license:
Intelligent Recap brings you AI-generated chapters in meeting recordings based on PowerPoint Live where it breaks up the meeting into sections using the presentation contents. We recently experienced this firsthand; it wasn’t perfect, but it was a good start. We expect it will improve the more it is used.
Personalized Timeline Markers
If you have a Teams Premium license, when you review a meeting recording, there are now personalized timeline markers (that only you can see) indicating when you joined and left the meeting. These are helpful for quickly finding the parts of the meeting you may have missed.
Future AI feature: The personalized timeline marker will also show you when someone mentioned your name during the meeting.
Teams Admins can configure branded meetings for Teams Premium users that include a company logo, colors, and even a custom background for the lobby and the meeting. This includes custom organizational backgrounds that can be made available to all Teams Premium licensed users at one time (rather than individually).
As promised, Teams Admins can now enable the use of watermarking by users with a Teams Premium license. This ensures that the organizer’s email address is used as a watermark over screen shares and video feeds to secure confidential information during a meeting.
- Teams Premium users (as meeting organizers) can designate who is allowed to record their meetings instead of the first person who hits the record button.
- End-to-end encryption (E2EE) can be used to disable meeting recordings on confidential meetings.
- Sensitivity labels can be added to meetings as part of enabling Microsoft Purview compliance options during meetings.
Virtual Appointments for Teams Premium
When using the Virtual Appointments app with a Teams Premium license, you get additional features like the ability to view the meeting queue for all appointments and to view analytics related to your bookings. In the Queue view, you can see all scheduled and on-demand appointments in one screen.
The Analytics display individual or department key metrics on no-shows, wait times, and calendar-level analytics that allow you to drill down into them also.
New Webinar Features
Teams Premium webinar organizers can now enable a registration waitlist and manual approval function after they have created a webinar event. People can sign up even if the webinar is full. Then, if anyone drops out, someone on the waitlist is automatically moved into the spot when the organizer selects who is approved.
Custom Registration Start / End Times
Webinar hosts can now customize the start and end dates for registration.
Virtual Green Room
Presenters can join the meeting early and interact while preparing for the event to begin in a virtual green room. They can see each other and talk while the attendees are in the lobby. However, the presenters / organizers can simultaneously interact with attendees via Q&A or chat.
Stay tuned for more updates on Teams, Teams Premium, and new AI features next month.