As more businesses pivot to a remote work strategy, Microsoft announced a new slate of updates to Teams this week during the collaboration tool’s third anniversary, with many of the updates expected to launch later this year.

Jared Spataro, the corporate vice president of Microsoft 365, made the announcement in a blog post and said the unusual times has spurred the team to continue to innovate with the collaboration tools.

“It’s very clear that enabling remote work is more important than ever, and that it will continue to have lasting value beyond the COVID-19 outbreak,” wrote Spataro. “We are committed to building the tools that help organizations, teams, and individuals stay productive and connected even when they need to work apart.”

Microsoft Teams has seen a 37 per cent increase in users in just the last week. Credit: Microsoft

Teams has seen a dramatic spike in the number of daily users, going from around 32 million to over 44 million in the last seven days. With that increased usage, some flaws in the solution have been singled out, resulting in some users jumping ship due to limitations of certain Teams functions, such as the limit of 4 streams displayed at a time during group video chats.

The latest updated features include:

  • Real-time noise suppression. This feature should limit the background sound you experience in meetings, such as typing on the keyboard or others making noise in your household.
  • Raise hand feature. By using this feature, users can indicate to the group they are in a conference call with that they have something they would like to say.
  • A new integration between Teams and RealWear. Firstline Workers will now be able to use head-mounted devices to access information and communicate hands-free with remote experts from their job site.
  • Bookings app in Teams. As announced earlier this month, this app will now be available in Teams to schedule, manage, and conduct appointments.
  • Pop-out chats. Soon users will be able to conduct chats in separate pop-up windows.
  • Offline and low-bandwidth support. Even without an internet connection, users will now be able to read and respond to messages.
  • Yealink VC210 is the first collaboration bar-certified for Teams. As well, the Bose Noise Cancelling headphone 700 UC will be available for purchase later this spring.
  • Microsoft 365 Business Voice to be released in the U.S. as well as a new Microsoft 365 Enterprise plan lineup with additional licensing options for Firstline Workers.
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