Microsoft will start allowing users without an internet connection and those with low bandwidth connectivity to read chat messages on its remote working platform Teams, making it easier for users to continue working no matter where they are.
The announcement is part of a wider upgrade programme aimed at enhancing user experience as more and more organisations, employees and students across the globe shift to remote working and learning in an effort to keep themselves and the people around them healthy and safe amidst Covid-19.
“Enabling remote work is more important than ever, and we are committed to building the tools that help organisations, teams, and individuals stay productive and connected even when they need to work apart,” says Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President, Microsoft 365.
As part of this upgrade programme, Teams is also introducing real-time noise suppression capabilities to minimize distracting background noise, allowing participants to hear what is being said. In large meetings, it is also sometimes difficult for remote participants to chime in when they have something to say. The newly introduced raise hand feature lets anyone in the meeting send a visual signal that they have something to say.
“We continue to invest in experiences that will make it easier for teams to communicate and collaborate. The new capabilities we are announcing reflect our commitment to two things: building the very best online meeting experience for our customers; and bringing technological solutions to traditionally underserved professionals, including first line and healthcare workers,” explains Spataro.
Teams will soon enable users to pop out chats into a separate window to help them streamline their workflow and move more easily between ongoing conversations. We are also expanding the Teams devices ecosystem, with new devices certified for Teams. The Yealink VC210, now generally available, is the first collaboration bar certified for Teams, and brings together speakers, microphone, camera and the Teams app to deliver a meeting experience for smaller conference rooms that is simple to install and easy to manage.
Over the last three years, thousands of organisations, large and small, have discovered how Teams can be their hub for teamwork, helping them to stay connected and engaged. Today, 93 of the Fortune 100 use Teams, and 32 million people around the world make use of the solution daily.
In the face of COVID-19, there are countless stories from customers who are using online video conference facilities like Teams to connect and thrive in inspiring ways. Universities across the world are moving courses online while doctors are using Teams for videoconferencing with patients, especially those who are most vulnerable to Coronavirus, as a way to protect both patients and healthcare providers. Organisations are also using the online platform to conduct orientation and trainings for new incoming employees. Also introduced is the new Bookings app in Teams which makes it easy to schedule, manage and conduct virtual appointments for situations like healthcare patient consults, client meetings, or job candidate interviews.