Microsoft Teams: The New Features for 2021

by | Mar 3, 2021 | Blog

Reimagining the employee experience at Microsoft Ignite 2021

At the Microsoft Ignite 2021 digital event – currently live streaming from 02-04 March 2021 due to the continued Covid-19 restrictions – Microsoft has announced a fantastic set of exciting new features for Microsoft Teams, all dedicated to reimagining the employee experience in a hybrid workplace.

With secure communications top of the agenda, these Teams innovations are designed to deliver enhanced presentations and powerful meetings experiences for a work-from-anywhere world.

Let’s take a look at what these Microsoft Teams new features are.

Bring virtual meetings to life

With Dynamic View, meeting elements are automatically arranged on screen as people join, turn on video, start to speak, or begin to present in a Microsoft Teams meeting, to offer an optimal viewing experience.

And with the new View Switcher, you can control how you see meeting content, such as placing video feeds at to the top of your meeting window, making it easier to have a more natural eye gaze with others, or even hide all video feeds to remove distractions and place full attention on the shared meeting content.

You now make your videos and presentations really impactful with the funky new Presenter Mode. Presenters can show video feed as a silhouette in front of the shared content, and even place content as a visual aid above your shoulder – just like a news reporter – adding a real professional look to your presentations.

Microsoft Teams Presenter Mode

With the release of Microsoft PowerPoint Live in Microsoft Teams, presenters now can confidently lead meetings with access to notes, slides, meeting chat, and participants all in a single view. Attendees can also privately navigate the content at their own pace or using the screen reader. Learn more about PowerPoint Live.

Microsoft Teams PowerPoint Live

Wow factor webinars

Microsoft Teams will soon support interactive webinars for up to 1,000 attendees, including rich presentation options, live reactions, and moderation controls for chat, audio, and video. With a customisable registration process and automatic email confirmation, you can offer a smooth attendee management and registration experience for all guests. Combined with the new attendee reporting capabilities due later this quarter, you’ll be able to create custom reports to measure event success.

Also available this month is the 10,000-person view-only broadcasts, where Teams will seamlessly scale to accommodate a 10,000-person view-only broadcast experience.

Other announcements include the new integration of Teams events to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Marketing to deliver a robust attendee management process  to effectively nurture attendees before, during, and after an event.

Microsoft Teams attendee webinar

Improved chat and collaboration

We will also see the introduction of Microsoft Teams Connect, an accessible, shared workspace for both internal or external contacts where everyone can chat, meet, call, share and co-author documents in real-time. Admins will have access to granular controls, allowing their organisation to stay in control of how external users access data and information.

The Teams mobile app will be getting a new look, with new headers, icons, and styling, along with some additional updates including the ability to access Teams files while offline, a new search experience and the ability to pin chats to offer an enhanced mobile experience on Teams. These features are coming to iOS first, followed by Android.

Teams Mobile experience

Security, compliance, and privacy

As more of us work remotely, secure communications and compliance is paramount. Microsoft Teams will soon support end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for ad hoc 1-to-1 Teams VoIP calls, providing an additional option for conducting sensitive online conversations. Also, to help customers meet data residency requirements, this Spring will see Microsoft 365 Multi-Geo extended to include Microsoft Teams, allowing organisations to specify where their Teams customer data is stored, right down to the team and end user.

This year, Teams admins will be able to view and evaluate the security, compliance, and data privacy details for apps coming from Microsoft Cloud App Security. This will help Teams admins save time on security reviews and enable more focused selection-based security specifications, resulting in increased app quality.

Last month, Microsoft turned on guest access by default to simplify an inclusive meeting experience. This month, Microsoft will add scheduled access reviews for guests across all Teams and Groups by default. The system will automatically schedule periodic guest access reviews across Teams, to streamline the experience of managing guest users and delivering better identity security.

Devices & display developments

With the ability to see all attendees clearly and share meeting content at the same time, the new Gallery views in a Teams Room are designed to make everyone to feel included and offer a better meeting experience for participants.

Other new features for Teams display include the ability to change your background, to express live reactions and show applause, humour, appreciation, and other emotions. You can even now ask Cortana questions like “What’s the time and weather in New York?” using voice on the Lenovo Thinksmart View.

And using Intelligent speakers for Microsoft Teams Rooms, identify and differentiate the voices of up to 10 people talking in a Microsoft Teams Room, allowing allow participants to use the transcript to follow along or capture actions.

We are all working differently and these innovative Microsoft Teams new features and capabilities are ready to address these new ways of working.

Is your Team ready for the new Microsoft Teams?

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