Microsoft has lifted the lid on a series of upgrades for collaboration platform Teams that should help workers transition more effectively between the home and office.
The most eye-catching addition is the ability to dial into Teams calls during the commute, courtesy of Apple CarPlay support. As per an entry in the company’s product roadmap, Teams users will soon be able to call and message Teams contacts from most modern vehicles.
The feature is still under development, but will roll out by the end of the month. And although there’s no official word on an Android Auto integration, we have to imagine it’s in the works.
Arriving early next year, new working hours and RSVP features will give users the ability to include information about their working schedules in their Outlook calendar and specify whether they will be attending a meeting via Teams or in-person.
Microsoft Teams for hybrid working
As part of the next round of upgrades, Microsoft will also introduce an extra measure of intelligence to Teams peripherals, in a bid to ensure collaboration remains equitable when meeting attendees are split between the office and home.
The company has announced a new range of “intelligent cameras” for conference rooms, from the likes of Jabra, Neat, Poly and Yealink. These cameras will automatically identify who is speaking and zoom in for a closer perspective; and in a separate mode, can create individual Teams tiles for each conference room attendee.
Further, Microsoft will soon release an update for companion mode for the Teams mobile app, giving in-room attendees easy access to features like text chat and live reactions. The new-look companion mode will also surface meeting controls, such as mute and screen cast.
“As employees settle into a mode where they’re splitting time between in-person and remote work, most organizations are not prepared. Remote attendees are finding themselves unseen and unheard. In-person attendees want to be inclusive, but are not equipped to run effective hybrid meetings,” explained Nicole Herskowitz, Microsoft Teams GM.
“Like you, we are learning to navigate change in real-time. Together, we will create a new era of hybrid work where employees feel included and valued, and businesses perform better.”