Over the last month Microsoft has come out with a slew of new features and functionality for Microsoft Teams! In this article I’ll review some of the exciting news that Microsoft provided throughout the month of May. A lot of this news may have gone on under the radar for most users so I’ll do my best to bring each topic to light.
New Communication Functionality
Microsoft Phone System Direct Routing was released into public preview earlier this month. Back in December of 2017 Microsoft kicked things off by offering calling in Teams by turning on Microsoft Calling Plans. This allowed customers with the ability to make/take calls in Teams and was available to 9 different countries. Direct Routing (or BYOT as they had originally called it) was the next big step for Microsoft by allowing customers to bring their own SIP trunk to Microsoft Teams for many different countries around the world. Microsoft states that, “if your country is supported by Teams and Phone System you can now start a self-managed preview of Direct Routing.” You can read that full announcement here.
Access to SharePoint document library files in Teams
Now you are able to work together on files with previews, pinned items, metadata, Flow and more. You can find the official announcement here.
Setting delegates for calls within Teams
Similar to Skype for Business Online, as a delegate you are now able to make/receive calls on behalf of someone else.
New Collaboration Functionality
Microsoft Remote Assist
You now have the ability to collaborate remotely with heads-up, hands-free video calling, image sharing, and mixed-reality annotations using Hololens. You can take a look at this groundbreaking stuff here.
Create a new team using an existing one as a template
This may seem like something simple, but proves to be incredibly helpful when trying to duplicate things. With this new feature you can choose exactly what you want to copy from the original team (i.e. channels, tabs, team settings, and/or members.)
Note: Although this feature was slated for a Q4 release in Microsoft Roadmap some users have seen this within their tenants already.
Check out this blog article for more guidance around this.
New 3rd Party Application Capabilities
As a developer you can now integrate apps in chat, tailored teams via API’s in Microsoft Graph and app sharing through Teams enterprise catalog.
For more information on this please check out this blog.
Enterprise App Sharing through Teams Enterprise catalog for apps
You can now control Teams apps and distribute apps to users within your organization by publishing to your companies catalog in the Teams app store. You can manage this catalog via Powershell cmdlets, Graph API’s, and even through the Teams client itself.
For a deep dive on this, please check out the link here.
Apps, Apps, and more Apps!
Take a look at the full list of apps available in Microsoft Teams by using AppSource. These also include several new integrations such as Soapbox, Jell, Mural, Kronos, Workboard, and RememberThis. Check out the full blog article here.
New Features for Teams app on Android and iOS
New Meeting Capabilities on Mobile
With the most recent update to the mobile app, you are now able to join a call/meeting with Teams. Also, as a mean of bandwidth optimization, when you happen to cross a poor internet network while in a meeting, the Teams app now gives you the option to ‘Call me back’ at a number you’ve set or re-join via a phone call. Additionally, Teams will prompt with you with the option to switch from video to audio – giving you continued good audio quality. More information on the mobile applications here.
Join Calls and Meetings
You can now initiate, receive, or join 1:1 calls and scheduled meetings via audio (VoIP), video or phone* with team members or others outside your organization. If you need to add more participants to an ongoing conversation, the Teams mobile app allows you to search for additional members or enter a phone number to join a call or meetings.
(*Note: requires Phone System and/or Audio Conferencing)
Share Content and Control Presentation
With the recent update you can share your iPhone or iPad screen, images, or live video stream with others meeting attendees. Additionally, attendees can view presentations, request control and advance slides. Alternatively, they can view the presentation in a private mode and skip ahead.
Note: Coming soon, you will be able to share Android screen, and files from cloud storage apps including OneDrive and SharePoint, directly in the mobile client.
Microsoft Teams Admin Training Course
If you are the Skype for Business administrator (or other IT Professional) and have now been tasked with enabling Microsoft Teams for your users, fear not. Microsoft has partnered with edX to create a course on “Enabling Teamwork with Microsoft Teams” to help your IT professionals learn how to configure Teams. This course covers aspects such as how to:
- Enable users
- Configure Teams settings
- Plan for network usage
- Configure voice functionality
This course also covers more advanced configuration of Teams, such as compliance and calling features. You can check out this free course here.
HWA (Hosted Web App) Desktop App in Public Preview
Windows 10 S has released a Microsoft Teams Desktop App for Public Preview. If you are unfamiliar with Windows 10 S, this OS basically only allows you to download apps from the Microsoft Store instead of the conventional Windows 10 where you are allowed to download any program you see fit. To try this out, see the link here.
How are customers leveraging Microsoft Teams?
Cerner – Adoption to Microsoft Teams
To see how Cerner used Microsoft Teams to improve collaboration, check out the video here.
GE (General Electric) – Breaking down workplace barriers with Teams
GE (General Electric) is no small ma and pa shop, with 300,000+ employees worldwide, GE has chosen to leveraged Skype for Business Online in the past. Now they are embracing Microsoft Teams to break down workplace barriers and promoting a highly collaborative work environment to deliver the best value to their customers. Check out the full story here.
Microsoft Teams for Education updates (1 year anniversary)
Although Microsoft Teams is still in its infancy, it has had some groundbreaking updates over the past 12 months. This is includes Teams for Education where teachers can now create, store, and apply rubrics to assignments to make it easier for students to get proper feedback. Feedback is one of the most important aspects to teaching, not only for the students but for the teachers as well. With this feedback mechanism this will help students improve on their work and will also provide teachers with a clear and transparent way to grade. In addition, the recent additions to Teams for education will allow:
- Students to be able to see how they’ll be assessed upfront, before they start working on the assignment.
- Teachers to save a lot of time with a grading tool that’s easily applied to multiple assignments at once.
Lastly, there are several new assignments features that are enhancing the assignments and grading experience. Real the full blog post here. I have also written a short blog about Teams for Education and some of the other updates from last month, which you can check out here.
Provide Continuous and Personalized Feedback
Now teachers can provide personalized, iterative, and actionable feedback in real-time as the students are working on the assignment. Assignment submission also does not necessarily mean things are set in stone. Now assignments can be resubmitted and continuously improved (if the teacher so does desire), even after the teacher has left feedback.
Share Assignments to Individual Students
Not every student learns on the same level. That said, some learning material may need to be directed towards a specific group, and Teams now allows you to do that. With the recent update, this now allows you to cater to all diverse learning styles in your classroom as well as tailor to different academic abilities.
Schedule to Post an Assignment
Teachers now have the ability to schedule to post an assignment in advance. This will allow teachers to prepare the material ahead of time and share the learning activities with students whenever they’d like.
Rich Text Editing for Assignment Instructions
This may not seem like anything huge, but this can prove to be very useful for teachers wanting to markup instructions. This new improvement allows teachers to bold, italicize, highlight, and make bulleted or numbered lists in your assignment instructions. This will give the teacher the ability to emphasize which areas they think are more important than others.
All Blogs from May
Just to give you a one stop shop for all of the exciting May updates for Teams, you can use the links below:
- Tech Community Microsoft Teams blog
- Join a Call or Meeting with Microsoft Teams Mobile App
- New Apps in Microsoft Teams – May Update
- Direct Routing Now in Public Preview
- MyAdvisor moves off Microsoft Account (MSA) Authorization to provide you with a better experience!