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Microsoft Teams New Features: 2020 Releases & 2021 Teams Roadmap | Aldridge | IT Outsourcing

There are a few new features for the general Teams messaging and video conferencing platform, Teams Live Events, and Teams Business Voice that businesses should be taking advantage of with their Microsoft 365 subscription.

In the sections below, we’ll cover the most noteworthy new Teams features available today, as well as upcoming 2021 releases.

Microsoft Teams Queue Sent Messages

The first new Teams feature to note is Queue Sent Messages, which was released in December 2020. If you’re a business leader and you’re offline trying to send a message to your staff, Teams will allow you to queue that message. Instead of having to click ‘send’ every single time to make sure it goes through, Teams will automatically place the unsent message in a queue so when you do connect to the Internet, it delivers it to the team without needing you to prompt a send.

Unlike a text message you attempted to send and replies, “Failure to send,” until you try again, this is an automatic process. Teams Queue Sent Messages gives you peace of mind that the message is on its way and you can continue throughout your day without worrying about remembering to go back and resend the message. Organizations that culturally live in Teams often rely on Teams for internal communications, not email. Queuing messages in Teams allows the platform to provide some of the functionalities of email-like communications without changing the conversation’s feel or flow.

Microsoft Teams Breakout Rooms in Teams

Teams Breakout Rooms is a new feature that was released a few months ago and is available to all subscription levels.

It allows for multiple people within a meeting to have a set amount of breakout rooms directly from within the primary Teams meeting. You can distinguish how many people go to which room, and then give each cohort times to reconnect in the original Teams meeting room as one group.

Visit Microsoft’s Teams Breakout Rooms blog to learn more.

How to create a Breakout Room on a Teams meeting

Microsoft Teams Multiple Window Experience

One of the last general Teams updates released in December 2020 was the multiple window experience desktop feature. This feature gives you the ability to have multiple window experiences open so you’re not losing your flow as you’re working.

If you’re in a meeting, you can pop out that chat, or you can pop out that meeting from the Teams dashboard. You can have multiple screens running at the same time and enhance productivity by having a systematic set up of collaboration that’s not tied to a single window.

How to pop out a chat window in Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams Live Events & Organizer Control Capabilities

Teams Live is intended for production-grade events, where you have one or more designated presenters in addition to one or more producers or support staff managing the presentation experience in real-time. Teams Live is great for all-company meetings at mid-size and enterprise scale because it allows event organizers to have more control of the presentation flow and attendee engagement. Today, Teams Live includes a moderated chat section and restricts the unmute button controls to presenters only, not attendees. These features were released in December 2020. There are even more reasons to leverage Teams Live coming down the road in 2021 as Microsoft prepares to launch the release of Teams Live Event presentation capabilities for iPad in February 2021.

Moderated Chat

As opposed to your standard Teams chat, where you have the capability of up to 250 users, the moderated chat is a more private and engaging experience. Attendees can send questions anonymously if preferred, and hosts can choose to answer the question via a private chat response or publish the question to all attendees to answer live.

If you want to have a single one-on-one conversation with an attendee who submits a question, you, as the moderator, can choose to answer them in a private chat. If there’s a question that’s particularly relevant to the current discussion, you can add it to the featured list and answer it publicly, so everyone learns from the exchange. Moderators and presenters can also use the chat to make announcements to all to keep attendees engaged and streamline the event experience.

Attendees Stay Muted

In addition to the controlled chat feature, Teams Live only allows for presenters to mute and unmute their mics and does not include an unmute button for attendees This control enables the organizer to manage the event’s flow in the most valuable way for attendees as they ask questions and engage.

Host Teams Live Presentations with Your iPad

In February 2021, Microsoft will add to the list of Teams Live updates as they roll out the Microsoft Teams Live Events for iPad, which will allow organizers to host a live event with up to 10,000 users. If you are building out a training plan, hosting a team workshop, or just hosting a large meeting, you will be able to do so directly from your iPad.

The cross-platform experience means you will not have to be on a Windows desktop machine to do business on the go. You can pick up your iPad and present from wherever you are at, across platforms, devices, and locations.

Microsoft 365 Teams Business Voice

We can’t talk about Teams without talking about Teams Business Voice, one of the most significant Teams feature releases this year. Microsoft 365 Business Voice adds cloud-based telephony capabilities to Teams. This consolidates your business’s communication and collaboration needs in one place.

Microsoft 365 Business Voice can be purchased either as included features with certain packages, or as optional add-on plans.  Businesses that subscribe to Teams VoIP generally rely on Microsoft to provide their phone system, phone lines, and long-distance calling. By consolidating these functions in one system of integrated apps, companies can reduce or eliminate the number of additional systems, associated costs, and internal resources needed to support their previous solution.

What business value does Teams Voice provide?

Business Voice lets you make calls to anywhere from any device and is hosted on Microsoft’s trusted cloud, so you can expect reliable service and top-notch audio quality.

The Teams Business Voice bundle includes a dial-in functionality with a secured line that provides a call-in number and code. Depending on your plan level, Teams Voice will also allow you to make outgoing calls from landline to landline. Essentially, Teams Voice brings all the pieces of Teams chat and video conferencing together into one platform, whether you have a call center or a data center.

How Can Businesses Leverage Teams Voice?

You can use Teams Voice to set up multiple call voice licenses for everyone in your call center to make calls out directly from Teams rooms with integrated features that allow it to act as a Voice over IP system.

Want to learn more about Teams Business Voice? Read our blog: Pros & Cons of Microsoft 365 Business Voice (Teams VoIP Phone System).

Your IT team or managed IT services provider should be helping you identify, plan for, implement, and embrace the capabilities of technology tools like Microsoft 365 Teams. If you’re interested in learning more about what Microsoft 365 can do for your business, visit our Microsoft services page, or schedule time to speak with a member of our team today and we will help you get started.

This content was originally published here.

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