Microsoft Teams gets customized layouts, new Together ‘scenes’

Microsoft will enable Groups users to overlay a presenter’s video feed when displaying articles such as for example slides – section of its try to improve meetings because the amount of video calls rockets through the pandemic.

The feature, later this season due out, is among a small number of improvements to the Teams collaboration system unveiled at Microsoft’s Ignite conference Tuesday. The ongoing company also highlighted enhancements to office-based conference tools and new capabilities to market employee wellbeing.

The custom layouts feature lets users place a video feed of a gathering presenter onto the foreground of a PowerPoint presentation, because of exactly the same artificial intelligence segmentation technology found in Teams background blur and Together mode. This can enable meeting participants to see the presenter’s encounter and hand gestures, as well as enable weather forecaster-design highlighting of content.

“It’s almost like establishing the area, in a physical feeling, for how I will present and what I must show you, and that basically gets past this notion that everything needs to be the same with only a Brady Bunch view and a lot of squares,” said Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, throughout a pre-recorded briefing.

Additionally, there are changes to the Collectively mode, first announced in July, including brand new “scenes” later this season which will mimic conference areas and coffee stores. The opportunity to automatically level and center participants within their virtual “seats” will undoubtedly be added; that’s made to help to make the virtual encounter more real when folks are sitting too much from their digital cameras, Microsoft said.

Other video features are the addition of breakout areas – an extremely requested feature also because of arrive by the finish of 2020.

Microsoft said it really wants to enhance the Teams meetings encounter in workplaces by adding “touchless” technologies – like the ability to utilize the Groups mobile as a remote control for Microsoft Teams Areas devices. Which allows users to become listed on and leave meetings, switch cameras on / off, and adjust sound quantity without touching a main console. (Microsoft’s Cortana tone of voice assistant may be used for exactly the same purpose.)

The noticeable changes are welcome, said Larry Cannell, a extensive research director at Gartner, though this individual argued that reducing the responsibility on employees ought to be the top priority.

In accordance with Microsoft’s research, Groups users have been involved with 55% more meetings plus calls weekly as of the finish of August. That enhance comes as many folks shifted to working from home after companies shuttered workplaces amid the COVID-19 outbreak.

“The brand new meeting experiences via conferencing vendors are fun and will make meetings just a little much less taxing,” said Cannell. “Without question, many on the web group scenarios reap the benefits of these new meeting functions. For example, whatever makes a teacher’s work easier is fantastic.

“However, for some knowledge workers the very best meetings will be the ones that don’t happen,” he said. “Remote function must get beyond having numerous meetings and to assisting people move prior in-office collaboration to on the internet workspaces.”

Employee wellbeing and performance tracking

Additional announcements at Ignite include efforts by Microsoft to greatly help employees manage stress amounts when functioning remotely. A Microsoft Analysis survey highlighted the significance of the commute in supplying an area for reflection – a chance that lots of have missed from during the pandemic.

To help deal with that presssing issue, Microsoft programs to integrate with Headspace, a favorite meditation app, getting a “curated group of mindfulness experiences and science-backed meditations” in to the Teams apps.

Meanwhile, Microsoft also really wants to ensure it is easier for supervisors to track conversation and collaboration ranges among workers, making the Place of work Analytics app obtainable within Teams directly. This gives bosses better insight into meeting performance and potential conversation bottlenecks between groups of workers.

Microsoft said the Place of work Analytics app can provide suggestions to employees via Teams also, such as reducing conference overload and switching away at the ultimate end of the workday.

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