Microsoft introduces new features to Microsoft Teams virtually every year, and 2021 is not an exception. The new features are meant to enhance the digital meeting experiences, improve user privacy, and reduce the cost of virtual meetings. Some of these features have already been released, while others will be out before the end of the year.

Here are some of the new features in Microsoft Teams that will enhance your digital events.

Meet Now or Later

The latest update introduces meeting scheduling. When you click on the Calendar tab, you will have the option of creating a new session. You can also specify the location, channel, date, time, and attendance. Once you have set these parameters, Microsoft Teams will automatically send the invites.

Microsoft Teams received the additional ‘Meet Now’ feature in March 2021. The new feature aims to reduce the amount of time needed to create a recent meeting. Moreover, you can also make the meeting from the Outlook application. It is also possible to join an ongoing meeting from the Outlook or Calendar applications. Unfortunately, you can only select the Microsoft Teams Events when you’re using Outlook. At this point, you can’t specify the channel of the meetings from the Outlook application.

Live Transcription

Microsoft has been working on a smart live transcription system. The company decided to release this new feature to cater for meetings where participants speak different languages. The live transcription feature can denote every speaker and provide transcriptions as soon as they are spoken. Consequently, participants in a virtual meeting can follow the discussions in real time, even if they are not fluent in the speaker’s language.

Microsoft Teams assigns a name to each speaker by using their invitation details. Since every participant will receive an invitation with their name on it, the AI will transcribe the audio and attach the identity to that audio. You will be able to see the transcription on the right-hand section of your desktop. The transcription will appear below the participant’s Avatar.

Meeting Recap

Virtual meeting participants now get a summary of each meeting when the meeting is over. The Meeting Recap update first appeared in Microsoft teams in 2020. Microsoft used the initial rollout to collect data and test the feature’s efficiency. Today, the feature is now available via web and desktop applications.

Microsoft Recap uses AI and machine learning to generate summaries of meetings automatically. Additionally, meeting participants will have access to each meeting’s transcripts, notes, chats, and recordings. They can also choose to receive the meeting summary in the Outlook calendar.

Unfortunately, the meeting recap feature has a few limitations. For example, you can’t use this feature when you’re taking part in channel meetings. Simultaneously, Microsoft Teams webinars’ participants must enable transcripts and recordings if they want them to be included in the summary. Similarly, the meeting recap feature uses English transcriptions only.

Live Reactions

Another important update in Microsoft teams is the Live Reactions feature. Microsoft started talking about the feature in September 2020, but users began to implement Live Reactions updates in March 2021. The Live Reactions update is available on mobile and desktop platforms.

Developers at Microsoft Teams believe that the majority of human communication does not involve verbal elements. Instead, they claim that nonverbal communication is at the centre of human interactions. Consequently, Microsoft Teams now includes things such as clapping and smiles. Microsoft Teams events’ participants will have the opportunity to showcase their emotions during the meetings.

As a participant in a virtual meeting, you can now use emojis to express your emotions when you hear something. Microsoft Teams will display your emoji on top of your picture so other participants can see what you are thinking. In some instances, your emoji will appear on top of the content to emphasize your reaction. This feature works on PowerPoint, Whiteboard, desktop, and window systems.

Masked Phone Numbers

Microsoft Teams is committed to maintaining a high security level on its platforms. The latest example of this commitment is the masking of prospective client’s phone numbers. When a person calls your organization via Microsoft Teams, they may not be conversant with how the application works. That is why the new PSTN interface is important because it allows people to connect to your organization without revealing their phone numbers.

For instance, if you are operating from an area with a poor internet connection, PSTN allows you to make the call from a traditional landline phone without revealing your phone number. The new flexibility and agility mean that you don’t create conflicting Microsoft Teams webinars even when your device connection is weak.

Teams Webinar

Microsoft Teams now supports the Teams Webinar feature. The new feature does not require a standalone subscription or a more expensive all-encompassing package. Microsoft will be rolling out the feature during 2021 and expects that it will support 1,000 interactive attendees. This new feature will allow to set up a registration page and get post-event reporting to give insights to the event organizer. The participants will be able to send live reactions and answer real-time polls to keep the webinar interactive.

Final Thoughts

Microsoft Teams remains the leading virtual meetings solution. However, you will need a qualified expert to guide you through the process. Here at Softlanding, we help companies to leverage Microsoft solutions, such as Microsoft Teams. Contact us now to get started.

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Softlanding is a long-established IT services provider of transformation, professional services and managed IT services that helps organizations boost innovation and drive business value. We are a multi-award-winning Microsoft Gold Partner with 13 Gold Competencies and we use our experience and expertise to be a trusted advisor to our clients. Headquartered in Vancouver, BC, we have staff and offices in Toronto, Montreal and Calgary to serve clients across Canada.

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