Thursday, 09 July 2020 12:22

Microsoft tweaks Teams

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Reflecting continuing interest in remote collaboration, Microsoft has previewed new features for its Microsoft Teams virtual collaboration product.

The new features for Microsoft Teams are aimed at providing greater connectivity, reducing meeting fatigue and making meetings more inclusive, all while saving time.

These features are now being previewed, and will be generally available by the end of the year.

Together mode uses AI segmentation technology to digitally place participants in a shared background, making it feel like they are in the same room with everyone else in the meeting or class.

Everyone sees the same Together view, and the arrangement of faces does not change during the meeting, reducing the cognitive load on participants, and hence reducing fatigue.

Together mode creates the perception of shared space to offer "a feeling of togetherness that's really compelling," according to Microsoft researcher Kori Inkpen.

Dynamic View allows users to personalise the view to suit their preferences and needs, for example by showing shared content and specific participants side-by-side.

Video filters can be used to adjust lighting levels and soften the focus of the camera.

The Reflect messaging extension allows managers, leaders and teachers to easily check in on how their teams or students are feeling through questions in an online poll. Unlike the other features, Reflect won't be available for a few weeks.

The preview is available to users of the Microsoft Teams app for iOS or Android when they log in using a personal Microsoft account.

Additional Teams features foreshadowed by Microsoft include integration with To Do, Planner and Outlook tasks; integration with PowerPoint Live Presentations; improvements to the Whiteboard facility; displaying chat messages on the main screen for all participants; live transcripts; and speaker attribution in live captions.


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Stephen Withers

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Stephen Withers is one of Australia¹s most experienced IT journalists, having begun his career in the days of 8-bit 'microcomputers'. He covers the gamut from gadgets to enterprise systems. In previous lives he has been an academic, a systems programmer, an IT support manager, and an online services manager. Stephen holds an honours degree in Management Sciences and a PhD in Industrial and Business Studies.

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