What’s new in Teams for August 2020? – Spotlight, Call Merge, and more

Microsoft has posted its August monthly wrap-up to look back at all the new features and capabilities added (or announced) in Microsoft Teams as part of the August 2020 update.  One thing to note (as my commenters often point out) is that, as with all these updates, as that Microsoft announce, the rolling out of these features and due to the gradual rollout, not all customers will get these at the same time!

Meetings and Calling Enhancements

With Teams Calling and Meetings being a constant area of innovation, demand (COVID and post COVID) and of course immense competition from the likes of Zoom in the meetings space, it won’t surprise you to hear there are tons of new improvements coming.  All these features have been designed of course to enhance the user experience in Microsoft Teams and include: –

  • The addition of Spotlight mode,
  • Enhancements to Meeting Recordings
  • New Call Merge option
  • Chat and Presence enhancements
  • Updated transcribe service (Speaker Attribution)
  • Teams Education Specific Enhancements

Spotlight mode

Said to be going live in the next couple of months (Sept to October), and not to be confused with the “Pin participant” feature, spotlight mode will provide presenters and meeting organisers the ability to lock an individual video feed for all attendees to see during a Teams meeting. This will mean presenters will be able to put someone in the spotlight by heading to the meeting video grid or directly from the Participants panel.

Teams Spotlight video window

Meeting Recording Improvements

Until now, Teams records meetings in Stream which is fine so long as Stream is available within the customers geographic region.  Until such time that Stream is available in all Office 365 Teams regions, a new admin setting is rolling out to let users to store meeting recordings in the Office 365 data centre closest to their region. In addition,

In addition, Microsoft have announced that Microsoft Teams is now fully supported with their “optimised experience” with VMWare Horizon 8, in additional to Citrix and of course, Windows Virtual Desktop, helping meet the increasing demand for collaboration tools to support remote workers and work across Virtual Desktop environments.

Enhancements to Teams Voice (Calling)

Microsoft announced new features for calling in Teams including a new call merge option for both Teams VOIP and PSTN calls which lets users merge several separate calls into a bigger group call.

Another new feature announced was new devices designed that will further enhance the collaboration and meeting experience. The list announced by Microsoft includes a new Windows collaboration displays from Avocor as well as various new Microsoft Teams Rooms setups powered by Yealink, Logitech, and HP.

Merge Calls in Teams

Chat and Presence Enhancements

After two years, Microsoft have finally “fixed” presence, although they announced this as a new feature since the tech behind it was rebuilt based on the updated and new communications APIs. 

Called “real-time presence”, this means that Teams will be able to provide a much more reliable and faster status updates.

Microsoft also announced that they are bringing enhanced Visio integration into Microsoft Teams to make it easier to access, managed and edit Visio files directly through a dedicated Visio tabs within a channel or chat.

Speaker Live Translation with Speaker Attribution

Microsoft is bringing a new Live Transcription with speaker attribution capabilities to Microsoft Teams which rolling out this month (September 2020)

The new Live Transcription feature will give users a new way to follow and review meeting conversations. Once rolled out, users will see two options in the meeting control bar – Recording and Transcription.

Transcripts will be viewed in real-time using the desktop client, or at the end of the meeting on the web application and will be attributed, in line with the speaker rather than the current simple subtitle / closed caption view today.

Teams Education – Enhancements

Teams in Education is different from Teams Commercial as has many discrete and dedicated features that empowers education establishments to use Team to deliver whole class teaching whether it’s for Academy, Adult Ed, Primary, Secondary, or Further/High Education.

There are new Education Insights that have been rolled out in public preview which allows “administrators to monitor digital engagement through system-level engagement monitoring reports which has been designed to provide enhanced visibility into educator best practices in remote instruction” – according to Microsoft. 

Microsoft Teams Edu Insights

Thirsty for more detail?

For the full details, refer to the wider Microsoft Blog here: 

https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/microsoft-teams-blog/what-s-new-in-microsoft-teams-august-2020/ba-p/1619717

 

 

 

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