June 02, 2021

Microsoft Teams Updates 2021


With over 145 million daily active users, MS Teams has become a highly popular application worldwide today. It has lived up to the users expectation in making their lives easier and productive. To keep up the momentum, Microsoft constantly innovates and adds new features in Teams to enhance user experience to serve them better.

In this blog, we will check out some of the selected updates that Teams has rolled out in 2021 and thus, know how far Teams has come along in terms of user engagement. Let’s begin:

1. Meetings and webinars

Here, we will breakdown new features for meetings and webinars:

  • Breakout room retention and participant reassignment – This allows an organizer to reassign participants and move them into different rooms even if rooms are opened.
  • Invite-only meeting options – This option puts those participants in the lobby automatically who were not invited originally.
  • Polls in Teams meetings – Polls are now enhanced with intelligent suggestions as well as analysis to prepare questions and then respond quickly.
  • Enhanced meeting creation and expiration policies – Here, Teams meetings and join links are disabled for users whose scheduling permissions are have been revoked.
  • Improvements to audio permissions settings for attendees – This allows greater flexibility to an organizer to configure audio settings for the attendee.
  • External presenter support for Live Events – This allows you to allow anonymous users without Microsoft Service Account (MSA) or Azure Active Directory (AAD) identity to be a presenter.
  • Producer Management in Teams Live Events – This allows users to manage Teams live events as a producer in a separate window while collaborating with co-workers on Teams.
  • Custom Backgrounds on iOS for Teams meetings – This allows you to customize background from your iOS mobile devices while you are on a meeting.
  • Teams casting from Android and iOS Teams App – This allows one to cast wirelessly to connect to Teams Room and display content using their mobile phones for quick and ad-hoc meetings.

2. Devices

Updates are announced to both Teams Rooms on Windows and Android. On Windows, with an improved meeting join experience that supports Advanced Threat Protection sale link service, users can now have a seamless meeting join experience with external users. On Android, center-of-room meeting console support allows meeting participants to now control the center-of-room touch control console the same way they do on Windows devices.

Additionally, using improved display, you can view insights into the room’s daily schedule. Further, you can join meetings from the room console in personal mode. You can apply background effects, record the meeting, and initiate white-boarding to share with both in-room and remote participants.

There is also intelligent detection and remediation for Microsoft Teams Rooms which allows easy detection of incidents, vulnerabilities, and missing security KBs. It also includes advanced threat detection and security update management for Teams Rooms.

Microsoft announced surface accessories certified for Teams like Modern USB and Wireless headsets with advanced microphone systems for enhanced call controls. Microsoft also introduced a modern USB-C Speaker for the speakerphone experience.

For enhanced video capability, Microsoft released Modern Webcam viz The Yealink UVC20 and Poly Studio P5, with 1080p and 78-degree field of view and True Look technology. It comes with privacy shutter slides closed with an LED indicator to indicate whether you are visible in meetings. Audiocodes C435HD and the Yealink MP52 are some low-cost phones for personal use to suit your budget.

3. Chat and Collaboration

Microsoft introduced a product feedback tool to review the feedback automatically that you submit and provide help documentation related to the topic, if available. Additionally, once enabled by the administrator, you can share your email address when submitting feedback in Teams, so Microsoft can follow up with you. Other updates regarding chat and collaboration include:

  • Windows 10 native notifications in Teams – This allows you to choose the style of your notifications: built-in Teams or Windows native notifications with respecting focus assist mode to avoid distracting notifications when you need to focus and review your notifications in one place.
  • Visual update – This provides has a new visual look and feel in Teams mobile app on Android and iOS devices with new headers, icons, and styling along with the ability to automatically switch to a dark theme when you set your device to a dark mode.
  • Organize chats – In the Teams mobile app, you can pin chats and filter the Chat list. This is helpful when you want to get back into critical conversations quickly.
  • Emoji library and GIFs In the Teams mobile app, Microsoft provides an expanded library of emojis, and the ability to trim GIFs directly in the app on Android and iOS devices.

4. Teams Management

Microsoft introduced a pre-configured website tab in team templates. It enables an admin to add a URL of their choice to the website tab in a team template. The pre-built template makes it easier to distribute standardized content to the entire organization while creating a team. It also allows end-users to access critical corporate resources with minimal manual setup.

Then, with the app customization and branding capability, app developers can provide the option for their customers to customize the app. If so, then admins can customize app properties to deliver a branded app experience right within Teams.

Next, we have the Teams user usage report to get insights and metrics into Teams activities and usage. The reports can be generated on a per-team and cross-team basis to learn about interaction with peers and across the organization. Also, Microsoft introduced anonymous user usage reports where an admin can anonymize user data such as username, email address, etc., and protect user privacy while viewing and accessing the Teams usage report data.

Then there are custom policy packages that enable Teams admins to configure their own set of policy packages personalized to users with similar roles in their organization.

This summarizes the latest updates for Microsoft Teams for 2021 so far. However, to get details on new features Microsoft introduced for Frontline Workers and Government in Teams, please check out the link here.

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