Microsoft Ignite Brings New Microsoft Teams Features to Collaboration PlatformMicrosoft Ignite Brings New Microsoft Teams Features
Tons of new Microsoft Teams features are coming to the collaboration platform at the beginning of the year.
November 15, 2023
MICROSOFT IGNITE 2023—The collaboration giant's annual developer conference kicked off today with plenty of news on the security and collaboration end. Its flagship collaboration tool, Microsoft Teams, received a refurb at this year's event. Microsoft said it would introduce immersive spaces to the Teams platform, which now boasts some 320 million global users, making immersive spaces generally available in January 2024. The feature, presently in preview, will enable users to transform 2D meetings into 3D experiences with avatars, seat assignments, spatial audio, and audio zones: a feature that lets users have multiple simultaneous conversations without talking over each other. It will likewise allow interactive activities and live reactions, according to the tech giant. Mesh, previously in preview, will become general availability in January 2024. The new Microsoft Teams feature will let users create custom spaces for employee events, training, guided tours, and product showcases. When made generally available, Microsoft says it will introduce features that make it more manageable for hosts to interact with attendees, such as the capacity to host question-and-answer sessions.
All this, Microsoft notes, will be available to Teams Premium users, with the tech firm writing, "the ability to customize immersive spaces in Mesh will be available in Teams Premium."
Fresh and Refurbished Features Making Their Way to Microsoft Teams
That means several new Microsoft Teams features designed to streamline IT admin are on the way to the platform, and the Teams meeting experience should evolve to a more seamless one, with features like enhanced voice isolation in Microsoft Teams meetings getting a facelift. The revamped Microsoft Teams feature will better suppress other people's voices in the background during Teams calls so it focuses on the primary speaker. Irwin Lazar, president and principal analyst at research firm Metrigy, told Channel Futures the capability is a game-changer, stating, "the other generative AI capabilities from competitors that I've seen treat everyone in the room as one speaker.'According to Lazar, internal Metrigy data show what he dubbed "higher deployment/management costs for Teams Rooms versus competitors." He contends that the management and deployment enhancements announced today, and the lower-cost room options, should help address that notion.Private lines will become generally available, with a feature that lets users access a 'private' second line where they can make calls to select contacts, bypassing admins or assistants. "Inbound calls to private lines get distinguished by a unique ringtone and notification," Microsoft wrote.And then there was protected voicemail, which sends out notifications for protected voicemails in the calls app in Teams that appears with a link so users can access voicemails securely in the Outlook web app, a new Microsoft Teams feature now generally available - according to Microsoft.
Copilot Is Where the Partner Demand Resides
Sippio's Steve Forcum
Steve Forcum serves as director of program management at Sippio, and he told Channel Futures that Microsoft's AI tool, Copilot — a feature that became generally available Nov. 1 and costs $30 per user per month — is where the opportunity resides for channel partners.
Forcum said that, in his experience, channel partners typically view Teams as an obstacle and not an opportunity when selling UCaaS. He contends that Microsoft Temas presents a lot of opportunity in the Teams Phone arena, with adoption having experienced 45% year-over-year growth.
"Now, with the launch of Copilot and other new features, Microsoft is further fueling the fire and organizations understand that these new capabilities enhance productivity for their end-customers, which, in turn, continues to create inbound demand for partners to help customers transition from legacy phone systems to Teams Phone," Forcum concluded.
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