Microsoft Teams: Improved meeting controls and presence features

Published: 19 November 2020

Teams now has 115 million daily active users, compared to the 75 million which was reported just 6 months ago.

With this huge increase in users, the roll-out of new features has continued at a rapid pace. So what’s new since our round-up last month? Here are our top 5 picks.

Noise suppression

Competing with Zoom, Microsoft is in the process of rolling out AI-powered noise suppression to reduce background noise in Teams calls and meetings. Designed to filter out barking dogs, clicking mice and other noises associated with daily life, this could be a game-changer for anyone working from home.

Improved meeting controls

A new “mute all” option has been introduced for meeting hosts, which crucially also prevents meeting attendees from unmuting themselves, giving the presenter much greater control over who can speak, and helping to keep meetings on track.

Also worth mentioning is the new “spotlight” feature, which enables meeting hosts to pin an individual’s video feed for all meeting attendees to see, which is ideal for effectively managing a meeting with multiple speakers. 

Live captions

You may have already noticed the live captions option which has been rolled out for meetings in Teams. Building on this, it now also features speaker attribution, making it even easier to keep track of who’s saying what. This is a handy tool to use for fast-paced meetings or if your working environment makes it hard for you to hear or follow along.

Appear offline

If you find that your colleagues still demand your attention on Teams even when your status is set to Busy, or if you sometimes just need to make yourself completely unavailable, this option is for you. A new “Appear Offline” status option has been introduced which still gives you full access to Teams, but prevents anyone from knowing you’re online.

Presence status duration

Another great new presence option in the pipeline is the ability to set a duration for your presence status. So, if you’re heading out on a break or into a meeting and want to change your status, you’ll no longer need to remember to change it back to Available when you’re back at your desk. Simply set the duration for your status and it’ll update automatically for you. This new feature will also be great for blocking off periods of time when you need to work on a particular task which requires close concentration.

More to think about:

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