Microsoft Teams already feels like an established member of the family. What’s amazing is that it’s only a year old. It’s not even a toddler yet! Despite this fact, it is already being used by 200k organisations and was the awarded the prestigious Best of Enterprise Connect Award this week. To win such a prestigious accolade with a product so new, is unheard of. This really demonstrates how critical to Microsoft’s new vision of the world Teams is. If Slack wasn’t worried before, they should be now.
Teams, and chat-based collaboration in general, is an incredibly interesting space. As WhatsApp continues to take over almost all communication within the consumer space, so too will chat-based applications start to dominate in the enterprise space. Chat, however, is just one part of the equation. What is interesting is the central role Microsoft is lining up for Teams within the wider Office 365 world. Teams will, in effect, become the front door to everything users want to do with the Microsoft Cloud. As more and more bots come online, and more and more integrations are launched, users may get to a point where they rarely need to leave the Teams client to get their work done.
Microsoft also has a huge amount on the roadmap for Teams. Today, this is mainly focussed on replicating the capabilities available within Skype for Business, but there is much more to come beyond this. The list of upcoming features is as follows:
Cloud recording: Team will automatically record, time-stamp and transcribe the recording, providing captions and a searchable transcript of the meeting
Facial recognition: in the "future," Microsoft said, remarks will be attributed to the participants using facial recognition.
Inline message translation: Using the automatic translation features in Skype that Microsoft has shown off previously, meeting participants will be able to have their remarks automatically transcribed and translated.
Background blurring: Do you work in a home office and hope to avoid this adorable BBC blunder? Teams will automatically blur the background, Microsoft said.
Mobile sharing: If you're attending a meeting while stuck in a taxi, you'll be able to see and share a live video from your mobile device.
Cortana integration: Not surprisingly, Cortana will be integrated. The benefit here will be that Cortana will set things up for you, rather than forcing you to handle the configuration and scheduling.
Proximity detection: If a Skype room service is nearby, you'll be able to add it.
Deep hardware support: A lengthy list of room systems (the Logitech SmartDock, Crestron SR, and Polycom MSR, among others) will support Teams natively, along with room phones (the Crestron Mercury, Polycom Trio and Yealink CP960) and personal devices (AudioCodes C450HD).
Direct routing: An enterprise-grade calling feature called Direct Routing will turn Teams into a full voice service.
If you haven’t started using Teams at your organisation, do so. Once you’ve experienced what it’s capable of, start to think about how it could help your customers collaborate and communicate more effectively. If you’re not talking to your customers about Teams, rest assured one of your competitors is!