The Most Notable Microsoft Teams Announcements of 2020 (through Oct)
The later part of 2020 has seen a flurry of updates, previews and announced roadmap items for Microsoft Teams. Let us look at the announcements that are likely to have the most impact.
HealthCare: Virtual Rounding and Care Coordination
2020 has been a stressful time for health care professional across the globe. From exposure risks to PPE shortages, healthcare providers are turning to technology to provide solutions. Microsoft has answered this call by announcing Virtual Rounding and Care Coordination.
Virtual rounding, a Teams app that aims to reduce exposure while health care professionals do their daily checkups on their patients. The goal is to limit contact to infected or vulnerable patients by leveraging portable carts equipped with video screen, mics, camera’s, and speakers. This allows healthcare professionals to maintain distancing when physical presence is not needed for diagnostics or treatment.
Care Coordination, which began its private preview October 1st, allows healthcare to aggregate patient data, provide care plans and test results and communicate with each other regardless of physical location all in a HIPAA compliant platform. The introduction of Teams for care coordination aims to improve efficiency while minimizing exposure.
SharePoint home sites for Teams
The SharePoint home site experience announced in 2019 allows organization to create a new or migrate their existing intranet sites to SharePoint. With the increasing ability to embed your organizations apps and resources into Microsoft Teams many organizations are hoping Teams will be come the single pane of glass for all needs.
So why create a home site to serve as your organizations intranet if it will detract from all the work you have done in teams?
Enter the SharePoint home site app for Teams. This home site app allows you to deploy your intranet home site through the Teams client.
The announcement came to us in September 2020 and we are eagerly awaiting release details.
Teams Breakout Rooms
Many in person conferences and events will include a keynote or introduction meeting that all attendees are present for before breaking into smaller groups for more granular content. Recreating this experience virtually has proven difficult. Microsoft Teams breakout rooms hopes to simplify this experience.
Teams Breakout Rooms will allow meeting organizer to split attendees into smaller groups and bring everyone back together without the need to drop and rejoin multiple meetings.
The announcement for Teams breakout rooms came to us in July and we hope to see previews or general availability before the end of 2020.
Advanced Communication Add-on
2020 has seen an interesting race to provide more attendees, more features, and more video feeds between collaboration platforms. The majority of normally in person conferences, large presentations and even college orientations have been converted to virtual events. 2020 more than ever has created a need for very large virtual events.
Microsoft’s answer to this need is the advanced communications add-on. At release, the advance communication add-on increased the maximum attendees for Teams live events to 20,000.
Features coming later this year include:
- Teams meeting maximum members increase to 1,000
- The ability for a Teams meeting to have up 20,000 overflow participants in a view only meeting experience
- Custom Lobby Branding
To take advantage of these features, the organizer of the meeting/live event will need the advanced communication add-on currently priced at $12 per user/month. Attendees DO NOT need the add-on. There is also a 60-day trial available through the admin center.
Considering this new and not quite yet saturated market, I would expect to see more feature announcements coming soon.
Custom Meeting Layouts
If you are looking to make a good impression on clients or impress you coworkers with your big presentation, Microsoft may have given you a secret weapon. Teams custom meeting layouts allow you, the presenter to customize what attendees are seeing. Microsoft Ignite gave us a preview of new tech allowing you to overlay the presenter on a PowerPoint slide. Who knows, maybe someday virtual meetings may look more professional than traditional in-person meetings with half the effort!