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Microsoft Teams gets breakout rooms, custom layouts and virtual commutes – TechCrunch

Unsurprisingly, Groups has change into a serious focus for Microsoft throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and so it’s no shock that the corporate is utilizing its annual Ignite IT convention to announce a lot of new options for the providers.

Immediately’s bulletins comply with the launch of options like Together Mode and dynamic view earlier this summer time.

Collectively Mode, which places cutouts of assembly members in several settings, is getting a little bit of an replace at this time with the launch of latest scenes: auditoriums, espresso retailers and convention rooms. Like earlier than, the presenter chooses the scene, however what’s new now’s that Microsoft can be now utilizing machine studying to make sure that members are routinely centered of their digital chairs, making the entire scene look just a bit bit extra pure (and regardless of what Microsoft’s analysis exhibits, I can by no means assist however assume that this all appears a bit goofy, possibly as a result of it jogs my memory of the opening credit of the Muppet Show).

Picture Credit: Microsoft

Additionally new in Groups is customized layouts, which permit presenters to customise how their displays — and their very own video feeds — seem. With this, a presenter can superimpose her personal video picture over the presentation, for instance.

Microsoft Teams Custom layouts presenter at forefront Under embargo until Sep. 22 at 8am PT

Picture Credit: Microsoft

Breakout rooms, a characteristic that’s getting loads of use in Zoom today, is now additionally coming to Groups. Microsoft calls it essentially the most requested characteristic in Groups and like in comparable merchandise, it additionally assembly organizers to separate members into smaller teams — and the assembly organizer can then go from room to room. Unsurprisingly, this characteristic is very common with academics, although corporations, too, typically use it to facilitate brainstorming periods, for instance.

3 GIF Breakout meeting rooms Under embargo until Sep. 22 at 8am PT

Picture Credit: Microsoft

After exhausting all of your brainstorming energy in these breakout rooms and ending up your assembly, Groups can now additionally ship you an computerized recap of a gathering that features a recording, transcript, shared recordsdata and extra. These recaps will routinely seem in your Outlook calendar. Sooner or later, Microsoft can even allow the power to routinely retailer these recordings on SharePoint.

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For corporations that repeatedly host massive conferences, Microsoft will launch assist for as much as 1,000 members within the close to future. Attendees in these conferences will get the complete Groups expertise, Microsoft guarantees. Later, Microsoft can even allow view-only conferences for as much as 20,000 members. Each of those options will change into out there as a part of a brand new ‘Superior Communications’ plan, which might be no shock, given how a lot bandwidth and compute energy it is going to probably take to handle a 1,000-person conferences.

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Picture Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft additionally made two {hardware} bulletins associated to Staff at this time. The primary is the launch of what it calls ‘Microsoft Groups panels,’ that are primarily small tablets that companies can put exterior of their assembly rooms for wayfinding. One cool characteristic right here — particularly as enterprise begin planning their post-pandemic workplace technique — is that these units will be capable of use info from the cameras within the room to rely how many individuals are attending a gathering in particular person after which present remaining room capability, for instance.

The corporate additionally at this time introduced that the enormous Floor Hub 2S 85-inch mannequin shall be out there in January 2021.

And there may be extra. Microsoft can be launching new Groups options for front-line staff to assist schedule shifts, alert staff when they’re utilizing Groups off-shift and reward badges that allow organizations to acknowledge staff (although these staff would most likely choose laborious money over a digital badge).

Additionally new is an integration between Groups and RealWear head-mounted devices for distant collaboration and a brand new Walkie Talkie app for Android.

And since digital badges aren’t often sufficient to enhance worker wellbeing, Microsoft can be including a brand new set of wellbeing options to Groups. These present customers with customized suggestions to assist change habits and enhance wellbeing and productiveness.

HERO IMAGE Virtual Commute Start Under embargo until Sep. 22 at 8am PT

Picture Credit: Microsoft

That features a new ‘digital commute’ characteristic that features an integration with Headspace and an emotional check-in expertise.

I’ve all the time been a fan of brief and manageable commutes for getting a ways between work and residential, however that’s not precisely a factor proper now. Possibly Headspace works for example, however there’s solely a lot Andy Puddicombe I can take. Nonetheless, I believe I’ll hold my emotional check-ins to myself, although Microsoft clearly notes that it’s going to hold all of that info personal.

And whereas companies now care about your emotional wellbeing (as a result of it’s carefully associated to your productiveness), managers largely care concerning the wor you get completed. For them, Office Analytics is coming to Groups, giving “managers line of sight into teamwork norms like after-hours collaboration, focus time, assembly effectiveness, and cross-company connections. These will then be in comparison with averages amongst comparable groups to offer managers with actionable insights.”

If that doesn’t make your supervisor completely happy, what is going to? Possibly a digital reward badge?

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Frederic Lardinois