Microsoft’s star pandemic product Teams has gained new features across meetings, calling, devices, chat, collaboration and more during the past month. Here’s what’s new.
Teams now supports third-party CART (Communication Access Realtime Translation) providers within the same window instead of a secondary one, Microsoft announced in its November Teams update.
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CART, or real-time captioning, is an accessibility feature to support people with hearing difficulties, but is also useful for everyone participating in an online video meeting. This should streamline the experience for people who use a CART captioner. It’s also available for Microsoft’s government (GCC) customers.
Microsoft uses the speech-to-text transcription for Teams, but it does require scheduling a meeting through Outlook and then manually starting the transcription service from within the desktop Teams client.
Meeting organizers and participants can enable CART captions from their meeting options, according to Microsoft.
It’s also added a ‘content from camera’ feature in Teams that lets users capture and share content from physical whiteboards and documents during meetings. This can be done from a laptop’s camera, a USB webcam, or a document camera.
It borrows from a similar feature in Microsoft Teams Rooms and will detect, crop, and frame the snap while for video sharing. It can also make people standing in front of the image transparent for better sharing.
Microsoft has added Word cloud for polls in Teams, allowing users to collect responses for an open text poll in a Teams meeting. Meeting organizers have a summary of the top answers.
On the calling side of Teams, admins can now choose which music is played to callers on traditional PSTN lines that are on hold. Admins need to upload an audio file. They cal also route incoming PSTN calls to unassigned phone numbers and park up to 9,999 calls.
Microsoft has improved remote sign-out from Teams on the app for Android devices. It helps admins provision and remotely sign out devices from the admin center.
It’s also certified the AudioCodes C455HD IP desk phone for Teams and the Yealink UVC86 with a built-in dual-eye 4K camera.
This month, Microsoft brought its Loop project management app to Teams for Microsoft 365 commercial customers. It lets users send tables, tasks lists and paragraphs to others in a chat, which can be edited inline and seen in real-time.
Teams users may have also noticed a new search results page with what Microsoft claims will deliver better context and faster results by using its AI algorithms to improve relevance based on relationships across all Microsoft 365 applications.
For admins and developers, there are also updates for Microsoft’s low-code Power Platform, including new interfaces in the Teams Client developer kit, and Teams Connect now offers better support for third-party and custom tab apps.
For those in education, teachers can now include links to content from other learning tools in a Teams assignment. There’s also a new whiteboard integration for assignments and Microsoft’s digital assistant Cortana in Teams is available in more non-US but English-speaking markets, including the UK, India, Canada, and Australia.