Microsoft Ignite: What’s New in Teams 2021

At the Microsoft Ignite conference this year, Microsoft showed us how they are adapting Teams to meet the needs of our changing workforce. Teams is being enhanced to allow everyone to present with confidence and collaborate without having to worry about security. The presentation by Nicole Herskowitz, General Manager of Microsoft Teams, was focused around the question, “How do we thrive no matter where we work?” 

New Features Coming to Microsoft Teams 

Dynamic View

Automatically adjusts the Teams meeting experience based on the type of content and participants. Teams personalizes your layout, allowing each user to choose the view that works best for them. 

Together mode

Allows new scenes depending on your meeting type. Some examples we saw at the conference were people that appeared to be sitting at a conference room table or inside an aquarium. 

Presenter mode

Most of us have shared the wrong screen at some point during a presentation (Ugh!). Presenter Mode helps the presenter show up and be your best self. When you have multiple presenters, it makes it easier to switch control of the content. Presenter mode allows you to upgrade from standard sharing and present yourself in front of what you are sharing to provide more dramatic effect.  

Teams and PowerPoint come together

Teams and Powerpoint come together with PowerPoint Live in Teams. It allows you to see everything in one screen including speaker notes, timing, upcoming content, and a view of all of the attendees. It allows you to co-present your presentation without awkward switching. 

Webinars in Microsoft Teams

Engage with your customers using webinars in Microsoft Teams. In the past, you probably needed a different set of applications for webinars, but that is no longer true. Now webinars are easy in Teams. Get participants to engage in your webinar with live reactions that normally only happen when people are in the same room. Get real-time polls and share immediate feedback. You can also use chat or moderated Q&A to facilitate discussions. Moderation controls allow you to minimize any disruptions to your presentation, including letting you disable attendee video and chat. 

Better security

We’ve all heard the stories about people popping into meetings where they don’t belong. With invite-only meeting controls, only invited participants can attend. 

Real-World Examples of Teams Usage

It’s always fun to see real-world examples of how technology is being used and Microsoft didn’t let us down in this presentation. 

The NFL wanted to create virtual game day experiences so fans could participate and celebrate along with their favorite teams without being at a stadium. With Teams, fans are able to celebrate and participate on virtual sidelines as if they were all together. They can show their team the support they deserve. 

CES, the world’s largest technology event, became an all-digital event for the first time in 2020. With over 170,000 attendees worldwide, it showed how Teams can scale – allowing virtual attendees to engage in keynotes, sessions, exhibitor showcases, press conferences, and more. 

Behind the Scenes 

Toward the end of the presentation, we got to go behind the scenes with the Teams marketing group. They’ve been using Teams and learning how they can use it to shape their culture.  

After the pandemic left most people working from home, they worked to re-establish the organization and how they communicate. They started listening tours because they didn’t know how people were doing. They found that people were feeling like there was no work-life balance. This helped the team realize they needed to establish a culture that appreciates people’s boundaries. 

Team building was another goal. They spent time coming up with team building moments online. Some of these included team trivia, a cooking class as a group, and a gingerbread making contest.  

They brought their families (including pets) into their virtual at-home office and showed themselves in Together mode, which made everyone look like they were all sitting in the same room. “We needed to get out of those boxes,” one of the participants said, and Together mode helped them do that. 

At the end of the day, the Microsoft Teams marketing team learned that we don’t have to wait for the pandemic to end to establish new relationships, we can adapt and embrace them now.  

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