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Microsoft Teams: News From Ignite Fall 2021 Conference
Joel Rollins

Microsoft Teams: News From Ignite Fall 2021 Conference

At this years Ignite Fall 2021 conference, Microsoft introduced a number of features and enhancements coming to the Microsoft Teams platform.
Microsoft Mesh for Microsoft Teams
Mesh for Microsoft Teams introduces a new generation of 2D and 3D meeting experiences with personalized avatars and immersive spaces to bridge the gap between physical and digital worlds. With personalized avatars, you can feel presence in meetings without turning on cameras. Users can make conversations interactive and express themselves using live reactions through avatars. Organizations now can use immersive spaces that resemble physical spaces, such as conference rooms, design centers and networking lounges to enhance camaraderie, spark creativity and foster water-cooler connections. Users can seamlessly leverage their existing documents, presentations, and content from Microsoft 365 and share and collaborate using this content spatially. Mesh enabled experiences in Teams provide users more flexibility and choice in how they connect, create, and collaborate. These experiences will be available in preview as part of Teams on PC, mobile and through mixed-reality headsets in the first half of 2022.

New user experience features in Microsoft Teams meetings
Microsoft is bringing new updates to the Teams meeting experience to encourage more inclusive and productive hybrid meetings. All updates will be available in early 2022.
  • Help your team set expectations before the meeting kicks off by assigning roles from the scheduling form, allowing participants to feel prepared. Also, you can ensure that all voices are heard by seeing the order of raised hands in a meeting.
  • Through mute notifications and pin or hide your own video features, Teams can better help you focus on your goals.
  • As mobile device use is becoming more common in meetings, Teams looks to ensure that everyone can participate on a level playing field. Microsoft is updating the menu to prioritize key actions like viewing chat. Also, Microsoft is adding a notification drawer for in-meeting system messages, so users can preview, collapse and clear all notifications with one tap.


New webinar and broadcasting capabilities
New webinar and broadcasting capabilities in Microsoft Teams make it easy to set up and deliver professional, engaging experiences to internal and external audiences. The new capabilities include:
  • A virtual green room enables organizers and presenters to socialize, monitor chat and Q&A, manage attendee settings and share content before the event starts. This provides a private space, separate from attendees, to talk live and prep in the pre-live phase. While attendees wait, they are greeted with a welcome screen, and they can use chat to engage or pose questions with the Q&A experience. This feature will be available in preview in early 2022.
  • Enable organizers and presenters to manage what attendees see, and easily minimize distractions and keep the audience engaged during an event. This ensures that attendees will only see shared content and participants that are brought on screen. This feature will be available in preview in early 2022.
  • The co-organizer feature enables you to assign up to 10 co-organizers for webinars and meetings. The co-organizer will have the same capabilities and permissions as the organizer, enabling them to do multiple tasks such as manage meeting options, create polls, and control audio settings. To assign co-organizers, select meeting options, find ‘choose co-organizer’, and specify which participants from the meeting invite should be designated as a co-organizer. This feature will be available by the end of the year.
  • The new Q&A experience enables more structure for both open and moderated meetings and webinars. Organizers and presenters can mark best answers, filter responses, moderate and dismiss questions, and pin posts such as a welcome message. To enable Q&A, simply add the app during the scheduling process, by selecting the ‘+’ to add a tab in the invite and adding Q&A. The Q&A experience for webinars and meetings will be available in public preview in November.
  • Broadcasters will be able to create a high quality, clean audio mix with our new isolated audio feed capabilities in Microsoft Teams. As broadcasters use NDI or hardware-out, they will be able to get the isolated audio feed along with the isolated video feed from any Teams meeting. Now with isolated audio, broadcasters will have full control of both the audio and video feeds going into their studio. This capability is enabled within the meeting settings. This feature will be available in preview in November.
Shared Channels and Chat with Teams
Microsoft Teams offers secure solutions to collaborate with external parties, and with Teams Connect we are making it even easier to work with anyone outside your organization, while giving system admins a range of controls and tools to ensure security. Teams Connect will be in public preview in the first quarter of 2022.
  • Shared channels are a scalable boundaryless experience, which can be shared with individuals and teams across multiple organizations. With the new enhancements coming to the private preview, you will be able to schedule a meeting, collaborate in real-time on apps, and share channels with up to 50 teams and as many organizations as you need. Available in public preview in the first quarter of 2022.
  • Teams will enable you to chat with team members with a Teams personal account who are outside your organization. You can invite any Teams user to chat using a personal email address or phone number and remain within the security and compliance policies of your organization. Available by the end of 2021.

New chat, people and presence features
The hybrid workplace brings a lot of flexibility, but it can also create new challenges, like getting your personality to shine in the virtual environment, maintaining work-life balance, and being productive. These new asynchronous capabilities will be rolling out between now and early 2022.
  • Chat with self is a safe place for writing drafts, such as quick ideas and reminders on mobile – helping you stay organized and avoid sending incomplete messages accidentally.
  • Chat density feature lets you customize the number of chat messages you see on the screen with different settings. Compact setting lets you minimize the need to scroll up and down by fitting 50% more messages on the screen. Comfortable setting keeps the chat display as it is in Teams today.
  • Delay delivery of messages enables you to select a specific time to send a message. Like delay delivery in outlook, you will be able to send out chat message in a time that is convenient to you, and the message will arrive to its destination at the time you scheduled.
  • Stay on top of your information using the new search results UI in Teams. Filter results and toggle between tabs to find the information you need.

For all this and more, please visit Microsoft’s blog post.