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News from and about MadWolf Technologies
Joel Rollins

Microsoft Teams - Reimaging Virtual Collaboration

To help customers streamline their work experience while transitioning from remote everything to a more hybrid model of work, Microsoft has announced a new set of features for Microsoft Teams to make virtual interactions more natural.

Together mode – With the huge increase of virtual meetings that people are participating in, Microsoft’s research has shown that many feel more disconnected than ever and are experiencing more fatigue during video meetings.  Together mode is a new meeting experience in Teams that uses AI to digitally  place participants in a shared background, making it feel like you’re sitting in the same room.

Dynamic view – This view is meant to be used for more traditional meetings.  Dynamic view also uses AI to give the user more control over how they see shared content and other participants in a meeting.  New controls let the user personalize the view to suit their preferences and needs.  Dynamic view builds on the enhancements introduced last month, including large gallery view (up to 49 people in a meeting simultaneously) and virtual breakout rooms (allows meeting organizers to split meeting participants into smaller groups for things like brainstorming sessions or workgroup discussions).
Dynamic View

Large gallery  view

Video filters – We are all familiar to video filters that are used in photography apps, now they are coming to Teams.  Before joining a meeting, you can use the filters to subtly adjust lighting levels and soften the focus of the camera to customize your appearance

Live reactions - To make Teams meetings more inclusive, engaging and effective, Microsoft will be introducing Live Reactions.  Non-verbal cues like smiles and head nods can be difficult to notice in online meetings (reading the room), making it harder for presenters to gauge reactions.  So, soon, you will be able to react during meetings using emojis that will appear to all participants.

Chat Bubbles - During meetings, chat has become a space for conversation and idea-sharing, and offers an option for people to participate in the discussion without having to jump in verbally. But it can be challenging to pay attention to video feeds, presentations, and chats all at the same time. Currently, Teams users need to manually open a chat window to view the chat screen. Soon, however, chats sent during a Teams meeting will surface on the screens of all meeting participants, making the chat more central to the conversation.

Speaker attribution for live captions and transcripts -  While Teams already provides live captions as a way to follow along with what is being said in a meeting, soon Microsoft will add speaker attribution to captions so that everyone knows who is speaking. Live transcripts, coming later this year, provide another way to follow along with what has been said and who said it. After a meeting, the transcript file is automatically saved in a tab as a part of the meeting.
LiveCaptions1.gif with speaker attribution

Microsoft Whiteboard updates for Teams - Whiteboard in Teams will soon be updated with new features including faster load times, sticky notes, text, and drag and drop capabilities. These features enable team members who don’t have access to a touchscreen or Surface Hub to participate in whiteboarding sessions during Teams meetings.

Tasks app and Teams -   The Tasks app in Teams, that is rolling out this month, provides a new unified view of tasks from across Microsoft To Do, Planner, and Outlook. Smart lists like “Assigned to me” bring tasks together across different shared plans, whether you’re on desktop, web, or mobile. Add Tasks as a tab in a channel and get your familiar Planner tab experience with the new list view.

Cortana in Teams - Coming soon to the Teams mobile app, Cortana uses AI and the Microsoft Graph to provide voice assistance in Teams. To stay connected to your team, you can ask Cortana to make a call, join a meeting, send chat messages, share files, and more. These voice assistance experiences are delivered using Cortana enterprise-grade services that meet Microsoft 365 privacy, security, and compliance commitments. Cortana will be available in the Teams mobile app on iOS and Android in the coming weeks for Microsoft 365 Enterprise users in the U.S. in English.


Microsoft Teams displays – To help users setup more effective home offices, Microsoft is introducing Microsoft Teams display, a new category of all-in-one dedicated Teams devices that feature an ambient touchscreen and a hands-free experience powered by Cortana. With natural language, users can ask Cortana to join and present in meetings, dictate replies to a Teams chat, and more. These devices seamlessly integrate with your PC, providing easy access to Teams chat, meetings, calling, calendar, and files. And with a camera shutter and microphone mute switch, your conversations stay private. The Lenovo ThinkSmart View will be the first Microsoft Teams display to market, and Yealink will deliver one of the first devices in this category too. Microsoft Teams displays with Cortana will be available in the U.S. starting later this year.


Touchless meeting experiences - As some people begin to return to their worksites, touchless meeting experiences in shared spaces are more relevant than ever. Today, Teams enables people to join meetings and share content to meeting room devices from their own mobile device or PC. These capabilities are being developed with a new room remote in the Teams mobile app, which will provide additional meeting controls such as the ability to leave the meeting, mute and unmute the room, adjust audio volume, and turn cameras on and off.
Beginning later this year, voice assistance will be enabled for Microsoft Teams Room devices, allowing in-room participants to ask Cortana to join and leave a meeting, add a participant from the address book to a meeting using their name or phone number, and more. Microsoft is also introducing the ability to wirelessly cast to any Teams Room, collaboration bar, or Surface Hub device, enabling seamless ad-hoc in-person collaboration for people in a shared space.