Microsoft Teams is getting all these new hybrid working features

Microsoft announced a bunch of new features for Teams and cross-app collaboration features that it says will be useful for hybrid working.

As ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley reported at Microsoft’s Inspire conference this week, Office Excel is getting Excel Live functionality for real-time collaboration on Excel content within a Teams meeting. Excel Live joins PowerPoint Live for Teams and there should be more live collaboration features on other Microsoft software, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft also said it’s bringing video clip functionality to Teams Chat so users can save and share short clips.

Teams Connect, an intra- and inter-organizational collaboration feature for Teams channels, will be generally available this month. This provides a shared space so users from different organizations don’t need to switch tenants to collaborate on channels. This is useful for joint ventures and large companies with subsidiaries or recently merged organizations.

Microsoft details many improvements since the preview of shared channels in March. It increased the number of channels from 50 to 200, with 200 standard channels, 30 private, and 200 shared channels shared per team.

It’s also about improved app-building tools for shared channels, now allowing rich messaging to external users so GIFs and emojis can be sent. Administrators also benefit from better reporting on user activity.

For those using Teams for webinars as part of the hybrid mix for tasks like training or customer meetings, Microsoft has rolled out a new webinar management experience with additional custom options. There is a public preview scheduled for August.

When configuring a webinar, the user can define it as an internal or external webinar. Users can add additional presenters and designate up to 10 co-hosts who can help moderate the meeting. Users can post more detailed information about speakers presenting at a webinar, including a speaker’s professional photo, company, title, LinkedIn profile, social media accounts, and brief biography.

Microsoft said a new structured Q&A experience will make it easy for organizers to moderate the conversation and provide attendees with a “seamless” way to ask questions and interact with speakers. Hosts can manage and moderate questions and answers as they come in, and choose which questions to post or which to ignore.

At the other end of Teams, there’s “Chat with yourself” for those who want to store notes or stay organized within Teams. It can be used for drafts and to send files to you.

Microsoft has also integrated LinkedIn with Teams so users can see contact details on LinkedIn from Teams chats, channels, calls, and meetings. This is now generally available.

And as Microsoft announced earlier this month, Teams users can link existing or new chats to their Dynamics 365 records. This reduces the need to switch apps for those using Dynamics 365 as a sales tool. . It is now in public preview and will be generally available soon.

Microsoft is also promoting its Live Share concept as one of its collaboration features. It is geared more towards app developers and is built with Microsoft’s Fluid Framework. Live Share was announced in May as a tool that lets apps go beyond simple screen sharing to more immersive collaboration. It’s been in preview ever since, and today says it allows “developers to make any app collaborative within the Teams meeting stage.”

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