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Now entering the chat . . . Microsoft Teams 2.0

Since it first launched in 2017, Microsoft Teams has grown to become the dominating force in workplace collaboration tools. 270 million users now use Teams each day, a staggering increase from the 140 million users recorded last year. The rise in popularity is not only impressive. It’s driven a significant shift in Microsoft’s thinking, and its future plans for the workplace app.

What was once seen as a useful communication tool included as part of Microsoft 365, is now seen as a critical “organising layer” and an area where Microsoft see exciting opportunities for growth and innovation. It’s no surprise then that efforts are continually made to refine the platform – adding new functionality and enhancing the experience. But while small updates to the original Teams have been added little and often, more fundamental changes have had to sit on the back burner until such time as Microsoft was able to undertake a bigger overhaul.

This has been delayed, in part, because of the increased popularity of Teams. As more people began to rely on the platform each day, there was an increased need for immediate improvements and fixes, which couldn’t wait for a larger rollout. But now the time for a refresh has come. Microsoft Teams 2.0 is entering the chat . . .

What is Teams 2.0?

Teams 2.0 is a reimagined version of Teams and represents the culmination of several years of development and fine-tuning for Microsoft. It’s a significant investment, but one that evidences Microsoft’s commitment to making Teams a central part of the workplace experience.

They’ve listened to user feedback and have taken the time to understand the main issues that are currently impacting user experience. This new chapter promises to be faster, simpler, flexible and smarter, but what does this mean for you?

1. Quick off the mark

Teams 2.0 is fast. Really fast. The app will now launch 2x faster, will let you join meetings 2x faster and is also 3x faster to download. Crucially, this faster experience doesn’t compromise performance, as this new version of Teams also consumes up to 50% less memory and up to 70% less disk space. There’s also the ability to instantly switch between chats, channels and activities which reduces the wait and load time, helping your people collaborate faster and be more productive.

This video released by Microsoft compares the launch times of the current version of Teams against the updated version.

2. A simplified experience

Microsoft has always prided itself on user experience (UX) and making its applications as easy and intuitive as possible. But while they might argue that current version of Teams is not complicated to orchestrate, Teams 2.0 delivers a streamlined yet advanced experience.

In the classic version of Teams, new posts and comments would appear from the bottom up. This created confusion with notifications looking like chats but behaving like threads. In response, Microsoft has modified the notification styling adopted by the latest version of Teams so that new posts are sent and received from the top of the screen. This makes it easier to stay on top of notifications and navigate across apps having to constantly switch between screens.

Alongside the new version of Teams, Microsoft Loop has also been released for public preview, helping to sync components such as lists, tables and notes from other apps that everyone can contribute to and consolidating relevant information in one place. This avoids the need to leave specific apps, creating a more joined-up and seamless experience.

The presenting experience during video calls has also been given some attention with enhanced stage and presenter views that give greater visibility of other attendees while presenting on calls. There’s also simplified meeting access, with the ability for participants to join virtual B2C appointments from any device without needing to join Teams.

3. Flexible transitions

While Teams is typically used internally, there are many instances where third-party contributors (such as those from partner agencies or suppliers) are also provided with a level of access to collaborate. With the current version of Teams, users operating across multiple tenants must sign into individual accounts as needed and operate within the confines of organisation-specific clients, but this will soon be a thing of the past. With Teams 2.0, you can now switch from one organisation to the other within a single account, eliminating accessibility obstacles and giving busy users the freedom to jump between multiple workstreams at speed. You can also receive real-time notifications across accounts and respond to chats and updates without having to leave calls taking place on other accounts.

4. Easier to manage and deploy

To support a faster rollout of Teams 2.0, IT teams can now leverage platforms such as Microsoft InTune to assist with deployment across client devices. This cloud-based endpoint management solution makes for easier app and device management across diverse corporate technology estates and elevates protection with the enforcement of a zero trust security model.

As a management application tool that already supports the deployment of MSIX applications to client devices, the new Teams app can be reliably deployed with reduced network usage, disk space and idle memory usage.

5. AI-powered intelligence

Microsoft is looking to bring new levels of AI-powered capability to Teams to help further streamline the user experience. This includes new features such as ‘intelligent recap’, a comprehensive AI-powered meeting recap experience that helps users catch up from long meetings in the space of minutes with a recording and transcription playback. There’s also Copilot for Teams, an AI powered system that combines large language models with your data in the Microsoft graph and 365 apps. Working alongside the new Business Chat features, Copilot helps you work faster and smarter with prompts and suggestions that kick-start your creativity.

What’s next?

It might have been a few years in the making, but there’s no doubt that Teams 2.0 is an exciting next step on the collaboration journey for Microsoft. New features and enhancements promise to help users collaborate and innovate with ease, with the familiarity of tools they are already accustomed to using every day.  Currently in preview, you can check out the latest features

If you want to know more about any of these new features, need support with accessing the current public preview, or want to know how these new features could help to support your business, speak with a member of our team.