tech

Microsoft Build 2020: Everything new coming to Teams

  • From templates to chatbots and additions to the Shift app, Microsoft has added some useful features to Microsoft Teams

The role Microsoft Teams plays has become all the more important over the current pandemic.
The role Microsoft Teams plays has become all the more important over the current pandemic. (Microsoft )

Microsoft just kicked off Build 2020 and over the next two days will be announcing a host of new features and capabilities that will be coming to Microsoft Teams, Fluid Framework, Project Cortex, Outlook and Edge. 

“They represent the latest innovations in our ongoing effort to build tools that enable our customers to stay connected and productive from everywhere,” said Microsoft.

We’ll be getting you separate reports on all the new features that have come to Microsoft Edge and Outlook, but for now, here’s what’s new in Microsoft Teams.

Teams is the hub for teamwork, combining meetings, calls, chat, and collaboration into a single tool that preserves context and keeps everyone up to speed. The role Microsoft Teams plays has become all the more important over the current pandemic. The company has announced some more features for Teams to make it work easier.

Create teams quickly with customisable templates

When creating a new team, you’ll soon be able to take your pick from a variety of customisable templates. You can choose from common business scenarios, like event management and crisis response, as well as industry-specific templates, like a hospital ward or bank branch. Each template comes with pre-defined channels, apps, and guidance.

Admins will also be able to create new custom templates and templatise existing teams in their organisation, allowing them to standardise team structures, surface relevant apps, and scale best practices.

Templates in Teams will roll out in the next few months and appear automatically.

Easily create and manage chatbots in Teams

The Power Virtual Agents app will soon be available in the Teams app store, making it easier to create and manage chatbots within Teams. Integrating with Teams is also being made easier. You can just select the bot you want to use and then click “Add to Teams”.

Power Virtual Agents now supports single sign-on, so users will no longer have to re-authenticate when using Teams for the first time.

Quickly add custom apps and automated workflows to Teams

Developers and admins will soon be able to add their custom applications from Power Apps to Teams with a single click of the “Add to Teams” button in Power Apps.

To get started here’s what you need to do - open make.powerapps.com, click on the three dots next to the canvas app you’d like to publish, and select "Add to Teams”. New Power Automate business process templates for Teams will allow creators to streamline workflows using pre-built templates, or use them as a base to customise their own.

There are also new Teams-specific triggers and actions that will enable you to create custom message extensions, automate @mentioning and message posting to channels and customise bot names.

All these features are coming soon.

Easily share Power BI reports in Teams

Power BI users can now share reports, or specific charts in reports, to Teams with the new “Share to Teams” button. Senders can also direct the recipients' attention to a specific chart in a report or share to an entire team.

To get started, select “Send to Teams” from the Power BI portal and type in the team name you’d like to share with.

Meetings and events

Currently, organisations need to connect and collaborate in gatherings large and small, across the world. New Teams capabilities can help you handle this better. In healthcare alone, there were more than 34 million Teams meetings in the past month, including virtual visits.

Schedule virtual appointments via Bookings in Teams

Organisations will now be able to schedule, manage, and conduct business-to-consumer virtual appointments through the new Bookings app integration in Microsoft Teams. With a single scheduling experience, you can manage multiple departments or locations and securely host everything from candidate interviews and student office hours to financial consultations and medical visits.

Broadcast events and create studio productions in Teams

The new Network Device Interface (NDI) support and Skype TX interoperability for Microsoft Teams offers a more advanced set of production options for public or private customised, high-scale broadcasts.

Available from next month, NDI for Teams will transform the feeds of a Teams meeting into a virtual stage by allowing your streaming app or production tool to provide professional broadcast capabilities within Teams.

New interoperability of Teams with Skype TX devices, the devices commonly used in broadcast production today, can help enable production teams to connect in 1:1 calls for interviews and newscasts with professional capabilities including caller queuing and connection quality management.

Secure and remote scheduling

The Shifts app in Microsoft Teams lets Firstline Workers and their managers use mobile devices to manage schedules and keep in touch and Microsoft has added some more features to it.

Extend the Shifts app in Microsoft Teams

New capabilities in the Shifts app extends functionality and enables integration with existing systems. The Graph APIs for Shifts are now generally available, so can you integrate it with any other external workforce management tools, including custom workforce management systems.

And there is also the new Power Automate actions that enable developers to take information from Shifts and create customised workflows with other apps or perform operations at scale.

Finally, new triggers and templates will help support a variety of time saving and process-optimisation scenarios like enabling auto-approvals for shift requests in scenarios where a manager’s approval is not needed.