Microsoft Teams - New Features in 2021

1. Meetings

New Together mode scenes: Together mode reimagines meeting experiences to help participants feel closer together even when you are apart. With new Together mode scenes coming to this calendar year, you can transport your team to a variety of settings that can help set the tone and create the experience for your meeting, whether it be an auditorium, a conference room, or a coffee shop. 

Custom layouts: Coming later this year, custom layouts allow for a more dynamic content viewing experience and enable presenters to customize how content shows up for participants during a meeting. For example, when a presenter is showing a PowerPoint slide, participants will be able to see the presenter’s video feed transposed onto the foreground of the slide they’re showing. 

Breakout rooms: Coming in October, breakout rooms will allow meeting organizers to split up meeting participants into smaller groups to facilitate brainstorming sessions or workgroup discussions. Presenters can choose to hop between breakout rooms, make announcements to all breakout rooms, and/or close the breakout rooms that then bring everybody back into the main meeting. 

Meeting Recap: Meeting recaps help teams stay on track and keep work moving forward after a meeting for both participants and for those who were unable to attend a meeting. Coming this year, a recap with the meeting recording, transcript, chat, shared files and more will be automatically shared in the meeting Chat tab and viewable in the Details tab for each meeting. The recap will also be available in the meeting event in your Outlook calendar. 

Webinar registration and reporting: For more structured meetings, such as customer webinars, meeting organizers can use event registration with automated emails to make it easier to manage attendance. And after the meeting, view a detailed reporting dashboard that will help understand attendee engagement. These new features are expected to begin to roll out by end of the year. 

2. Meeting room experiences ​

Microsoft Teams Rooms experience on Android: Earlier in 2020, Microsoft launched collaboration bars for Microsoft Teams, a video-first conferencing solution built on Android. We’re now simplifying our portfolio of Teams devices for shared spaces by bringing collaboration bars into the Teams Rooms product family. By aligning both Windows and Android platforms within the Teams Rooms, we can deliver a robust feature set across both operating systems. As we continue to evolve and expand the features available on the Android platform, our partners are also developing new form factors that go beyond the single, integrated bar. 

Touchless meeting experiences: To help our customers navigate this new, hybrid working environment we recently announced touchless meetings experiences coming later this year including Room remote for Microsoft Teams Rooms, Support for Teams casting for Surface Hub and Microsoft Teams Rooms, Proximity Join on Surface Hub, and Cortana voice assistance for Microsoft Teams Rooms on Windows. 

Meeting room capacity notifications: Using data from meeting room cameras equipped with people-counting technology, this upcoming feature for Microsoft Teams Rooms on Windows alerts in-room meeting participants if the room is over capacity based on capacity data defined by the IT administrator. This helps organizations remind users of room capacities and social distancing practices. 

Microsoft Teams Panels: This new category of devices can be mounted outside a meeting space to streamline space management, providing users with the ability to view space and meeting details, reserve space, view upcoming reservations and easily identify current availability status. Users can also view the building floor plan and book another room using the “Nearby Rooms” feature. Teams panels will be available early next year from our first partners, Crestron and Yealink. 

Deploy two Microsoft Teams Rooms at no additional chargeTo help you get started with transforming your meetings rooms, Microsoft, with support from specialized meeting room partners, can help to qualify customers to deploy two Microsoft Teams Rooms at no additional charge.  

Microsoft Teams Rooms soon to be part of FastTrack: Teams Rooms will be added to the FastTrack benefit, where qualified customers can get remote guided assistance on select rooms at no additional charge. 

3. Calling

New Calling experience: Coming later this year, we are simplifying the calling experience with a streamlineview that shows contacts, voicemail, and calling history at once, making it easier to initiate or return a call with a single click. 

Collaborative calling: Collaborative calling enables customers to connect a call queue to a channel in Teams. Users can collaborate and share information in the channel while taking calls in the queue. This feature is ideal for scenarios such as an IT help desk or HR hotline. IT admins can quickly connect call queues to specific channels, and team owners can manage the settings. 

New Calling Plan countries: Microsoft Teams expanded the number of Microsoft Calling Plan countries. New countries will include Austria, Denmark, Italy, Portugal, Sweden, and Switzerland. 

4. Chat and collaboration

Teams templates: Teams templates, now generally available, help your team get started faster and be more effective. Choose from common business scenarios, such as event management or crisis response, and industry-specific templates, like a hospital ward or bank branch. Each template comes with pre-defined channels, apps, and guidance. Administrators can also create custom templates for your organization, helping you standardize team structures, reveal relevant apps, and scale best practices. 

Info pane, pinned posts, and new conversation button in channelsAvailable now, the channel info pane provides an at-a-glance summary of active members, important posts pinned by members, and other relevant information in each channel. This is great for new members getting up to speed or existing members who want to stay in the know. We’re also making creating new channel conversations versus replying to existing ones more intuitive with the new conversation button. 

New Search results experience: A new search experience in Teams, powered by Microsoft Search and available late this year, will make finding messages, people, answers, and files faster and more intuitive. This redesigned search results page provides better context and faster results, with AI-powered relevance based on the people and content you engage with most in Teams and other Microsoft 365 services. 

25K member teams: While there isn’t a limit on the number of people in a Teams tenant, team membership is currently limited to 10,000 members. Later this year Microsoft Teams shall increase this to support up to 25,000 members per individual team. 

Microsoft Lists in Teams: This month we announced the general availability of the Lists app in Teams for all our commercial and government community cloud customers. Microsoft Lists help track information and organize work. Lists are simple, smart, and flexible, and help teams stay on top of what matters most. And now users can create a list directly in Teams as a channel tab.