Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is an intelligent communication software for group collaboration where you can text, hold online meetings, make audio and video calls, and more.

Microsoft introduced Microsoft Teams over a year ago and brought it to Office 365. Three weeks ago was Microsoft Teams’ one-year birthday. However, there are still some Office 365 users who don’t take advantage of the great features of Microsoft Teams, which is included in Office 365. In this article, I’ll look at the features of Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams is positioned as an intelligent communication and in time it is planned that this product will replace Skype for Business, as it has many improvements and additional functionalities. Over time, it is planned to supplement intelligent communication scenarios with AI, Microsoft Graph, Cognitive services, such as voice recognition and translation.

Skype for Business licenses will be transferred to Microsoft Teams and the functionality that was available to license holders under Skype for Business licenses will be included in Microsoft Teams. Skype for Business Server on-premises will be available and a new version, Skype for Business 2019 Server, is planned to be released at the end of 2018.

The Microsoft Teams Roadmap with planned changes can be viewed here: Microsfot Teams Roadmap.

Microsoft Teams is available in Web clients, Mobile clients, and Desktop clients. Web clients currently support the latest versions of Internet Explorer 11, Microsoft Edge, Google Chrome 3 and the three latest versions of Firefox. On the other hand, Microsoft Teams Desktop versions support Windows (7+), both 32-bit and 64-bit versions, and MacOS (10.10+). Mobile clients support Android: 4.4 and above, iOS: 10.0 and above, Windows Phone: Windows 10 Mobile.

Next, I will describe the main functionality and capabilities provided by Microsoft Teams:

1. You cooperate in work or project groups
In the Microsoft Teams tool, you can create working groups that will be available only to the employees you will include in the group, you can assign rights to each member of the group (there are 2 types, Member or Owner). Owners can add other members to the group, delete members, delete the group.

Within a group, members can add files (which are saved in the background to One Drive), which will be available to group members from the Teams group. Added files show which user added the file, when the file was added, and when and who modified the file. Each group also has its own e-mail address and you can send an e-mail to the group, which is convenient to use in such cases, for example, when you send an e-mail to someone outside the organization in connection with a project for which a group has been created in Teams and you can attach the e-mail of the group to the CC -mail address, thus ensuring that all participating group members have access to current information related to the project in one place.

In Teams groups, you can add multiple channels to each group, as well as applications. For example, you can add the Planner application to a group and create tasks, assign tasks to team members and control the execution of tasks within the specific group, all easily visible and collected in one place. Or, for example, connect the group with OneNote, Jira, Power BI, Dynamics 365, Flow, Google services, MailChimp, Facebook, your company’s Line of Business applications and hundreds of others.

In the group, you can, for example, receive updates or notifications from your company’s Facebook page, Linkedin, display the Google Analytics readings of the company’s website, conduct surveys for group members (both anonymous and open), edit shared files together with group members (for example, when preparing for a presentation at client), receive RSS, receive news from a SharePoint group or company intranet, share Youtube videos with group members, and more.

2. Mirror and share your screen with other call participants
You can show a presentation or anything else from your computer screen while on a call. There is also an option – Application sharing, that you can display a specific window, for example, PowerPoint. In this way, the participants of the call will not be able to see, for example, your e-mail or other apps that are open in the background or in parallel.

It is not only possible to display what is visible on your screen, but you can also allow one of the participants to connect to your device and perform actions using the option – give control and request access to another participant’s device with the option – request to have control.

3. Invite participants who are not in your organization to a live meeting
Make meetings, video calls, audio calls with Microsoft Teams. You can add not only users from your organization or users who have Microsoft Teams installed to an online call. You can send an invitation to join an online call via email. It is possible to send an invitation to an e-mail, and the recipient of the invitation will be able to join the call by simply clicking on the link he/she will receive in the e-mail, without the need to install the Teams client. If a guest wants to share their screen to other participants of the call), then he/she will have to install the Microsoft Teams client. In this article, I’ve covered just a few of the wide range of features that Microsoft Teams currently has (April 2018).

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