Microsoft announced on Tuesday that it is adding a variety of new features to its Teams collaboration platform to improve IT admins' ability to manage apps and to enhance end users' experience.
The new features being rolled out for Teams include customisable extensions for software apps, integration of apps like Bookings, tools for building bots that work with Teams, and many others.
One of the most interesting new features is the ability for software developers to create apps for Teams in the Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code IDEs. Developers can now use these tools to create project scaffolding, validate app package manifests and begin the app publishing process.
It will also enable IT admins to evaluate and deploy ISV and line-of-business applications for their users in Teams.
Microsoft said it is also working to add a range of customisable templates to Teams in "coming months". Those templates will come with pre-defined guidance and channels, enabling admins to build new ones based on their organisation's existing teams.
"When creating a new team, you'll soon be able to pick from a variety of customisable templates," Microsoft said.
"Choose from common business scenarios, like event management and crisis response, as well as industry-specific templates, like a hospital ward or bank branch."
Another interesting addition is the integration of the Bookings app, which will enable organisations and companies to schedule and conduct business-to-consumer meetings from within Teams. With Bookings, users can conduct virtual job interviews, healthcare visits, customer service appointments and others events.
Teams is also to be integrated with the Power Platform enabling developers to create model-driven apps for Teams using Power Apps.
"We are partnering with the newest component of the Power Platform - Power Virtual Agents, which is a low-code chatbot platform. There are a number of new features that are rolling out over the coming months that will make it easier to create and manage low-code chatbots from within Teams and more streamlined for end users to use Power Virtual Agents bots in Teams," Microsoft revealed.
Microsoft Teams has seen a huge surge in usage since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The company revealed last month that Teams usage had increased to more than 75 million daily active, up 70 per cent from 19 March, when it was being used by 44 million DAUs.
Microsoft Teams is currently competing with Zoom, which claims to have "300 million daily Zoom meeting participants."
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