Microsoft has announced new features designed to streamline workflow and automate process in its Teams collaboration software.
The new features, announced on a blog post, aim to extend Teams into a collaboration platform with new ways for developers to build low-code solutions and for third-parties to add their own apps and services. Some are available now, others will be rolled out over the next few months.
Developers will be able to create apps and chatbots and visualise data from within Teams, Microsoft says, as a result of enhancements to the Power Platform within Teams.
Meanwhile, independent software vendors will be able to bring their apps directly within the Teams UI. Early integrations include Polly, Open Agora, Miro, iCIMS and HireVue which will be available later this year.
There are enhancements to the management controls too, with device management and monitoring options for Microsoft Teams Rooms Standard and Premium designed to make it easier for partners and IT admins to deploy and manage large numbers of devices. Administrators can now manage Teams Room devices including collaboration bars, IP phones, and others devices from one location via the admin console. Teams Rooms management is also offered as a managed service.
From next month, Microsoft Lists a "smart information tracking app", will be available from within Teams, with an iOS mobile app planned for next year.
Other apps that are to be ported to Teams, first on the desktop in August and later on mobile devices, include field workforce management and communication tools Shifts and Timeclock, with Yammer Communities also added to the Teams mobile apps. There's also a Walkie Talkie push-to-talk mode for Android devices which allows voice communication by field workers over the cloud using cellular network or WiFi.
Other remote-working related developments announced include beefed up security protections for home workers including extending Microsoft Office 365 data loss prevention (DLP) tools to end-user devices, and insider threat risk management and compliance solutions.
In April, Microsoft claimed there were 75 million daily users of Teams. Teams was originally introduced to compete with Slack, but the main competition for video calls has come from Zoom. Recent research from Delta found users generally like the integration with O365 but find some aspects of Teams to be immature and non-intuitive.
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