Microsoft has released some new features for its work collaboration platform Teams, which it says are aimed to help in improving productivity and engagement.
The new features are designed to improve the ease of use by employees as they continue to work from home during the coronavirus pandemic.
According to Microsoft, Teams has been updated to reduce the launch time for desktop clients on Windows and macOS by 30 per cent. To achieve that, Teams will now delay non-essential operations until after launch, while also optimising code delivery flows and implementing service side optimisations.
The software giant says Teams has also received updates that will help reduce average workload on device CPUs and GPUs during video calls and meetings, by reducing animations, blending layers and simplifying the overall experience for the users.
Another notable enhancement is up to 40 per cent improvement in battery consumption in iOS. For that, Microsoft is moving a significant amount of background processing to cloud services and also reducing the frequency of syncing static information.
As for the improvements to meeting and calling, the company says that it has rolled out 7x7 grid views, which now shows video streams of up to 49 participants simultaneously. To take advantage of the new grid view, users will need to turn on the new multi-window meeting experience.
Other meetings enhancements include letting users to set up their mic and video configurations before a meeting, a Safe Transfer feature to transfer calls between Teams and Skype for Business reliably, and discounts for meeting and calling packages.
In October, Microsoft is expected to roll out a Breakout Rooms feature that will let participants to be split off into smaller groups during a meeting or conference. The presenters will be able to go from one room to another, make announcements in those rooms, and finally close different rooms to bring all participants back to the main meeting room.
Microsoft is also expected to release a new search feature later this year powered by Microsoft Search that will let users quickly find messages, files, answers and people.
Together mode, which will also come out later this year, will use AI segmentation technology in meetings to virtually place participants in a shared background. This feature will make participants feel like they all are sitting in same room with everyone else.
Microsoft Teams has seen a huge surge in usage since the start of the coronavirus pandemic. The company revealed in April that Teams usage had increased to more than 75 million daily active users (DAUs). The app had nearly 44 million DAUs in March.
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