Microsoft Teams receives Mesh avatars, premium SKU, Places app, and improved channel experience

Microsoft Teams receives Mesh avatars, premium SKU, Places app, and improved channel experience ...

Microsoft has announced a range of new features at its developer-oriented Ignite 2022 conference, which will not only interest developers, but also consumers and enterprise customers.

Mesh avatars are now available in a private preview for Teams. This is something Microsoft announced a year ago. Mesh allows users to use personalized 3D avatars that can participate in Teams meetings and interact with each other in an immersive environment. However, interactive methods such as eye contact and live reactions will be offered for those who prefer a non-robotic interaction. Avatars are now available on the Teams App Store.

A Teams Premium SKU is also going public in December 2022. New capabilities in tow include meeting guides, branding for meeting experiences, intelligent search, recap, and playback, AI-generated tasks, personalized insights, live translations for captions, advanced meeting protection, and advanced virtual appointments. This will be available as an add-on preview in December. Pricing details are currently unavailable, but general availability is scheduled for February 2023. The AI features have a broader "first half of 2023." release window.

Microsoft has outlined improvements to existing Teams features. It has stated that Cameo for Teams is generally available, Excel Live in a Teams meeting window will be coming later this month, and that organizers will have greater control over the Together mode view for all participants along with the ability to assign seats.

Teams Phone Mobile is now mostly available owing to Microsoft''s partnership with several worldwide telecom operators. It''s currently available in a few countries and select companies, but Microsoft is working on increasing the capability. Here''s a look at some of the most recent information.

Other new and anticipated Teams features include the following:

Microsoft is expanding the channel experience in Teams by transferring the compose box to the bottom of the page, posting conversations, and enjoying a more straightforward info pane. Channels will be made customizable with branded headers, as well as multiple post types for different occasions and milestones.

Microsoft Teams meetings will be available natively across certified Cisco meeting devices on a rolling basis. Microsoft is also continuing to working with independent software vendors (ISVs) such as 3M, SAP, iHeartRadio, Workplace by Meta, ServiceNow, Zoho, and others for collaborative Teams apps.

Microsoft has announced the Places app for Teams, which is designed to combine workforce management and collaboration. The app is expected to launch shortly in a preview, with the following features:

  • A dashboard view of which days people on the team or collaboration network will be in the office.
  • A presence that will indicate peoples physical location (in office, remote or mobile).
  • The ability to see the workspaces other users have booked, so someone can book one nearby.
  • Insights and guidance on commuting and passing time, plus the ability to automatically schedule travel time.
  • Wayfinding and navigation help within the office location.
  • A modernized conference room booking and technology to allow everyone to be a first-class participant.
  • Insights and guidance on sentiment related to hybrid policies, so managers can implement best practices.
  • Insights and guidance on space usage, so leaders can future-proof spaces and add flexibility into their real estate portfolio.

Finally, the Teams Live Share SDK for developing custom collaborative experiences is in preview, and the Teams Toolkit is now officially a part of Visual Studio, which should simplify the integration process for developers in this domain.