As the year comes to an end we commonly look back and reflect on the good things that have happened to us. I thought it would be a good time to look back on Microsoft Teams and re-cap some of the great features that have come to the platform this year. This list was put together based on either my value of an item’s importance and/or what I've heard from the community (through social media, talking to people at user groups, etc.). If you think I've missed something, please feel free to add to the discussion on Twitter.
The list is in order based on my sense of impact/demand for the feature. Without further ado, here is the list:
Private Channels - No doubt this is the number one feature of the year. It was the most voted for item on Uservoice and was met with great fanfare when it was announced at Ignite in November.
Native Federation - The newest feature (released the week of 12/9/2020), this enables users in TeamsOnly mode to speak to users outside of their organization that are also in TeamsOnly mode in richer ways. The ability to send emojis, GIFs, and more makes the conversation better!
Emergency Services - With Kari's Law about to go in to effect in January 2020, having true Emergency Services that support e911 and Dynamic 911 is a big step. Every phone system needs this and it's great to see it in Microsoft Teams!
Whiteboard - The integration of the Microsoft Whiteboard into Teams empowers us all to be better at the Whiteboard. The ability to have shapes "snap" into the proper shape (my circles, squares, and triangles have never looked better) along with all the other features makes whiteboarding a breeze!
Meet Now - This one was a feature that many people who were coming from Skype for Business were looking for when they first flipped to Microsoft Teams.
Share System Audio - This is a feature that people have been asking for since Office Communications Server (OCS). Some people would use video ingest and tether one laptop to another to bring video and audio into a screenshare/meeting. Now it's just a check box!
Content Camera - Hands down, one of the coolest demo's, this features announcement earlier in the year turned heads when you could see right through someone to see what was written on the whiteboard!
Pinned Channels - Microsoft Teams can bring a lot of information to your fingertips, but sometimes we need to prioritize what's important. Pinned channels does exactly that by letting you pin just the channel (not the entire Team) at the top of the list.
Linux Client - What year is it? Microsoft definitely has changed and embraced Linux and by bringing a flagship product to the open source OS is proof. No matter what platform you decide to call home, Teams will help you communicate from it.
Information Barriers - Ok, so this one may not get a lot of love from people but having had to work around this requirement in previous deployments of Skype for Business/Lync/OCS, I was excited to see this feature become native. Information Barriers gives us the ability to define two groups that can't talk to each other and enforce it.
So, with the top ten things that Microsoft Teams has given us in 2019, I thought it would be great to talk about three things that I'm looking forward to in 2020.
Pop-out for Meetings - Let's be honest, while Microsoft Teams keeps us focused, it is inconvenient to be in a meeting and have to switch back and forth between the video and a channel where information might stored. The ability to pop out video and/or the chat will be a great feature!
Microsoft Team Room (MTR) Interop to Zoom/Webex Rooms - This will make the MTR more versatile and will help customers who need to be able to interact with these other systems.
Outlook plug-in to send email to Teams - We've been able to email a message to Teams for a long time but the extra steps of having to go find the email address for a channel is gone with this feature. A single button in Outlook allow us to move the conversation right over to Teams!
There you have it, my top ten features for 2019 and three to look forward to in 2020. How did I do? Join the conversation on Twitter at @enowconsulting!
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Adam Ball, co-founder at Cloud Revolution, is a Microsoft Teams MVP and community contributor.