This week marks the first anniversary of the worldwide launch of Microsoft Teams. In that time, Teams has grown significantly in both new capabilities and customer usage. Today, 200,000 organizations in 181 markets and 39 languages use Teams, including A.P. Moller–Maersk, ConocoPhillips, General Motors, Macy’s, NASCAR, Navistar, RLH Corporation, and Technicolor.
Teams for Intelligent Communications and Collaboration
Over the last year, Teams has evolved to become the ultimate hub for teamwork. Built on the strength and scale of Office 365 with over 120 million users, Teams delivers chat-based collaboration, meetings, calling, and soon, full enterprise voice features. All of this is underpinned by the Microsoft Graph, allowing for rich AI capabilities. As part of Office 365, Teams uniquely delivers these capabilities at scale, with enterprise-grade security and compliance standards to meet the needs of a global business.
To advance our vision for Intelligent Communications, we are announcing new Teams features coming later this year, including:
- Cloud recording—Will provide one-click meeting recordings with automatic transcription and timecoding, enabling all team members the ability to read captions, search within the conversation, and playback all or part of the meeting. In the future, it will also include facial recognition, so remarks can be attributed to specific meeting attendees.
- Inline message translation—People who speak different languages will be able to fluidly communicate with one another by translating posts in channels and chat.
- Cortana voice interactions for Teams-enabled devices—Will enable you to easily make a call, join a meeting, or add other people to a meeting in Teams using spoken, natural language. This functionality will extend to IP phones and conference room devices.
- Background blur on video—The ability to blur your background during video calls will allow other meeting attendees to focus on you, not what’s behind you.
- Proximity detection for Teams Meetings—This feature will make it easy for you to discover and add a nearby and available Skype Room System to any meeting.
- Mobile sharing in meetings—Meeting attendees will be able to share a live video stream, photos, or the screen from their mobile device.
These new capabilities build on the breadth of new features that have come to Teams in the last year, including guest access, new ways to interact with apps, and new meeting and calling capabilities.
Today, we are also announcing new enterprise-grade calling features in Teams, including consultative transfer and call delegation and federation. In addition, we’re introducing Direct Routing, which will enable customers to use their existing telephony infrastructure with Teams for calling. When you combine a Microsoft Calling Plan or Direct Routing with our Phone System for Office 365, Teams becomes a full voice service. These new capabilities are expected to be available in the second quarter of 2018.
Intelligent Communications for your devices
Hardware plays a critical part in delivering consistent, high-quality video and voice experiences. We are announcing that Teams is now enabled for a full spectrum of calling and meeting room devices, including:
- Microsoft collaboration devices—Microsoft Surface Hub is a powerful all-in-one large-screen team collaboration device. Microsoft Teams will be natively supported on Surface Hub, enhancing the capabilities of Teams in huddle spaces and meeting rooms equipped with Surface Hub.
- Meeting room systems—Lenovo and HP join existing partners Logitech, Crestron, and Polycom to transform the conference room experience with rich audio, HD video, center-of-room control, and one-touch join. All Skype Room Systems will support Teams meetings.
- Connections to existing equipment—Teams will certify new solutions from BlueJeans, Pexip, and Polycom to support interoperability for meetings in Teams with existing hardware investments.
- Desk and conference phones—New desk phones from AudioCodes and Yealink—and new conference room phones from Crestron, Polycom, and Yealink—run a native Teams application for consistent and streamlined calling experiences.
- Mobile phone stations—New mobile phone stations from Plantronics combine the Teams experience with desk phone capabilities for the mobile user.
To learn more about the portfolio of Teams-powered devices and the roadmap dates, visit the Microsoft Tech Community blog.
Growing ecosystem of Teams apps
No ecosystem would be complete without the apps that make it thrive. We recently released a new store in Teams featuring a wide array of tools and services from our partners. Some of the most popular apps among Teams customers include Adobe Creative Cloud, Hootsuite, InVision, Polly, SurveyMonkey, Trello, Wrike, Zoom.ai, and many others.
Hear it from our customers
As we celebrate our first birthday, what’s most exciting are the stories of companies like RLH Corporation, Technicolor, and General Motors, for which Teams is truly changing the way people come together, innovate, and move business forward.
- RLH Corporation—In 2014, when Greg Mount took on the role of CEO at RLH Corporation, parent company to hotel brands like Red Lion Hotels, GuestHouse, and America’s Best Value Inn, he shifted the company’s strategy to move from being a Pacific Northwest regional brand to being a nationwide one. Since then, RLH Corporation has acquired multiple hotel brands, growing from 62 to over 1,100 hotels in just three years. To address change management and help drive a consistent culture within the company, RLH Corporation started using Teams last year. They looked at other chat-based collaboration tools, but because they were already using Office 365 and Power BI, Teams was the clear choice. Now, all corporate employees use Teams. The leadership team has moved from a more in-person and paper-based process for communications to more real-time interaction and data flow.
- Technicolor—A leader in the media and entertainment sector, Technicolor has used Teams within the Production Services CTO office to provide a new way for employees to collaborate around all things technical—from strategy to purchasing and everything in between. Technicolor Production Services business units are also starting to use Teams for high profile projects that require greater transparency and collaboration across many time zones and global offices, reducing the number of recurring meetings and flow of information internally and benefiting from a sole source of truth with cloud documents. Technicolor Production Services plans to expand its usage within other parts of its organization.
- General Motors—Here’s what Fred Killeen, CTO at General Motors, had to say about Teams: “Our mission to transform transportation relies on strong teamwork across every aspect of our business. Teams enables our employees to connect across geographical and organizational boundaries through a single place to access all the conversations, files, and content. Teams’ integration with the rest of Office 365 and third-party applications and services makes it easier for our employees to find relevant information and do their best work on their own and as a part of a team.”
As we celebrate our first year in market, we are thankful to our customers, partners, and of course those of you who have become avid Teams users for coming on this journey with us. We look forward to continuing to bring you experiences that enable your teams to achieve more together.
Tune in to Microsoft’s keynote at Enterprise Connect this week to hear what’s next in our vision for Intelligent Communications. Watch it live Wednesday, March 14, 2018, at 10 AM ET or watch on-demand at: Enterprise Connect keynote.
—Lori Wright, general manager for Microsoft Teams and Skype