Microsoft Teams: These new features are heading your way

Microsoft Teams is to gain better background noise suppression plus Windows 10 native notifications.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft is gearing up to release better AI-powered noise suppression for Microsoft Teams, a feature that can scrub out background noises such as a video-chat participant rustling through a bag of chips. 

Microsoft first touted the noise-suppression technology at the outset of the new coronavirus pandemic in the US and Europe back in March, but an update to its Teams roadmap, via Windows Latest, indicates it will release an improved version of the feature broadly in November. 

Dubbed AI-based noise suppression, the feature automatically and in real time removes unwelcome noises during meetings. 

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"AI-based noise suppression works by analyzing an individual's audio feed and using specially trained deep neural networks to filter out the noise and retain only the speech signal," Microsoft explains. 

Microsoft says it's an update to the existing noise suppression, with the key addition being that users will now be able to control how much noise suppression they want. A new 'High' setting will suppress more background noise.

The feature should help people working from home during the second wave of COVID-19, at least by removing nearby background noises for other participants on an audio or video call, like lawnmowers and leaf flowers, barking dogs, TVs and background chatter in the home. 

Other features that have become critical for reducing distractions in meeting from home include Teams' custom and blurred backgrounds.  

Microsoft earlier this month announced general availability of Tasks in Teams, an app that brings together Microsoft Planner and Microsoft To Do in Teams. Tasks in Teams is Microsoft's attempt to consistency to tasks features in Microsoft 365 products, including Outlook, Planner, To Do, and Office apps like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. 

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Microsoft Teams is also set to gain Windows native notifications in Teams, allowing users to "choose Microsoft Teams notifications via Windows 10 native notifications". In other words, it's optional. During testing, Microsoft found that while some users wanted Teams notifications via the Windows notifications center, some preferred just Teams notifications.    

Microsoft has been testing this feature in preview with macOS users since August, Windows Central reported at the time. The Teams roadmap says optional macOS native notifications are rolling out in October while Windows native notifications are rolling out in November

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