Microsoft Teams: These new features arrive to keep workers on the move

Microsoft has announced new features for Teams, Word and its Viva platform.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer

Microsoft has announced new features across Teams, Microsoft 365 and its Viva platform that aim to put frontline workers – such as doctors, engineers and others not tied to their desks – on equal footing with information workers, the company says in a blogpost.

Microsoft is rolling out a public preview of Microsoft Endpoint Manager for managing devices that run on Android Open Source Project (AOSP), which developers use to build custom implementations of Android. Endpoint Manager already supports iOS and Android. 

The expansion of Endpoint Manager to open-source Android is aimed at purpose-built devices, such as RealWear head-mounted wearables, which already have integration with Teams. "With new developments in Microsoft Endpoint Manager, it's easy to locate a lost device so workers can spend more time on customers and tasks," Microsoft said.

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In other developments related to Teams, Viva Connections mobile will also reach general availability in November, according to Microsoft. The public preview of Viva Connections mobile arrived this month. Viva Connections is Microsoft's employee engagement app for distributing company news, conversations and resources distributed through Teams. Viva is built on Yammer, Steam Video, Teams Live events, and SharePoint intranet hubs. 

"We think it is time to democratize company culture to bring your frontline workers closer – and not just because it's a good thing to do – but because these employees are the faces of your company that impact your bottom line. And when employees feel they have a purpose, their loyalty increases, and they provide better services to your customers," said Emma Williams, corporate vice president of modern work transformations at Microsoft.

Williams said Microsoft has seen more than a 150% increase in Microsoft Teams usage among frontline workers over the past year across retail, financial services, healthcare, and government industries.

Microsoft is also letting users bring its Approvals app — for faster approvals — to Word via its add-ins option. DocuSign is now on board as a new electronic signature option with Teams Approvals, allowing anyone approving something to do so within Teams. 

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Another improvements to Teams for frontline workers stems from the Teams Electronic Health Record (EHR) connector for health IT vendors. 

The connector, available in preview for Cerner, lets patients launch virtual visits from a patient portal or SMS, without an app. Healthcare providers fire up a visit from Cerner PowerChart while admins can work on EHR integration and access reports. The Microsoft Teams EHR connector is also generally available for customers of health IT rival, Epic. Teams now also supports mobile browsers for virtual visits, so that patients don't need to download and install the Teams app. 

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