Microsoft really is treating Teams like a platform. It's now used each month by 250 million people, almost double its monthly active user number from April 2021, and over 300% more than the 75 million people who were regularly using it at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2020.
In that time, Microsoft has added features like the 49-person grid view to native and web apps, break out rooms and Together Mode, gradually extending the functionality that it offers to remote teams.
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The latest feature it's bringing to Teams furthers its collaboration goal for hybrid work via third-party apps that tap its "share-to-stage" feature. The feature allows video call participants, rather than just the meeting host, to interact with content.
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"Imagine all the scenarios this opens that you couldn't properly do before virtually – like whiteboarding and brainstorming together or running a scrum without having one person share their entire screen while others just observe," Microsoft said.
The first apps that take advantage of Microsoft Teams capability include MURAL, Miro, Lucidspark and Freehand.
Teams users can add a supported app to a meeting and then share it onto the meeting stage via the share-to-stage feature, so that others can see and interact with the app content.
"Apps in meetings offer a more effective way to facilitate collaboration, enhance team productivity, and drive results during the flow of a Teams meeting. We can use them while we talk with one another, to help us stay on track with an agenda, to log action items in our plans, and so much more," Microsoft explains.
The feature should help with brainstorming sessions where people need to build on ideas shared by colleagues.
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Mural, for example, will allow Teams users to use diagrams, affinity maps and historical sessions in a real-time video. Miro is a whiteboard solution on Teams with tools like sticky notes, arrows, voting, timers, while tools like sticky notes, arrows, voting, timers while Lucidspark offers boards with sticky notes and freehand drawing functionality. Inspire promises to liven up whiteboard in-office and remote meetings about planning, brainstorming, and mind mapping.
Microsoft this week announced a bunch of new Teams features designed for hybrid work. New features in Teams aim to help workers become better presenters and provide better controls for those at work managing meetings with remote workers.