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10 Microsoft Teams Updates Unveiled At Ignite Fall 2021

Microsoft is using the virtual conference to announce a number of new features and updates for the Teams collaboration app, including around security, integrations and events capabilities.

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What’s Next For Teams

Microsoft Teams security improvements, new functionality with Microsoft’s mixed reality platform Mesh and new features to improve virtual events on the Teams collaboration app are among the big announcements during the company’s virtual Ignite conference this week.

It’s the second iteration of Microsoft’s Ignite conference this year, following the Ignite 2021 virtual event in March, and marks another chance for the company to unveil new features and solutions in the Microsoft 365 suite apps--in particular, the widely used Teams app.

New product unveilings this week include Microsoft Loop, an application for information sharing across the Microsoft 365 suite, which includes Teams and Dynamics 365. Employee experience platform Microsoft Viva is now available to any users and features integrations with Teams. And Microsoft unveiled new functionality for Teams-focused hardware.

Improvements within the Teams app focus on security, mixed-reality capabilities and ways to host more compelling virtual events on the platform.

Kelly Yeh, president of Chantilly, Va.-based Microsoft partner Phalanx Technology Group, told CRN in an interview that Teams has only become more essential for businesses using a hybrid work model, where employees split their work hours between home and office.

In Yeh’s view, younger workers prefer communicating with colleagues through video and short messages available through Teams rather than traditional emails. He predicts wider use of Teams than Outlook in the future.

“I‘ve been telling my clients that Teams will probably replace Outlook -- they don’t believe me,” he said.

Yeh said that he’s glad to see further integration and convergence of Microsoft’s wide array of products and services. He’d like to see Microsoft continue to invest in ways partners can offer Teams as an alternative to traditional phone systems, a use case that’s become popular with Yeh’s customers.

Indeed, during Microsoft’s latest quarterly earnings call in October, CEO Satya Nadella said that calls originating from Teams chats increased 50 percent year-over-year. Companies including SAP and Schlumberger use Teams phone-related services.

Yeh hopes to see Microsoft continue to embrace partners such as Evolve IP and Nextiva for telephony solutions, he said. “The fact that Microsoft is providing the platform is great,” he said.

What follows are 10 Microsoft Teams updates unveiled at the Ignite fall 2021 virtual conference.

Teams-related Security Enhancements

Microsoft Records Management has gained new capabilities integrated into Teams to improve data protection, according to the company.

Now generally available are retention and deletion policies for private Teams channels. In preview are new abilities to configure separate retention and deletion policies for attached files stored in OneDrive and SharePoint with a message and the abilities to configure retention and deletion policies for groups within Teams.

New Communication Compliance integrations with Teams include the ability to analyze content shared within links to OneDrive and SharePoint sent over Teams. Communication Compliance can also detect offensive language and sensitive content shared with users outside the host team through a new integration with Teams shared channels, according to Microsoft.

 
 
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