Microsoft Teams Taking the Spotlight from Skype for Business
If you currently use Office 365, then you might already be familiar with Microsoft Teams, which is Microsoft's solution for task management, teamwork, group collaboration, and unified communication. Since the launch in March 2017, there has been rapid growth and adoption of the software and over 125,000 organizations are now using Teams.
As Microsoft continues to gain insight into how the modern workplace communicates and utilizes team collaboration, they are now increasing functionality in Teams, which will eventually replace Skype for Business as the primary communication platform. With the emphasis on teamwork higher than ever, Microsoft is focused on making Teams the central collaboration hub to align with their vision for what they are referring to as "intelligent communications."
The three major features in this transition include Messaging, Meetings, and Calling.
The Move Toward Enhanced Messaging
Yesterday, Microsoft announced its roadmap and timelines for the added capabilities into Teams stating that by the end of 1st quarter 2018, Teams expects to deliver additional messaging functionality which include screen sharing during chat and federation between companies.
Smarter Team Meetings
Additionally, Microsoft announced several meeting capabilities to be added by the end of 2nd quarter in 2018. Some of the key features include meeting room support with Skype room Systems and cloud video interoperability, which allows third party meeting room devices to connect to Teams meetings.
Initially, the vision was to have each aspect of the meeting automated from beginning to end. Before meetings even begin, machine learning and functions such as translation and speech recognition will automate multiple aspects of the entire meeting process. Teams will find important documents and relevant information about the attendees to facilitate the preparation beforehand. During the meeting, the conversation can be recorded and transcribed, even going as far as assigning quotes to specific people. Once the meeting ends, the recording and transcript will be added to the appropriate channel, allowing documents, notes, and action items to be accessible by all team members.
However, Microsoft did not include these features in the roadmap released yesterday.
More Than Just Calling
Many key functions that businesses are already familiar with on Skype will also be integrated into Teams, such as voice calling, universal presence, calling into a Teams meeting from a telephone, and messaging.
Additionally, Teams will offer comprehensive telephony features, including voice calling to PSTN numbers, hold, call transfer, and voicemail by the end of the 4th quarter in 2017. In recent months, Teams has already introduced functions like scheduled meetings, calendar integration, and mobile meetings. The goal is for these added capabilities to allow for faster innovation and improved communication at the workplace. Microsoft will also be adding Call Support to facilitate between Teams and the Skype for Business consumer.
What's Next for Skype for Business?
Although Microsoft will still continue to support Skype for Business and plans to roll out a new version next year, they will be prioritizing their research and development resources to Teams. In the meantime, Microsoft is not be pushing businesses to switch to Teams right away. But their vision is for Teams to gradually become the main Microsoft client for communications. The new features planned for Teams is just the beginning, and further development of their comprehensive intelligent communications capabilities is underway.
Microsoft's roadmap for the integration details the progression of Messaging, Meetings, and Calling features. See full details here or below:
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