Microsoft Teams gets several new features for third anniversary

Real-time noise suppression, pop-out chat windows and a 'raise hand' feature are just some of the new additions

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Microsoft is marking the third anniversary of its Teams software with a wealth of new features to help improve productivity.

The business chat and meeting platform has grown significantly since its launch in 2017. Microsoft reports that the service now has 44 million daily active users and is used by 93 of the Fortune 100 companies. Last time Microsoft reported Teams numbers (back in 2019), it had 13 million daily active users. Further, 14 Teams customers have over 100,000 employees actively using the service, and a company called Accenture has 440,000 employees on Teams.

As for the new features, Microsoft says it’s focussing on two main things; building the best online meeting experience and bringing technological solutions to traditionally underserved professionals, such as frontline and healthcare workers.

First up, Teams is getting an artificial intelligence-powered tool that can suppress noise in real-time. This can help minimize background noise when in a meeting, a welcome addition, especially as more people turn to remote work tools like Teams during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Another new feature that benefits meetings is the ‘raise hand’ button, which lets users show a visual indicator when they have something to say.

Additionally, Teams will allow users to pop-out chats into separate windows. It will also offer offline and low-bandwidth support, letting users read messages and write responses even without an internet connection.

Finally, Microsoft announced a new integration between Teams and RealWear head-mounted devices that will let first-line workers access information and communicate hands-free through Teams with a headset.

Microsoft says that all these capabilities will arrive later this year.

You can learn more on Microsoft’s blog.

Update 20/03/20: Corrected the number of daily active Teams users from 32 million to the updated 44 million number Microsoft provided after the article went live.