Microsoft announces several new AI features for Teams

Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams

With 5,000 companies in 25 countries owning one or more Hubs, the company has, unsurprisingly, announced plans to introduce a sequel later this year.

Microsoft has boasted of an impressive rise in the number of organisations using its Teams messaging, collaboration and communications tool. Effectively a new product category, Microsoft is keen to build on its momentum with a hardware refresh.

Microsoft's AI has also made it easier to initiate and participate in Teams chats.

The company shared today that over 200,000 organizations in 181 markets use Microsoft Teams, with customers including NASCAR, Macy's, and General Motors. More details are expected in the coming months. This functionality will extend to IP phones and conference room devices. The enterprise calling features are set to arrive in Q2 of 2018, and the other features, like Cloud Recording and in-line translation, will arrive later in the year.

The Redmond giant is announcing a slew of new features to be added to Teams, all aimed at making it an attractive option to replace traditional office phones. With Direct Routing, enterprises can connect SIP trunks into Teams, turning it into a full-fledged voice service, Wright said.

To drive adoption among the enterprise, Microsoft is working with OEMs including Lenovo and HP to make video conferencing meeting-room systems powered by Microsoft Teams. It'll also let you share a live video stream, photos or screens from your smartphone.

The new calling capabilities, which include consultative transfer (for getting an OK before transferring a call to somebody), call delegation, and federation, will be available in the second quarter, Wright said. Acknowledging how "wonky" it is that Teams hasn't been able to run on Surface Hub thus far, Microsoft has now added native support, she said. This will allow a person to "to easily make a call, join a meeting, or add other people to a meeting in Teams using spoken, natural language". In addition, Microsoft is certifying interoperability between Teams and existing BlueJeans Network, Pexip, and Polycom hardware solutions.

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