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Windows Central
Windows Central
Sean Endicott

Microsoft Teams will use AI to clean up your messy room so you don't have to

Microsoft Teams on Windows.

What you need to know

  • Microsoft just announced a lengthy list of features that are on the way to Teams.
  • AI-powered voice isolation will make it easier to hear a speaker within calls and meetings and is set to ship in early 2024.
  • Teams Premium subscribers will be able to decorate their meeting background to enhance the real-world room that they're in.

Microsoft Ignite 2023 kicked off today, and there is a lot to catch up on. Microsoft announced several new features for Teams, including AI voice isolation and a feature that cleans your room with the power of AI, at least in your virtual meetings.

On top of that, the new version of Microsoft Teams for the web is here with drastic performance improvements to match the Windows and Mac versions that shipped recently.

There are a ton of new features for Teams on the way. All of the updates, enhancements, and new features shared by Microsoft are listed below, but I'll first highlight some of the biggest additions to the platform.

More AI in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft is keen to enhance every experience with artificial intelligence. AI isn't just about getting answers from Copilot in Bing (formerly known as Bing Chat). It can also improve the meeting experience in Teams. Two new AI-powered features are on the way to Teams, though one is limited to Teams Premium subscribers.

Starting in early 2024, Teams will be able to isolate a speaker's voice using AI. The feature will suppress other voices in the background, making it easier to hear a specific speaker.

Teams Premium subscribers will be able to enhance their meeting background with AI. The feature will be able to generate a background or decorate a real-world room with virtual additions, such as a plant sitting behind a speaker. The tool will also declutter a room, making it appear as if a background is tidier than it actually is.

What is the new Microsoft Teams for web?

The new Microsoft Teams rolled out to Windows and Mac recently, and it's now available on the web. (Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft released the new Teams for Windows and Mac recently. Now, the new Teams web experience is here for Edge and Chrome users (apparently Firefox has been left out for now). Like its Windows and Mac counterparts, the new Teams web experience is faster and simpler.

Microsoft promises up to two times faster performance while using 50 percent less memory. There's also a redesigned channels experience and a simplified notifications setup.

Teams meeting features

  • Voice isolation in Teams meetings and calls: This AI-driven feature is an advanced noise suppression capability that leverages user’s voice profiles and suppresses other people’s voices in the background during a Teams meeting or call. AI in Teams will recognize an individual’s voice and filter only their voice in Teams meetings and calls. This feature rollout has begun and will be generally available in early 2024. 
  • Decorate your background: Meeting participants will be able to use generative background effects in Teams to show up at their best – even when the space they’re working from isn’t at its best. With Decorate your background, meeting participants can use the power of AI to generate a background that decorates and enhances their real-world room, by cleaning up clutter or adding plants to a wall. This feature will be available early next year in Teams Premium.

Teams Chat and Channels Enhancements

  • Customize default reactions: Users will have the flexibility to change and select their default emoji reactions in Teams chat, as well as reduce the number of reactions in their interface.
  • Forward chat: Users will be able to easily share a message received with another colleague by simply clicking on the message and selecting forward from the menu. 
  • Group chat profile picture: Users will have a better way to reflect their team and group chat topic with custom pictures. Group chat members can upload an image or use pre-selected illustrations and emojis. 
  • Loop components in channels: When composing a post in a channel, users will be able to easily co-create and collaborate on Loop components such as tables, lists, progress trackers and more. 
  • Channel announcement background: Users will be able to create a personalized announcement background that harnesses creativity and engages teams in new ways. Users will be able to add images, type a description or use the power of AI to generate a personalized background. Creating an image using generative AI will be available in Teams Premium and Copilot.

Teams Phone features

  • Private line: Now in general availability, users can have a private second phone number for a select set of callers so they can make calls directly to a specified contact, bypassing delegates, admins or assistants. Inbound calls to the private line will be distinguished by a unique ringtone and notification. 
  • Protected voicemail: To ensure users don’t miss important voicemails with sensitive information, users will now receive notifications for protected voicemails in the Calls app in Teams with a link to access the voicemail securely in the Outlook web app. This is now generally available. 
  • New Teams Phone offers in India: For customers who have employees based in India, Microsoft is working with local operators – Airtel, Tata Communications Limited and Tata Tele Business Services – which will be launching their Teams Phone-powered solutions in compliance with regulatory requirements in the market. These solutions will provide employees with greater calling flexibility and will support work- from-home scenarios as well.

Teams experience updates

  • Microsoft Teams web experience: Microsoft recently released the new Teams app for Windows and Mac, and now, the new Teams web experience is generally available for web customers who use Microsoft Edge or Google Chrome, providing a faster and simpler Teams experience to help users save time and collaborate more efficiently. New Teams is reimagined from the ground up to deliver up to two times faster performance while using 50 percent less memory. From redesigning channels and simplifying notifications to enhancing personalization options, the new Teams web experience offers a simpler and responsive user experience that’s easier to navigate and accomplish with fewer clicks. 
  • New Teams keyboard shortcuts: New keyboard shortcuts in Teams will save users time when composing a message, navigating in the app, taking an action in a chat and channels or changing a setting. New shortcuts include Alt+Shift+D to set status to Do not disturb and Alt+Shift+R to reply quickly to the latest message received. The full list of keyboard shortcuts is available, and new shortcuts will be generally available by January 2024. 
  • Code block enhancements: New enhancements to code blocks will make it easier for users to send code in Teams. Users will be able to start a code block using the entry point in format options or by using markdown. Users can pick/change the code language for syntax highlighting when pasting or writing code. This update will be generally available by January 2024. 
  • Simplified notifications: Users will be able to clear notifications with a single click in activity, chat and channels and customize Teams notification settings to quickly identify what matters most. This update will be generally available in January 2024. 
    Manage your teams and channels: Users can easily manage the channels list in Teams to focus on what matters most. When starting a new collaboration space, users will be prompted to create a channel, and when joining a new team users can choose only the channels they would like to show in the channel list. When a channel is no longer active or relevant, a user can archive the channel, and it will be hidden and closed for further action, but the information can still be accessed. This update will be generally available in January 2024. 
  • Private team discovery: Admins will be able to make private teams discoverable in their organization. Users can view and search for these private teams through the “Join team gallery” in their client. This update will be generally available in January 2024. 
  • Shared channels enhancements: To make it easier to collaborate with external stakeholders, admins are able to set up a form that captures the user’s request to add an external member who is not from an approved organization. Team members can also create shared channels, if the channel owner permits it. Users can share direct links to a channel, post or reply. This update will be generally available in January 2024. 
  • Teams AI library: Teams AI library, a new feature for app developers, is now generally available for JavaScript and .NET. The Teams AI library simplifies building engaging conversational apps in Microsoft 365. The library helps app developers build intelligent bots and message extensions powered by AI and large language models.
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