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Microsoft Teams Gets More Customizable

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A laptop with a Microsoft Teams logo on the screen
Image: monticellllo - stock.adobe.com
At its developer conference Build, Microsoft this week revealed a series of updates designed to provide developers the ability to add more customization to Teams, facilitate administration, and encourage and facilitate app discovery.
 
Microsoft in a blog post detailed new developer tools and features for Teams, including:
  • Customizable Together Mode scenes — Starting this summer, developers will be able to create custom scenes for Teams meetings via a scene designer tool available in Microsoft’s Developer portal. They’ll also be able to configure where user video streams appear in the scene, Microsoft said.
  • Fluid components — When enabled in Teams chat, fluid components will allow users to send messages with tables, action items, or lists that can be edited by everyone and shared across Office applications, like Outlook. Fluid components are now in private preview and will expand to more customers in the coming months, Microsoft said.
  • Activity Feed API — This integration, via Microsoft Graph (which provides an endpoint for developers to access Microsoft cloud data), allows delivery of notifications about actionable content into the Teams feed panel, Microsoft said.
  • Media APIs — Available later this summer, meeting media APIs will provide developers with real-time access to audio and video streams so they can c build in transcription, translation, notetaking, and insights gathering.
  • Azure Communication Services with Teams interoperability – Available in public preview, Azure Communication Services with Teams interoperability provides APIs, SDKs, and UI frameworks for building branded communication apps that work outside of Teams and provide interoperability within Teams.
In addition to these updates, Microsoft made several changes aimed at helping developers improve app administration, customization, and discoverability. Teams admins can now deploy SaaS apps, configure user access, and manage the app from within the Microsoft 365 Admin Center, Microsoft said. Starting in the summer, admins will also be able to purchase third-party apps directly from the Teams Admin Center and use invoice billing to pay for them, Microsoft said. Additionally, a new developer-enabled option will let admins rebrand third-party apps that support customization, which will allow them to adjust elements like the icon color and the app short description, Microsoft said.
 
For app discoverability, Microsoft this summer will be launching a Teams app store, which will highlight popular apps based on usage and an app spotlight based on the enterprise’s business segment. Admins can customize how the Teams app store appears for users, adding company logos and branded colors, Microsoft said. In addition, starting this summer, mobile Teams users will be able to purchase third-party apps directly from the Teams app store, allowing them to view subscription plans offered and checkout all within Teams.

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