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Microsoft Teams Receives ‘Inspire’ Update
Hot off the heels of recent platform enhancements, Microsoft this week shared a slew of Teams updates, announced at its Inspire partner event, aimed at three user constituents: IT professionals, developers, and frontline workers.
For IT managers, Microsoft revealed the general availability of Teams Rooms Premium, an outsourced room device management service. IT can add this cloud-based IT service, which features 24/7 management and monitoring provided by Microsoft or certified partners, through the Teams Admin Center, Microsoft said.
For developers, Microsoft made two changes to enhance the ability to customize the Teams meeting experience with apps and chatbots:
- First, enhancements to Microsoft’s low-code Power Platform will allow developers to create, deploy, and manage apps or chatbots from within Teams. In addition, developers creating apps and chatbots using Power Apps and Power Virtual Agents will be able to access data in Microsoft Dataflex, a relational database now built into Teams, at no additional cost, Microsoft said. The Power Apps and Power Virtual Agents features will be available for public preview in August.
- Second, developers can now integrate apps into the Teams meeting experience. An integrated app will appear in a new Teams meetings tab, and users will be able to add the apps to their meeting controls bar, Microsoft said. These capabilities will be available for public preview in late July.
Changes for Frontline Workers
Building on its frontline worker storyline, Microsoft announced new Teams apps, features, and capabilities for these users. These include:
- Walkie Talkie, a push-to-talk feature in Teams for use with Android smartphones and tablets. Frontline workers can install the app, available for public preview, by using App Setup Policies
- Shifts schedule assistance, which will help managers plan and approve schedules by sending alerts on schedule conflicts; availability slated for later this summer
- A time clock for Teams web and desktop apps, featuring geofencing capabilities to designate from where employees can/can't clock in. The time clock is generally available.
- Microsoft Task, which will allow enterprises to create and push out corporate-level task items to targeted teams, Microsoft said. Task is currently in private preview.
Additionally, Microsoft revealed general availability of its latest Yammer app, Communities. With the app, user communities (frontline workers or otherwise) can receive organizational announcements and take part in enterprise-wide discussions.