Microsoft Ignite 2022: New Interactive Collaboration Features Introduced for Microsoft

The News: At Microsoft Ignite 2022, the company announced several new interactive collaboration features for Microsoft Teams, as well as an enhanced Premium option. The new features will help businesses offer more engaging and efficient experiences for both employees and customers. Read the full announcement on Microsoft’s blog.

Microsoft Ignite 2022: New Interactive Collaboration Features Introduced for Microsoft

Analyst Take: Microsoft is looking to make online meetings more interactive and inclusive, with the hope of making teamwork easier and more flexible for all involved. At Microsoft Ignite 2022 the company released a host of new collaborative updates across Teams, Microsoft 365, and Microsoft Viva. Hybrid work is here to stay, and Microsoft is making it a mission to empower employees for the future. These are the announcements for Teams specifically that caught my attention.

Mesh Avatars. With Microsoft Teams, users can now create up to three unique customized, animated versions of themselves to use in meetings. This includes not just physical attributes, but audio-driven reactions and facial expressions that don’t even require you to turn on your camera. While not a necessity, this feature is a big step toward the metaverse, and one we are likely to see more of in other programs as well.

Together Mode. Users can now assign virtual seats for participants in Together mode. Participants can feel like they are in the same room with the same view. From the demo, it looks like a virtual lecture hall or meeting room. As more companies begin thinking about meeting equity, this feature will come in handy.

Live Collaboration Features. On the more functional front, Microsoft added several collaborative features. Teams users will now be able to use Excel Live, which allows users to interact and edit an Excel file within the meeting even if they don’t have Excel on their personal device. With collaborative annotations, users can draw, type, and react to content being shared in a meeting on Whiteboards. The Polls feature allows users to engage meeting participants to make decisions quickly and keep momentum going.

Microsoft Teams Premium

Another major announcement: starting in February, a Premium version of Teams will be generally available that will offer “more personalized, intelligent, and secure” features. While it will come with an extra price tag, I believe for many that it will be well worth it. Some of the features include:

  • A meeting guide to auto-select the right type of meeting based on discussion topics/audience
  • Custom meeting branding and custom waiting rooms
  • Protections like watermarks, encryption and sensitivity labels to keep information shared compliant
  • Intelligent recaps that auto select the information most relevant to one’s role, transcribe meeting discussions, generate tasks, and help navigate meeting content
  • Live translations for 40 spoken languages
  • Metrics for departments and organizations on things like no-shows and wait times
  • Automated waitlists, reminders, or manual attendee approvals

This version of Microsoft Premium seems to offer a lot of smart features to help teams streamline work and drive productivity and efficiency.

Collaboration Takes Center Stage

I said in a recent article on Forbes that in 2022, Microsoft will continue to lead the pack in the collaboration space, bringing together synchronous and asynchronous collaboration, and combining more and more developer capabilities, back-office integrations, APIs, and hybrid work capabilities. The features for Teams that were announced at Ignite further solidify this opinion. Virtual collaboration is here to stay, and it is key to the next iteration of hybrid work. Microsoft continues to innovate at pace, designing for not only the now, but the foreseeable future — which will be a win-win for customers and companies, alike.

Disclosure: Futurum Research is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of Futurum Research as a whole.

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Image Credit: Microsoft

Author Information

Daniel is the CEO of The Futurum Group. Living his life at the intersection of people and technology, Daniel works with the world’s largest technology brands exploring Digital Transformation and how it is influencing the enterprise.

From the leading edge of AI to global technology policy, Daniel makes the connections between business, people and tech that are required for companies to benefit most from their technology investments. Daniel is a top 5 globally ranked industry analyst and his ideas are regularly cited or shared in television appearances by CNBC, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal and hundreds of other sites around the world.

A 7x Best-Selling Author including his most recent book “Human/Machine.” Daniel is also a Forbes and MarketWatch (Dow Jones) contributor.

An MBA and Former Graduate Adjunct Faculty, Daniel is an Austin Texas transplant after 40 years in Chicago. His speaking takes him around the world each year as he shares his vision of the role technology will play in our future.


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