Microsoft unveils new Teams features in September update

Jane McCallion

2 Oct, 2019

Microsoft has made several updates to its flagship Teams collaboration platform, including new third-party software integrations and improvements to calls and meetings.

A common complaint about enterprise collaboration and chat platforms – such as Slack, Facebook Workplace and others – is that they can be disruptive to workflow, with instant messaging fostering a feeling that users are obliged to provide an instant reply.

Microsoft seems to have taken this issue onboard with the September Teams update.

In a blog post, the company debuted selective muting for channels. Users can mute specific conversations within a given channel if they need to concentrate, with the ability to turn notifications back on when they’re ready. Similarly, if they’ve hidden or muted a channel, they can opt to receive notifications from a particular conversation in it without reactivating the entire thing.

There’s also new activity filters in Chat. For example, a user can search for a colleague’s name and they will be presented with every group and meeting they have in common, as well as one-to-one chats. They can then add additional filters, such as unread messages only. The same type of filtering can also be applied to group chats and the teams list.

There are also several new features in calling and meetings. Users can now send incoming calls directly to Cloud Voicemail, and also make calls through Chrome if they’re using Teams on the web rather than through the app.

There’s also the ability to start a meeting instantly, rather than schedule it ahead of time, and a lightweight ‘meeting join’ capability for people using Internet Explorer, Safari and Firefox.

There’s good news for Lucidchart users too, with the data visualisation company’s app now supporting messaging extensions, link unfurling and collaboration permissions in Teams. This builds upon last year’s release of a Lucidchart app that made document editing and sharing possible within Teams. More details on the enhancements can be found on the Microsoft Teams blog.

Notable by its absence, however, is cross channel posting. This was teased in July, with the promise it would be “coming soon”, however it seems that soon is not yet now.