Employees working remotely can now meet in a conference room or coffee shop without leaving the comfort of home thanks to Microsoft Teams Together Mode. Using AI, Microsoft places an avatar of each videoconference participant in the virtual setting. This exceeds the conferencing features in other video meeting applications such as Zoom, Cisco Webex Teams, and Slack.
Wave at other participants, give them a digital high five or tap your neighbor on the shoulder for fun. Since the AI imposes just the head and shoulders, you lose the distraction caused by the backgrounds in coworkers’ kitchens, living rooms, and home offices.
Previously, the raise hand feature showed a hand icon to let team hosts know someone wanted to speak. Together Mode outlines the participant who wants to say something in yellow. Overall, the update is designed to help users feel more connected than traditional panel video displays.
Krystal Triumph with Atlantic-IT.net in New Jersey shares more about Microsoft Teams Together Mode.
How Can Hosts Turn On Teams Together Mode?
Update Microsoft Teams to the latest version to ensure you have access to all features. You can also download the latest build from Microsoft. After logging into your Teams profile, click on the user icon. Under the Settings General tab, toggle on New Meeting Experience.
NOTE: If this option doesn’t appear, check with your IT team to see when you can get the new version. If you’re working from your home PC, your internal Microsoft admin should be able to walk you through the update.
Next, join or create a meeting. Once the meeting begins, you can choose the Together mode under Options …
Microsoft Teams transposes images of each person into the Virtual meeting room.
How Many People Can Participate in Together Mode?
Only the host can turn on Together mode and it supports a minimum of five and a maximum of 49 participants.
What Changes Are Still Expected?
Microsoft has stepped up to the plate to answer the needs of users amidst a global pandemic, getting a jump on the competition in the meantime. More features will roll out before the end of 2020, including the following:
- The mobile version will integrate Cortana. You can ask Cortana to share files, send chat messages, or join a meeting.
- Lenovo and Yealink are working on Microsoft Teams displays that include hands-free operation via Cortana.
- The chat feature will include a bubble that appears at the top of the screen.
Will Live Transcripts Arrive Soon?
Microsoft has been working on adding live transcripts for a while. This will include a transcript file attached to a recorded meeting. Ultimately, Microsoft wants to have live transcription. However, the application won’t be able to distinguish individuals participating as a group from a single location.
Microsoft hopes to incorporate translations into Microsoft Teams soon. This may eventually include live translations.
What Best Practices Should the Host Implement?
Not every meeting requires video. However, if you call a meeting for collaborative and teambuilding purposes, ask everyone to turn on their camera. It might be a good idea to put together a training video to ensure everyone knows how to use the new features.
If it’s the first time you’re conducting a meeting in Together Mode, review how to use the new features, share files and raise a hand.