For those that have been following updates on Microsoft Teams, you will have seen that Microsoft have now released their public roadmap for Microsoft Teams. This roadmap is targeted at exposing the features and indicative dates, that will begin to bring Microsoft Teams service and client, up to the mature level that its communication cousin (Skype for Business) has been at for a while now.
Having used Microsoft Lync from its initial release, through to its transition into Skype for Business and having used Ms Teams for several months now, I am an advocate of the new client and completely understand the direction. Overall, its ability to consolidate my most frequently used apps, services and files mean that I can work both within my team and alone in a much more efficient manner – all being wrapped by the client’s communication capabilities. In this post, I am going to highlight my top 5 most anticipated features.
The roadmap can be found here – https://aka.ms/skype2teamsroadmap
More information can be found on the constantly updated Office 365 Roadmap website here (filtered for teams).
The following list, in descending order, are personally my most anticipated features:
- Cloud Recording
Microsoft Teams allows us to create ad-hoc or schedule meetings and use a rich set of applications during those meetings. The ability to record and subsequently share those meetings later is something we can do in Skype for Business (albeit local storage). Bringing this functionality into Teams will help us to capture those rich feature set meetings and later share or publish for later playback.
- 1:1 to group escalation
In Skype for Business, if I make a call to a PSTN endpoint and then later wish to escalate this conversation to include additional participants (Skype users or PSTN), I can do this. This is something that we cannot currently do in Microsoft Teams but will be a great addition, enabling us to take a 1:1 conversation (that my be focused around a specific document or application) and escalate to include another Teams, Skype for Business and/or PSTN participants.
- Federated Meetings
Federation was, is and will always continue to be a key feature and strength in Skype for Business. To quickly recap, federation is the ability for company A users, using Skype for Business, to communicate in a secure manner with users from Company B, using the rich unified communication feature set. This includes the ability to IM, view presence, schedule and initiate conferences, with granular control over what can be shared, controlled by each company’s respective IT department.
Teams is a great collaboration client and being able to include federated Teams users, from differing organisations into your meetings in a secure way is a feature I am looking forward to.
- Unified Presence
Quick recap on presence; presence is effectively my “availability to communicate”. I could be Available, Busy, In a Meeting, In a Conference call (and more). Some of these states are manually set, whilst in the field you will find that allowing integrated calendaring and the automatic presence state detection to ‘work its wonders’ is the most effective use of presence.
This almost took the top spot for me in the list, when I first began to use the Teams client alongside Skype for Business, my single biggest pain point was that the presence I displayed in Skype for Business was NOT consistent with my presence in Microsoft Teams and vice versa. So, this means that whilst I may be in a teams Conference call, to my Skype for Business colleagues (internal or external) I could potentially be displaying an ‘Available’ presence state.
- Hybrid Connection to Teams
Finally, hybrid PSTN connectivity to MS Teams!
As it stands today, we have full control over who becomes our telephony billing provider;
- Use an existing on premise PSTN connection with all existing numbers assigned to that circuit assigned to users in Skype for Business.
- Port our numbers to the Microsoft Phone System platform, acquire the appropriate licensing, and allow Microsoft to become your telephony billing provider
This flexibility is something NOT available in teams at the time of writing. TO make and receive PSTN calls from the Microsoft Teams client, Office 365 homed users MUST be assigned both a Microsoft Phone System and Calling Plan license.
The release of the hybrid connection will give us the same flexibility currently available in Skype for Business.