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Microsoft Teams plethora of updates eclipse Zoom


Microsoft Teams has been making a success of the global pandemic, releasing an onslaught of product enhancements, leaving competitor Zoom to fuss over ongoing security issues.

28th Aug 2020
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Unlike rival Zoom, Microsoft has been busy expanding its ecosystem, adding wave after wave of new features and updates in a bid to build an all-encompassing cloud communications hub for Teams.

Most recent to the enhancement deluge has been the updates to Teams for iPhones and Android smartphones, hitting the market last week. 

Android updates include gallery image upload and search function within Android chats and channels, new meeting link generation to send to non Teams users, and an additional Safe key setting.

Apple versions have been updated to Version 2.0.19 which now include the ability to simultaneously view eight call participants (2x4) on an iPhone, and nine callers (2x2) on an iPad. The iOS Teams update also enables users to view, join, edit and share upcoming meeting agendas. iOS also now offers video calling at reduced data usage.

Here is a rundown of the rest of this summer’s many releases from Microsoft teams.

Microsoft Dataflex

Microsoft Teams recently added the pièce de résistance to its ever-expanding communication empire by upgrading its automation facilities with built-in database Microsoft Dataflex

Dataflex pools governance framework Common Data Service resources, central to Microsoft Power Platform, collating Office 365, Azure and Dynamics. Already a feature of Microsoft Dataflex Pro and fully integrated within Power Platform, Dataflex now brings these resources to Teams so custom data tables can be built to for full data management.

All available data types are now integrated with Teams custom apps, AI chatbots and workflow automation with optional additional AI capabilities offering predictive analysis, key phrase extraction and category classification. Power Platform also now offers the extraction of external data sources. 

Microsoft Teams announcements

Microsoft Teams also recently announced a new Power BI app, integrating Power BI reports and the new Microsoft Lists into Teams. 

Functioning similarly to a spreadsheet and integrated within Teams, the rollout of Microsoft Lists enables users to track information and organise workflows, including templates for tracking issues, assets, routines, contacts and inventory. Currently with eight ready-made templates, Lists will be available in Microsoft Teams this month with three additional industry templates – Lists mobile app for iOS is expected later this year.

Apps and services can now also be integrated within Teams meetings, giving third-party developers the ability to spruce up video meets with a whole host of add-ons. Add-on can be integrated fully within the meeting, or as a separate tab or side panel.

Teams Admin Center now allows admins to deploy and manage a fleet of devices, including improvements across device set-up, bulk management tasks, and health monitoring. Larger businesses can now control their Teams infrastructure and incorporate other services or cloud-based managed service through Microsoft Teams Rooms Premium.

Security features

New security features from Microsoft includes endpoint data loss prevention, enhanced capabilities for defending against insider threats and detections from code of conduct policy violations.

The recent public preview of the new Endpoint Data Loss Prevention (DLP), which extends data loss prevention to devices, builds on Microsoft Information Protection. Endpoint DLP extends existing DLP facilities in Microsoft 365 to users devices to meet compliance requirements and protect sensitive information.

Insider Risk Management and Communication Compliance has been upgraded in Microsoft 365 to intelligently flag potentially risky behaviour, and now includes new policy templates to customise thresholds, and has improved its remediation workflows to push alerts to other systems like Microsoft Azure Sentinel.

Microsoft Azure Sentinel also has an upgraded pinpointing and analysis of threats to the organisation, with several new third-party connectors across Sentinel to simplify security insights across networks, firewalls, endpoint protection and vulnerability management.

Time, talk, graph, print

Other Microsoft additions include the new Time Clock app, shift scheduling functions, Teams integrations for RealWear devices and the preview of push-to-talk app Microsoft Teams Walkie Talkie, operating on Android devices from selected partners.

Yammer Communities is now available in Teams mobile app, with Yammer having undergone a recent design refresh.

Microsoft Graph can now add attributes to an individual’s profile card from Azure Active Directory – including their alias, employee ID, or a custom property. 

Microsoft has also revealed a preview of Universal Print, which enables the locating and printing of nearby print to nearby printers without needing to install specific drivers.

Soft engagement features

Other recent ‘soft’ communication engagement features released earlier this summer include:

  • Support for virtual backgrounds 
  • Together mode: uses AI tech to digitally transpose video call participants into a combined background as one, virtual room.
  • Emoji reactions
  • On-screen chat bubbles
  • AI dynamic optimisation of participants and shared content
  • Speaker attribution for live captions and transcripts
  • Video filters
  • Extension to check up on how call-participants are feeling

Collaboration, opposition

Partnerships and integrations, including Slack, Guru, have also added collaboration functionality that not native to Microsoft Team’s standalone product.

Microsoft’s onslaught of AI technologies is a huge challenge for Zoom which appears to be too busy with ongoing security issues and ‘Zoom fatigue’ to build competing features into its software.

However, Zoom has managed to launch its hardware as a service program for users to adopt IP telephony handsets or conference room systems for a monthly subscription. 

There has also been news of new Zoom Phone customer ITSM and enterprise workflow vendor ServiceNow in addition to an official Zoom/ServiceNow partnership.

If you are a user of Office and Azure, Teams is the obvious choice with its solid ecosystem of integrations, but for the eclectic choosers of tech with an array of different platform choices, the fight rages on between Microsoft Teams and Zoom.

Replies (1)

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By kevinringer
03rd Sep 2020 13:16

Teams is resource heavy. On older machines it really slows the PC down on startup. So much so, that I uninstall Teams then re-install it when I'm about to have a Teams meeting. I only have them once a fortnight so its not a problem and takes less time to install and uninstall compared to general reduction on boot etc. Teams ability to share documents which all team members can edit is really useful.

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