Microsoft Details New Calling Features Coming to Teams This Year

This week, Microsoft is hosting its virtual Ignite conference where the company is outlining a bunch of new features that are coming to many of its platforms. To little surprise, Teams will be on the receiving end of many updates as the company’s collaboration tool continues to be the backbone of the modern Microsoft 365 environment.

Announced this week are a number of updates coming to the Calling experience that will make it easier to view and interact with the old-school method of actually dialing digits to communicate with other humans.  Later this year we should see an enhanced calling view that makes it easier to view contacts, voicemail, and calling history at once, making it easier to initiate or return a call with a single click.

Other enhancements announced this week include:

  • Collaborative Calling, which enables customers to connect a Call Queue to a Teams Channel. Users can collaborate and share information in the channel while taking calls in the queue. This feature is ideal for scenarios such as an IT help desk or HR hotline. IT admins can quickly connect call queues to specific channels, and team owners can manage the settings.
  • Updates for 1:1 calls. These include transcription, live captions, recording and the ability to transfer between Teams mobile and desktop apps. Transcripts and recordings are saved in the chat window after a call. These features can be enabled via the control bar within the Call window.
  • Microsoft Teams display, a new category of all-in-one dedicated Teams devices that feature an ambient touchscreen and a hands-free experience powered by Cortana, will be generally available in the coming weeks. With natural language, users can ask Cortana to join and present in meetings, dictate replies to a Teams chat and more.
  • For customers looking to modernize their phones, Microsoft is working with AudioCodes, Poly and Yealink to bring a new line of affordable Microsoft Teams phones designed for common areas. In addition, the portfolio of Teams devices is expanding with new USB peripherals that have dial pads and a modern Teams user interface.

As with all things Microsoft 365, when these features are released and when they will show up in your tenant are two different things. For now, the list above shows what’s on the horizon and for those that are heavy into using the phone functionality of Teams, these will be solid updates.