What’s New in Teams at Build 2020: Templates, Broadcasting, APIs, and More

This week, Microsoft’s Build conference is happening and the company is making announcements from updates to Windows development to new API features in Office. For users of Teams, and more specifically developers of apps for Teams, there are updates that you should know about.

Microsoft has announced new extensions for both Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code that will make it possible to build apps for Teams with the tools that you are already using. Using these extensions, you will be able to publish apps directly to AppSource or your own org’s app catalog.

With the new apps and functionality, there are also two new options for developers to utilize to make the use of apps easier inside of Teams:

  • Single sign-on will enable users to authenticate in one click for the apps they use in Teams.
  • The Teams Activity Feed API gives developers a new and simpler way to send app notifications to users across their devices.

When it comes to managing these new applications, IT admins will soon have access to a new area inside of the Teams admin center that will let you not only manage the application but also purchasing licenses as well. In this new interface, the admin will also validate and approve line-of-business applications and pre-install ISV or line-of-business apps for their users.

One other update for apps is that Microsoft is making changes to search and suggestions to help surface more relevant content for the user.

Coming later this year, Microsoft is improving Power Apps integration in Teams. New functionality includes the ability to automate the @mentioning and customized bot experience which should make it easier to use the Automate platform with Teams.

And once you have created a tool or app with Power Automate, creators will have a one-click “add to Teams” experience in Power Apps, Power BI, and Power Virtual Agents.

If you are setting up multiple teams/channels and have been hoping for a template you could use instead of manually creating the experience, that functionality is finally coming. The company says that templates for setting up teams are coming soon and will help eliminate the work of setting up a team from scratch.

When using a template, you will have options like industry-specific settings (hospital, bank, legal) as well as the template having predefined channels, apps, and guidance on how to utilize and customize it. But most importantly, admins will be able to create new templates and templatize exiting teams too; this should make spinning up new teams significantly easier.

But one of the biggest updates for creators that use Teams is NDI support and Skype TX interoperability. This is a big update that will make it easier to use Teams for live events and will make extracting video and audio from the tool much easier and allow it to be the new software-backbone for remote events and broadcasting. The company says this feature will arrive in June.

Other updates for teams include the Bookings app has now reached general availability and the Shifts management tool for scheduling has new triggers and templates coming this summer to improve workflows for those applications.

At a high level, these updates to Teams will help make the collaboration hub more flexible and easier to use for large environments. While not all of the features are available today, by the end of June, most of the functionality should be available.