December’s updates to Microsoft Teams phones
Microsoft has been rolling out a wide selection of updates to the Microsoft Teams experience lately, whether you use Teams Collaboration, Meetings, or Phones. For those in the Teams Phones landscape, Microsoft’s recent updates for December 2020 focus on helping companies to access the features they prefer on the devices that they like to use.
The new enhancements connect the features that users love in Teams Meetings with the Teams phone app to keep users feeling secure and productive. Here’s what appeared in December.
Microsoft Teams phones support a new video layout with large gallery view, 3×3 gallery view, and support for Together Mode. This allows users to see up to 8 meeting participants on 3×3, or 49 participants in large gallery mode. Microsoft notes that regardless of which video meeting style you choose, you can enable background blur to reduce distractions.
Certain models of touch screen audio phones with the correct hardware requirements will also be able to see content presented during calls and meetings with screensharing in this new update. Plus, users will now have the option to access the “meet now” button in their calendar interface on a suitable phone to easily start meetings.
From desktop clients, hosts will be able to pin individual feeds for all attendees to view during Teams meetings, the video spotlighted will be the main video the phone user sees on their screen. There’s also a new request to speak feature. The hard mute feature on Teams allows users to prevent other attendees from unmuting themselves. This is something you can switch on and off within a meeting when attendees raise their hand to speak.
Beyond meeting functionality, Microsoft also announced the arrival of some interesting updates to Teams hardware. Sidecar support is now in Beta mode, providing users with an efficient way to track and reach frequently used contacts on their desk phone.
These sidecars included hardware buttons that you can connect to your speed dial contacts. Users can select and pin names of contacts into the screen of the sidecar to make calls with just one click. It’s clear whether contacts are available or not with a glance thanks to LED indicators. Sidecar functionality is now available with the AudioCodes C450D and the Yealink EXP50.
Microsoft Teams as a phone application is now ready to deploy into the Government GCC space for Microsoft Teams as part of the recent update. Microsoft also announced the arrival of policy changes that enable/disable BetterTogether and HomeScreen on Microsoft Teams phones.
Finally, the last update for Phones was the arrival of ‘proximity-based meeting join’ for available Microsoft Teams conference phones. The client on your mobile and PC will now be able to detect the proximity of a conference phone via the beacon transmitted on that device. This allows users to add phones to the meeting from a pre-join screen easily. When a conference phone is added to the meeting, the phone also accepts the request automatically.