Microsoft Teams unleashes a flood of new features for video meetings

Video conferences are the in thing these days and almost everyone is trying to grab a piece of that juicy pie. Originally designed to take on Slack, Microsoft's Teams platform has now jumped on board a train that Slack has so far been unable to catch up with. As use cases for video meetings grow, so, too, is the demand for new features to make organizers' and attendees' lives easier. Microsoft Teams is now making a big splash with a dozen or so new features both to help reduce meeting fatigue but probably also increasing it as well.

Zoom has popularized the video conferencing format and has even popularized the way people can mask their rooms or locations with sometimes nonsensical backgrounds. While interesting for a short while, Microsoft believes that some people would prefer seeing themselves in a more natural setting together with other participants. That's what the Together Mode tries to offer, putting your busts in virtual meeting rooms, libraries, or school auditoriums.

Microsoft is extending Teams with quite a number of features, from being able to use emojis to share a reaction to supporting up to 1,000 active participants. Teams is also integrating with Microsoft's task management services in a single Tasks app and is putting Cortana at your beck and call.

More interesting, perhaps, is the company's announcement of a new class of devices designed just for virtual meetings. Starting with the Lenovo ThinkSmart View, Microsoft Teams Displays will offer an all-in-one solution for all your video conferencing needs in a dedicated device that leaves you free to use your computer even in the middle of a call.

Microsoft Teams has definitely grown by leaps and bounds in the past few months, partly thanks to the growing demand for online collaboration and even online learning. Of course, this also puts it at odds with Microsoft's other voice and video collaboration tool, Skype, and it might just be a matter of time before one gives way to the other.