Microsoft’s New Teams, LinkedIn Features Focused on Hybrid Work

Microsoft has unveiled features for LinkedIn and Microsoft 365 designed to address needs of companies transitioning to hybrid work during.

CEO Satya Nadella said in a company statement the new capabilities are intended to make software and services more dynamic as the health crisis disrupts planned returns to the office.

Microsoft launched Teams Rooms, a conference room control platform paired with a rebranded release of Skype Room Systems, in 2019. After previewing earlier this year new AI-powered tools heading to Teams Rooms, Microsoft detailed a new category of intelligent cameras, powered by active speaker tracking, multiple video streams, and people recognition.

Active speaker tracking enables in-room Teams Room cameras to use audio, facial movements, and gestures to detect who in the room is speaking — and zoom in for a closer perspective. Multiple video streams allow in-room participants to be placed in their own video pane. And people recognition identifies and displays the profile name of enrolled users within their video pane.

Microsoft says all three features will be available to OEMs including Jabra, Poly, Neat, and Yealink in coming months and roll out as updates over the course of the next year.

Other new Teams features include Dynamic views, which automatically adjusts elements of the meeting so attendees can see the room and content better. There’s also updates to the Companion mode in the Teams mobile, which gives in-room attendees access quickly to engagement features like chat, live reactions, Whiteboard and meeting and device controls like the ability to join a meeting, cast a PowerPoint, mute the room, and turn room cameras on and off.

New apps in Teams meetings support real-time interaction, allowing participants to share and interact with app content in the meeting stage. Meanwhile, new lighting corrections, which will arrive in the coming months, are designed to help attendees show up in video-on meetings in low-light environments.

In PowerPoint, Microsoft is introducing a new feature called Cameo. Set to debut in 2022, Cameo integrates the Teams camera feed into a presentation, allowing the presenter to customize how and where he or she wants to appear with slides. Another new AI-powered feature, Speaker Coach — also set to launch next year — shares guidance on users’ pace, notifying them if they’re interrupting someone and reminding them to check in with their audience.

Another Teams capability unveiled is support for hot desking, which allows people to locate and reserve flexible workspaces in their offices. Employees can book spaces in advance using Outlook or Teams to access their personal Teams calendar, chats, meetings, and more.

Accompanying new Outlook RSVP and Working hours features let people specify whether they’ll attend in-person or online and allow them to include work schedule specifics in their calendars.

Teams displays can be used as a standalone device or second screen with the hot desking experience. Upon signing out, personal information is removed from the device. Microsoft says the Lenovo ThinkSmart View will support the feature by the end of 2021, ahead of the arrival of Working hours and RSVP early next year.

Finally, on the Teams front, Microsoft is adding support for Apple CarPlay. Users can join Teams meetings and make calls hands-free on the road in supported cars starting this month — Siri pulls up meetings when prompted.

On the LinkedIn side, the platform is rolling out dedicated job search filters to help surface remote, hybrid, and onsite opportunities. LinkedIn also will provide a space in company profiles where companies can specify whether open roles will require vaccination, and whether the company plans to migrate back to an office, stay remote, or go hybrid.


Photo by Microsoft