This week, we’re taking a look at its video and voice chat (VoIP) features. Because the VoIP function in Teams is built on what used to be Microsoft’s Skype for Business, it’s user-friendly and reliable.
You can say far more in one minute of talking than one minute of typing in an email or chat message. For many teams, voice contact with other team members makes work easier, especially if those within the team need to collaborate on a single document. However, during working from home or remote working scenarios, this is obviously not possible. There are a multitude of apps that you can use to stay in contact with the rest of your team, but Teams streamlines this by enabling you to make voice calls directly from the desktop or mobile app, where all of your other information is. If your organisation has Microsoft Phone System set up, you can also use this function to call people even if they’re not on Teams, as you would call them on a normal phone line.
VoIP on Teams can be used on the app or with the desktop client. It’s easy to set up and use within minutes to help you get connected to your team. Voice conversations can be one-on-one, or with multiple people at once in a conference call.
Far and away one of the most used and most talked about features of Teams is its video conferencing feature. Up to 250 people can be in one conversation, and not everyone needs to use video – some can use only voice if they wish. Again, since it’s built on the foundations of Skype for Business, the video chat functionality in Teams is easy to use and reliable (although obviously dependant on the internet connection of the user!).
You can blur your background or replace it entirely with a different image from a selection given by Microsoft – there is, reportedly, a function to allow people to use their own custom backgrounds in the works.
The ability to see people’s faces when we talk to them is something that a lot of people overlook, until it’s no longer possible. Facial cues and expressions can be shared as well as information; misunderstandings are less likely, and personal connections are better – often leading to a more productive and better functioning team.
Next week, we’ll be having a look at some of the options for connecting external apps and services to the Microsoft Teams platform.