What is cooking for Teams 2020?

Year 2020 is here tomorrow. Or most likely – when you are reading this – it is no longer the dark/inspiring future but the exciting present day. I thought it would be nice to take a look what is cooking and boiling for Teams during next year.

But first, looking from 80s, 90s 00s and even during the last decade year 2020 seemed so far away – and it (or nearby years) has had a lots of iconic status in SciFi as well. Just think about the Blade Runner, Back to the Future, Neuromancer and many other fiction of the future that was written during 80s. What’s this gotta do with Teams then?

In Microsoft Teams we have

  • Video calls anywhere, any time. Either in mobile or using our laptop. With laptop with can blur our background and during 2020 we get to change background to out liking. Suddenly Blade Runner video call booth seems very old tech.
  • Accessing our organization’s data from anywhere – using just a handheld device. Even in Star Trek away team called to Enterprise crew to collect information. No Cortana nor search in their communicators.
  • Collaborating and working on documents with large teams.
  • Record our meetings and review & searching through the meeting transcript later.
  • Having live captions and online translations to connect with people you don’t even have a common language with. I grant, Star Trek universal translator does this better but still… this is extremely cool tech.
  • adding a bot to our meeting (remember that Build demo less than two years ago?) .
  • Digital whiteboard in every meeting. While this seems like a small feature, it opens up endless possibilities with it’s endless digital canvas.
  • Remote Assistant application with Hololens (Virtual Reality, yeah!)
  • .. and lots of other applications we can use to help us do better and connect to other systems
  • building our own apps .. even in minutes (PowerApps vs full applications)
  • Our applications can use AI.. (no, not the real self-aware AI of the SciFi but simulated intelligence anyway)
  • Bots and robotic applications to automate tasks and information flow & handling.
  • Protecting your data, not building walls (DLP, Sensitivity labels, Information protection, eDiscovery, MFA,..)
  • and a lots of more. Welcome to the inspiring tomorrow of 2020!

And of course – not all of these is backed up by Teams – but it is the User Interface we “jack into the worknet” and get things done. This technology has also reduced the need to print(or fax 😂 ) out information, carry physical media (blueprints, documentation, binders,.. reference books) with you or even travel – just like in a future scifi you can be present virtually. Thinking from the environmental point of view that is only a good thing: less pollution, less Blade Runner dark future vision.

And if you think about the list of features above.. 2019 was a rocking year for Microsoft Teams. Most of the list is already available or in a preview! And no, I didn’t even mention Private Channels in that list since security is of course there.

What’s cooking for Teams during 2020?

Just by looking the roadmap – what is ahead of us

  • Multiwindow meetings and chat. Ability to “spread out” your Teams to multiple monitors to get even more out of meetings is what I am looking forward. I know know, Skype had this earlier and you can do it via browser sessions (I do this all the time) but ability to it in Teams is a welcome addition. At first I was not too keen about this feature but after several discussions, seeing needs and thinking how it will change my work: I am happy it is coming out
  • Kaizala integration at the end of 2020. However this realizes into Teams, it is a step towards the future where working with different networks of people will only become easier and more Teams. The SMS sign-on was already announced at Ignite 2019 which would make a logging in way simpler for firstline workers.
  • Files and Link Sharing experience. More information in our fingertips, better and smarter sharing of information to others.
  • Taking conversation back and forth between Teams and Email.. Yes, it does sound confusing at first but when you think about it – it is less copy-paste and more about getting the message and information to the right audience.
  • Graph API improvements and additions. Presence API emerged to beta during December, for example.
  • Changing your background. While background blurring was a really useful feature (focus on speaker, reduce clutter of background, blurring your running kids) the switch to another background brings your meetings to next level is some cases: helping set the tone (office background, cafeteria, camping site, lake) or just plainly adding some fun or important information (company info / adding a save the date message, … ). I am really looking forward to this one so I can start reminding people to turn on their camera.
  • Cisco and Zoom integration with Teams Rooms… and managing meetings rooms from anywhere or automatically with Managed Meeting Rooms Service.
  • Firstline worker scenarios and apps. (a bit of overlap with Kaizala parts, but this is much more). Everyone will be using Teams.
  • New way to look into Tasks in Teams.
  • Virtual Consults
  • Managing and controlling applications via App Catalog
  • Yammer app in Teams – ability to reach out easily to your organization Outer Loop without switching off from Teams
  • and a lots more if you look into User Voice as well.

And those are just some pics from the roadmap that is already out. What this means for Teams? It is going to be the one interface for work even stronger than it is today. I predict that Teams will replace the “Intranet landing page” in many organizations during next couple of years – making that big change to thinking what is Intranet and how you access the corporate data. Advances like Fluid Framework, #YearOfYammer , Power Platform and SharePoint Framework will make the information, community, network and functionalities available in a ways not experienced (insert strong paced and inspirational scifi theme music here) before.

During #TeamsYear2020 I believe and hope we will be seeing more and more apps, better productivity, AI infusion increases, more integrated experience and and lots and lots of more. Teams is advancing and growing very fast (just take another look on the roadmap list! and it is not even a complete list!!) .

It is also important to remember that not all organizations and people have to use every features there is for Teams. User Adoption / getting the benefits for users and organizations is extremely important – Teams is about enabling people to achieve more and do better teamwork, it is not about features and long list of roadmap items.

Better Together to year 2020!

And course on this kind of article a good old “lotek” photo has it’s place. It is a good to remember to sit down for a moment, stare at flames, drink coffee and pause to think.

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