Microsoft on Monday announced new features for its business messaging app Microsoft Teams on the occasion of its first anniversary. On the occasion, the business communication app also announced that over 200,000 organisations in 181 international markets are using Microsoft Teams in 39 languages. This figure is up from 125,000 organisations in September. These include major corporations such as General Motors, Macy's, and NASCAR.
Rival Slack had in September said it had 6 million daily users and more than 50,000 paying teams. It hasn't released new figures since. Slack also appears to have a significant headstart when it comes to third-party app integrations, offering over 1,000 compared to 250 for Teams. New features for the platform will include cloud recognition with facial recognition, inline message translation, Cortana integration for Teams-enabled devices, background blur capabilities in video chat, proximity detection to aid Teams Meetings, and easy mobile sharing during meetings. These features will reflect in the service later this year. Apart from that, Microsoft is also partnering with several calling and meeting room device manufacturers to expand compatibility.
As we mentioned, Microsoft Teams is set to unveil a ton of new features in 2018 - highlighted by message translation and Cortana integration. With the new inline message translation feature, employees can converse in different languages by using the built-in translation feature in Microsoft Teams. Further, virtual assistant Cortana will soon get support for IP phones and conference room devices. Another interesting feature, cloud recording will allow "one-click meeting recordings" for participants to playback at any time. Facial recognition will also be rolled out soon to attribute remarks to specific individuals.
Microsoft Teams will add support for the Redmond giant's Surface Hub all-in-one team collaboration machine. The platform is also partnering with Lenovo and HP to enhance audio and video experience for Teams users. New desk, conference, and mobile devices from brands like AudioCodes, Yealink, and Plantronics will run native Microsoft Teams apps.
New enterprise-level upgrades to Microsoft Teams include the new Direct Routing feature that will allow customers to use existing telephony infrastructure for calling. This will be available for enterprise customers in the second half of 2018.