Microsoft Teams to have Cortana integration, other features

Microsoft Teams to have Cortana integration, other features

Microsoft Corp. today marked the first anniversary of its fast-growing Slack alternative becoming generally available with several major feature announcements centered on artificial intelligence.

The added integration with Cortana's digital voice assistance could give Microsoft an edge in its battle with Slack as the importance of voice-based computing in the workplace and within business productivity applications grows. Blurring is one approach to the issue.

Background video blur: Teams video will be able to blur video background to force attention on the speaker.

Teams is turning one this week, and Microsoft is looking to further improve the experience by adding inline message translation, as well as Cortana integration. With users in 181 Microsoft-defined markets around the world, the translation feature could get heavy use. Microsoft also said that all Skype Room Systems will now support Teams meetings as well.

Today, we are also announcing new enterprise-grade calling features in Teams, including consultative transfer and call delegation and federation. While the specifics are complicated and have a lot of dependencies on both Microsoft products and third-party infrastructure, Direct Routing will be a way for customers to use existing telephony infrastructure with Teams for calling.

Microsoft Teams will also be supported on Microsoft Surface Hub, to enhance Teams abilities in confined spaces and meeting rooms. Another interesting feature, cloud recording will allow "one-click meeting recordings" for participants to playback at any time.

Proximity meeting room detection: This feature will allow users to connect to nearby Teams-enabled meeting rooms.

Although they weren't reinforced on Monday, Microsoft has previously discussed a number of features coming by the end of June. This will be available for enterprise customers in the second half of 2018.

Microsoft announced the chat-based workspace in Office 365 which is known as "Microsoft Teams" back in March 2017.

New hardware integrations: Previous partners Logitech, Crestron, and Polycom are being joined by HP and Lenovo in offering Teams-integrated hardware.

New bridges for telecoms from BlueJeans, Pexip and Polycom and new desk phones from AudioCodes and Yealink are being added to the compatibility list and new phone stations from Plantronics are also coming aboard.

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