NOVEMBER 16 2020 / SILICONANGLE

Microsoft Corp. today announced a new range of features for its popular Teams service that are designed to provide an enhanced user experience.

Topping the list is support for 21 new Teams apps for meetings that integrate third-party support for external services and existing Microsoft services.

The 21 new Teams apps for meetings include support for Asana Inc., Bigtincan Holdings Ltd., Buncee, Decisions LLC, Monday.com, HireVue Inc., Phenom People Inc., Pigeonhole, Microsoft Forms, Lucid Agreements, Polly, Sli.do s.r.o, Wakelet Ltd., Range Labs Inc., Priority Matrix, QBO Insights, SurveyMonkey Inc., xMatters Inc., Soapbox Innovations Inc., Talview Inc. and Teamflect Inc.

In an example given by Microsoft, many customers use Asana in Teams chat and channels to manage projects and track tasks. Using the new Asana Teams app, users can now add the Asana app into their Teams meeting invite so that during a meeting, they can easily create new action items. After the meeting, all those who had participated in the Teams meeting can see the action items in the project plan and start working through them.

Similarly, the integration with Slido enables users to employ the service within a Teams meeting to conduct live polls, quizzes and Q&A sessions within Microsoft Teams itself.

The second announcement was the introduction of “Power” tools in general availability after a previously closed beta test. The tools include the Power Apps app that offers a maker studio where uses can manage app data and connections as well as building and modifying an app interface. There’s also Power Automate, which offers a simplified workflow design and templates. Finally, Power Virtual Agents allow users to build, deploy and manage code bots that can assist users with things such as information technology help desk, operations FAQs and human resources issues.

Project Oakdale, previously known as Dataflex for Teams until Microsoft was forced to drop the name following a threat of legal action in August, has returned to Microsoft Teams under the new name of Dataverse for Teams. The service encourages Teams developers to build more applications directly within the Teams collaboration platform. The service offers a low-code data platform that’s also designed to improve application lifecycle management and allow greater control over the data used to build apps, bots and workflows in Teams.

The new services and support announced by Microsoft will assist Teams in its ongoing battle for online meeting supremacy. As of Oct. 27, Teams had 115 million active daily users, up from 75 million reported six months prior. The service competes directly with the likes of Slack Technologies Inc. as well as with Google LLC and Zoom Video Communications Inc., with Slack the closest in terms of features.

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