During Microsoft Ignite 2023 event, the company’s annual conference for IT professionals, a host of exciting updates have been revealed for Teams, its Slack-like collaboration and messaging service.
Among the dozens of updates here, some of the highlights are the initial rollout of Voice Isolation, an AI-driven noise reduction feature that can not only reduce repetitive noise in the background but also voices from others, and a new “decorate your background” feature. feature that can examine the room you’re working in and then improve it by cleaning out clutter or adding plants to the wall.
“Decorate your background” will surely make headlines. It seems like users will be able to choose different types of improvements for their work environment, but the real promise here is that you’ll never have to clean your home office again (until someone invites you to a Google Meet or Slack call, of course).
The voice isolation feature is rolling out and will be generally available in early 2024, while “decorate your background” will be available early next year in Teams Premium.
Meanwhile, Microsoft also announced that Immersive Spaces in Teams, a holdover from the metaverse hype of 2021, would be generally available in January, allowing users to create avatars to attend these meetings in various 3D environments and play games. interactive games, roasting virtual marshmallows and throwing beanbags (yes, these are things Microsoft specifically mentions in its announcement).
Microsoft Mesh, its tool for creating these immersive spaces, will also be available in January.
I hope you never have to use any of this.
Some of the most useful new features, however, are customizable emoji reactions, the ability to transfer chats, create a group chat profile photo, and add a second private phone number for a select set of callers . There are also new keyboard shortcuts (Alt+Shift+D to set your status to Do Not Disturb, for example) and new tools to help IT manage teams more effectively.
Earlier this year, Microsoft launched a redesigned Teams app for Windows and Mac. Now the web experience on Edge and Chrome will also benefit from some of these benefits, with Microsoft promising to double performance while using 50% less memory.
For more Microsoft Ignite 2023 coverage:
This story was originally published at 8:00 a.m. PT on November 15 and updated at 3:10 p.m. PT.