Ignite Nov ’21: Microsoft Teams adds Shared channels, chat features and new broadcasting capabilities

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Microsoft is kicking off its Inspire November 2021 conference this morning, and the Redmond giant has announced some exciting updates for Microsoft Teams. The popular collaboration service is getting a slew of new features and capabilities focused on improving chat, meetings, webinars, and other experiences.

New Chat features

In early 2022, Microsoft plans to launch some new chat features to support asynchronous collaboration within organizations. Just like Outlook, Microsoft Teams will let users schedule a message in a chat, something that wasn’t possible before. The app will soon support new search results UI and over 800 3D emoji chat reactions. Meanwhile, a new Chat density feature will let users customize the number of messages displayed in the chat window.

New Webinar features and broadcasting capabilities

For meeting organizers, Microsoft Teams has released new webinar and broadcasting capabilities to help deliver more professional and engaging live events. A new Q&A experience is now in public preview, and it will allow presenters and organizers to moderate and dismiss questions, pin posts, filter responses, and more.

A new Co-organizer role is also coming to Teams later this year and will provide an option to assign up to 10 organizers to meetings and webinars. Additionally, Microsoft Teams is getting a new integration with Cvent, a popular third-party events & hospitality management platform that should make it easier for organizers to manage registration and agendas.

New Meetings features and Shared channels

The software giant is also announcing some enhancements coming to the Teams meeting experience: Meeting organizers will now be able to assign roles while scheduling the meeting as well as track the order in which virtual hands were raised by the participants. The Teams mobile app will also get an updated overflow menu that will help users to access the most frequently used actions.

For other customers using Microsoft Teams Room devices, the direct guest join feature will support joining BlueJeans and GoToMeeting meetings in the first half of 2022. Microsoft also announced today new Teams-certified devices including Yealink deskVision AIO24 and Logitech Tap Scheduler.

Another important update coming to Microsoft Teams is support for Shared channels, which will allow Teams users to collaborate with external partners and clients across multiple organizations. In Shared channels, employees will be able to use apps, meetings, chat, 1:1 calls, share content, and co-author documents with external users in real-time. Microsoft plans to release this feature in public preview in early 2021.

Microsoft Viva and other updates

Microsoft Viva, the company’s new employee experience platform within Teams is now generally available. That includes the four Viva modules (Viva Connections, Viva Insights, Viva Topics, and Viva Learning), which can now be purchased with just one plan, the Microsoft Viva Suite available at a promotional price of $9 per user per month. Early adopters will also get access next year to Ally.io, a new module that should make it easier for employees to manage their goals management.

This integration will be in addition to the existing Insights, Learning, and Topics modules. Microsoft has also announced the general availability of Viva Learning as well as 21 new partner integrations in Viva, including SAP SuccessFactors and ServiceNow. Microsoft’s Ignite 2021 conference is just getting started, and the Redmond giant also announced big updates for its Microsoft 365 apps and Azure this morning.