Microsoft shares new usage numbers on Teams, announces new Education features

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Microsoft Teams is one of the few apps that has been seeing unprecedented growth since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. As expected, the software giant is striking the iron while it’s out by announcing new features and some interesting hard data about the team collaboration app.

Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365, shared today some highlights from Microsoft’s new Work Trend Index, a new research effort to understand how workers around the world interact with Microsoft’s productivity apps:

  • First of all, the number of weekly Microsoft Teams users on mobile grew more than 3x from early February to March 31.
  • Microsoft also saw Teams users turning on video in Teams meetings grow two times more than before, and the total number of Teams video calls also grew by over 1,000% in March.
  • The company recently noticed a new daily record of 2.7 billion meeting minutes in one day, which represents an increase of 200% from 900 million in mid-March.
  • China is one of the markets where Teams is growing very fast, and Redmond now sees more than two times the number new Teams users in China each day compared to end of January.

Microsoft Teams was already one the fastest-growing Microsoft 365 apps before the pandemic, but it has now clearly become one of the company’s main priorities for the next couple of months. “While there is no true replacement for in-person collaboration, we’re working harder than ever to quickly innovate to decrease pain points, increase human connection, and make work a bit more fun,” Spataro said today.

Those of you using Teams video calls frequently will be pleased to know that Custom background effects in video calls are now generally available starting today, according to the post. “This feature builds upon background blur, which uses AI to blur the environment behind you,” Spataro explained.

A raise hand feature to notify others in your Teams calls that you want to speak will also start rolling out this month, Spataro said today, and Microsoft also plans to improve your Teams calls with real-time noise suppression later this year. Lastly, Spataro announced two upcoming Education features for meeting organizers: an end meeting feature to end them for everyone in one click, as well as participant reports including join and leave times.