Improve virtual meetings and bring consultations online—here’s what’s new to Microsoft 365

What a month it’s been. In just a few weeks, the way we work and live has changed. Our customers’ needs have never been clearer, or more urgent than they are right now. And our top priority is to help you meet those needs by building the tools that help you enable your employees to work remotely; helping you find the right digital tools to transform your in-person events into virtual ones; and securing organizational assets to help you protect your business, even in challenging times.

This month, we have new features and capabilities designed to help keep your business moving during COVID-19 and beyond. New capabilities in Microsoft Teams, for instance, help you host more effective, inclusive, and focused online meetings and offer virtual solutions for one-on-one consultations. A crisis management site in SharePoint helps your organization quickly share information during emergencies. And an improved search experience in Outlook allows you to quickly find what you need in your email and calendar.

Below, we will get into all the Microsoft 365 news this month. But before we do, I want to once again point you to the monthly Modern Workplace podcast. This time, host Alex Bradley and I chat about what we’ve learned about remote work, both from our experiences at Microsoft and the experiences of our customers. Have a listen.

Host more inclusive, focused, online meetings

This month, we announced a host of new Teams capabilities that reflect our commitment to two things: building the very best online meeting experience for our customers and bringing technological solutions to Firstline Workers and healthcare employees.

We’ve all been in a remote meeting when a participant is loudly typing on their keyboard, or someone is sitting near a vacuum running in the background. Real-time noise suppression minimizes distracting background noise, allowing you to hear what’s being said.

In large meetings, it can sometimes be difficult for remote participants to chime in. The raise hand feature lets anyone in the meeting send a visual signal that they have something to say.

Industrial workers need to communicate and collaborate effectively while staying safe. Through a new integration between Teams and RealWear head-mounted devices, Firstline Workers will be able to access information and communicate hands-free with remote experts from their job site.

Conducting virtual meetings is a common requirement for situations such as healthcare patient consults, client meetings, or job candidate interviews. Announced earlier this month, the Bookings app in Teams makes it easy to schedule, manage, and conduct virtual appointments.

Teams will soon enable you to pop out chats into a separate window to help you streamline your workflow and navigate more easily between ongoing conversations.

Offline and low-bandwidth support lets you read chat messages and write responses, even without an internet connection, making it easier for you to move things forward no matter where you are.

We’re also adding new devices certified for Teams. The Yealink VC210, now generally available, delivers a meeting experience for smaller conference rooms that are simple to install and manage. In addition, the Bose Noise Cancelling headphones 700 UC will be available for purchase in late spring.

Finally, Microsoft 365 Business Voice in Teams is now available in the U.S., enabling small and mid-sized businesses to make and receive phone calls from anywhere. We also have a new Microsoft 365 Enterprise plan lineup that includes additional licensing options for Firstline Workers.

Check out new Microsoft 365 offerings for small and medium-sized businesses

This month, we debuted Microsoft 365 Personal and Family, an evolution from our Office 365 for individuals and families offering. We also announced named changes to several of our small and medium-sized business and enterprise offerings. Office 365 Business Essentials is now Microsoft 365 Business Basic; Office 365 Business Premium is now Microsoft 365 Business Standard, and Microsoft 365 Business is now Microsoft 365 Business Premium. Meanwhile, Office 365 Business and Office 365 ProPlus will be called Microsoft 365 Apps. While today this is a change in name only, we’re excited about the new apps and services we’ve added to our subscriptions over the last few years and the new innovations we’ll be adding in the coming months. These changes reflect our ambition to continue to drive innovation in Microsoft 365 that goes well beyond what customers traditionally think of as Office.

Respond to emergency events

Quickly build an emergency management site to connect people and information—Unexpected events like COVID-19 highlight the importance of establishing and keeping the lines of communication open. A new crisis management site in SharePoint enables your organization to consolidate news, related resources, and topical Q&A in response to emergency events in under two hours. Just head to your SharePoint start page and select Create site > Communication site to start configuring news, links, Q&As, site navigation, highlighted people, and more.

Connect and collaborate with new app updates

We’re announcing new app updates to help streamline conversations, create professional content, and maximize productivity.

Engage with Yammer conversations directly within your inbox—The new interactive Yammer emails in Outlook on the web enable users to interact with Yammer conversations, polls, and questions and deliver praise. Now you can see the full Yammer thread and reply, like, vote, attach files, share GIFs, and even watch videos right from your inbox. These features are now available to all Enterprise tenants with releases in Outlook for Windows, Outlook for Mac, and Outlook for iOS and Android coming next quarter.

Create professional-looking content more easily with Office mobile—You can now view and edit data in Excel in a simple, digestible card format, eliminating the need to span across columns that extend beyond the limits of the screen. Also new to Office mobile, PowerPoint Designer helps you create professional presentations with design, formatting, and iconography ideas for your content. These features will be available in the next few months in the Office app for Android and iOS.

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