What’s New in Microsoft Teams | December 2021

Welcome to the December edition of the What’s New in Teams blog. We have a lot of exciting news for you, including new updates on meeting capabilities and layout updates to make the most of your device screen’s real estate. We’re also excited to announce updates to create hot desk features. Two of the biggest announcements for this month include Dynamic 911 capabilities for U.S.-based users and end-to-end encryption. In addition to these new security features for our users, there’s much more!

Let’s jump in!


Chat and Collaboration


Security and Compliance


Teams Phone

Each month our Product Marketing Manager Aisha Miller will highlight a few features from the blog for you to see in action.


Order of raised hands

Ensure that all voices are heard and people feel seen just as in person by seeing the order of raised hands in a meeting. Simply click on the Participants panel to see who raised their hand and in what order. Now you know the order of who to call on first to speak so that no participant is missed.

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Teams meeting recordings

Recording meetings in Teams allows you to review what you may have missed and helps others who could not attend catch up on their own time. Over the past year, we’ve shifted to saving new Teams meeting recordings to OneDrive and SharePoint to provide better control and sharing options. We’ve also added a number of improvements including:

  • Multi-speed playback – Now you can watch recordings at slower and faster speeds (0.5x up to 2x)
  • High-quality transcripts – Transcripts now have speaker attribution for meetings that have Teams Live Transcription turned on
  • Indexed recordings – Recorded meetings are indexed into easier-to-consume segments based on slide transitions
  • Auto-recording – Meeting owners can set meetings to automatically start recording
  • Auto-expiration – Coming soon, admins will be able to set a default number of days after which newly created Teams meeting recordings will be sent to the recycle bin.

Operator Connect Conferencing

Operator Connect Conferencing is now generally available. Using the same administrator interface as Operator Connect, this service allows tenant admins to add participating operator dial-in numbers to a Teams audio conferencing bridge. You can keep your existing contract with any of the participating operators or select from a list of partners within the Operators tab in the Teams admin center.

The initial wave of qualified operators includes BT, Deutsche Telekom, Intrado, NTT, Orange Business Services, T-Mobile, and Telenor. Expect a seamlessly integrated experience today, with additional qualified operators to be added over the next year. Learn more about Operator Connect Conferencing.

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Chat and Collaboration

Add description to images in chat

Make your Teams messages more accessible to people with disabilities by adding alternative text to images. Similar to adding alternative text in Outlook, you now can add descriptions to images in Teams chat messages by right-clicking on the image and selecting “Add alt text.” This enables people who use screen readers to understand the full content of your message, even if they can’t see the image. Learn more about adding alt text.


Meeting room capacity notifications for Microsoft Teams Rooms on Windows
Teams Rooms can now notify in-room meeting participants if the room is over capacity. IT admins can define meeting room capacity for each Teams Room account and, using data from meeting room cameras that support people-counting, identify how many people are in a room. A banner will automatically appear at the top of the front of room screen to alert participants if the room is over capacity.

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Split video layout across multiple screens for Teams Rooms on Windows
Maximize screen real estate in a Teams Room with the ability to split the video gallery across all available displays when content isn’t being shared. Better utilizing the additional space can help focus attention on people joining remotely for a more inclusive and engaging meeting.

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Hot Desking on Teams display

Hot desking on Microsoft Teams display allows employees to quickly locate and reserve flexible workspaces to touch down, make calls, set up ad-hoc meetings, or sign in to access their personalized Teams experience. With hot desking, employees can reserve a workspace in advance through Teams and Microsoft Outlook, or right from their device if they’re already in the office.

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Jabra PanaCast 20
The Jabra PanaCast 20 is a premium personal video conferencing device designed for a next-generation collaboration experience. Intelligent, secure, and portable, it comes equipped with a 13-megapixel camera enabling 4K Ultra HD video quality along with powerful Edge AI processing driving Intelligent Zoom, intelligent lighting optimization, and picture-in-picture features. Learn more.

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Poly Studio Room Kit for Microsoft Teams Rooms on Windows

Poly Studio Room Kits for focus and small- to medium-sized rooms are now available for Microsoft Teams Rooms on Windows with the Poly GC8 Console with Dell Optiplex 7080 and the Poly GC8 Console with Lenovo Thinksmart Core. The room kits provide a powerful Poly DirectorAI experience with auto-camera framing technology with Poly Studio P15 (focus) and Poly Studio USB camera (small-medium), as well as room-filling audio and noise-reducing technologies such as Poly NoiseBlockAI and Acoustic Fence.

Security and Compliance

End-to-end encryption (E2EE) option for one-to-one Teams calls
We are happy to announce that E2EE for one-to-one Teams calls is now generally available. IT admins have the option to enable and control the feature for their organizations once they receive the update. For more information, please see our Tech Community blog.


Breakout room managers’ support
Meeting organizers can extend the management of breakout rooms to presenters. By taking control from the breakout rooms management panel, appointed presenters will be able to perform breakout room operations as managers or meeting organizers and join rooms as a breakout room manager. Only participants who are named as presenters can be appointed as breakout room managers. Previously available in GCC, this feature is now coming to GCC-High and DOD. Learn more.

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Teams Phone

Dynamic E (emergency)911 for US-based users
Teams Phone now supports dynamic E911 for U.S.-based users, allowing for auto-detection of their locations, or the ability to provide editable locations to alert personnel in the event of an emergency. To enable this feature, administrators must enable the dynamic E911 policy for the user, and users must consent to location detection. Users who have not turned on location detection can continue to add a dynamic emergency address manually.

Learn more about Microsoft’s support for 911 emergency calling location detection.

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SIP Gateway

Customers who are looking to leverage their existing telephone hardware as they move to Teams Phone can use SIP Gateway to enable core Teams calling functionality on compatible SIP phone models from Cisco, Poly, Yealink, and AudioCodes. Supported core Teams calling functionality includes inbound and outbound calls, call transfer, meeting dial-in and dial-out, device-based “do not disturb,” and voicemail with message waiting indicator. Learn how to enable and manage SIP Gateway.

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Sourced from: Microsoft Teams Blog. View the original article here.

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