Microsoft Teams is a unified communications platform that combines persistent workplace chat, video meetings, file storage (including collaboration on files), and application integration. The service integrates with the company’s Office 365 subscription office productivity suite and features extensions that can integrate with non-Microsoft products.
Microsoft Teams launched in March 2017. In September 2017, Microsoft announced Teams would replace Skype for Business Online in Office 365. Microsoft has been rolling Skype for Business Online features into Teams over the past several months, including messaging, meetings and calling capabilities. New features are added to Teams frequently.
Microsoft Teams core capabilities
At its core, Teams is a chat-based workspace that features group and private messaging, with threaded and persistent conversations. Within each team, users can create different channels to organize their communications by topic. Each channel can include a couple of users or scale to thousands of users.
Within a team-based messaging thread, users can schedule voice and video meetings — a workflow that provides contextual communications. Users can also edit PowerPoint files within the Teams app. Like other messaging services, Teams messages can also incorporate emojis and GIFs.
The guest-access feature in Microsoft Teams allows users to invite people outside their organizations to join internal channels for messaging, meetings and file sharing. This capability helps to facilitate business-to-business project management.
With the Teams app, users can make voice over IP calls from Teams client to Teams client. With Microsoft’s Office 365 Phone System, formerly known as Cloud PBX, and Calling Plan, formerly known as PSTN Calling, users can make, receive and transfer calls to and from landlines and mobile phones on the public switched telephone network (PSTN).