Video conferencing and collaboration with Microsoft Teams: a guide
Teams video means video conferencing to the desktop is set to revolutionise communications in the workplace. now It’s official, in terms of communication, the modern age is definitely the age of video. Business communication has come a long way since the invention of the first fax machines and early telephone Private Branch Exchanges. Innovations ranging from Hotmail to word processing have transformed the way that companies communicate. Now, the latest kid on the block, video, is following this trajectory.
For an organisation looking to implement a video conferencing solution that meets its telephony needs and allows its team members to collaborate across the board, Microsoft Teams Telephony is often the place to look. It comes with a whole host of features, including high capacity scheduling tools, harder integration and more. This article will explore where Microsoft’s innovative video conferencing solution came from — and what it can offer organisations today.
How video arrived
Communication between business organisations has been on a long journey, and it’s one of which organisations such as Microsoft have really been at the forefront. Some major communication tools, of course, predate today’s computing power. The fax machine, for example, was a device that relied heavily on traditional telephony networks, although there are now some smart versions that provide additional firepower.
Since the rise of computer systems and the audio-visual potential they offer, Microsoft has been on the cutting edge of many of these changes. From the development of word processing tools to the advent of Outlook and other email tools, Microsoft has been a leading player in this field. Now, Microsoft’s foray into video conferencing — which has been given a significant boost thanks to its acquisition of Skype in 2003 — is pushing the company from strength to strength in that regard.
The era of Skype
If there’s one word that sums up Microsoft’s approach to video conferencing, it has to be ‘Skype’. The product has become so ubiquitous among both consumers and business customers that it’s now more than just a noun for a product name. It’s also now a verb and it’s not uncommon to hear people describe the act of videoconferencing as ‘Skyping’.
Skype was first launched in 2003, and its name comes as an abbreviated version of ‘sky peer-to-peer’. It was for a while owned by eBay and later acquired by Microsoft for $8.5bn in 2011. By looking at the video conferencing available in Microsoft Telephony for Teams, it’s clear that the usability and popularity of Skype has been an integral part of the drive to enhance Microsoft’s video offer.
The sky’s the limit
Microsoft Teams Telephony offers a whole host of videoconferencing tools, all of which are designed to improve the business user experience. The first key feature is the system’s ability to facilitate meetings, which can take place entirely independently of geographical boundaries, physical locations and more. In an era in which so much global business is distributed around the world and conducted independently of a rooted place, this is a truly beneficial characteristic.
According to Microsoft’s own materials, the technical capabilities of Microsoft Teams’ video conferencing are not limited to a restricted number of attendees, either. According to Microsoft, it is possible for the number of attendees at a virtual meeting to range from “1:1, teams, live events up to 10,000 people — with consistent experiences across platforms”. For those who run organisations that incorporate large-scale seminars or other ticketed audience events, this could represent a transformative way to do business.
Other tools and options
The video options associated with Microsoft Teams are certainly practical when it comes to organising video conference events. Often, the most challenging part of this process is sending out the various admin requests associated with meetings, finding a time that suits all participants and letting all participants know in advance how to enter the meeting. From a resources perspective, this could well constitute a significant proportion of an employee’s time. But with Microsoft Teams’ video conferencing software, it’s possible to automate that part of the process to a greater or lesser extent. If firms wish to opt into Microsoft’s smart scheduling functions in order to save time, for example, they can certainly do so.
Innovative features such as screen sharing mean that firms can extract maximum value from the call. These forms of collaboration tools are what mark Microsoft Teams out. Certainly, with decades of experience behind it, Microsoft has accumulated significant institutional knowledge to make accurate decisions about streamlining and making the lives of collaborators easier.
Integration with other devices
It is also worth noting that the Microsoft Teams system can also integrate with other devices — particularly those that have been designed specifically to enhance the video conferencing experience.
The main advantage here is that these devices can allow companies to streamline the video conferencing process even further — for example, by implementing ‘one-touch join’ and other time-saving procedures designed to make more time for collaboration. The list of participating certified tech partners is extensive and includes everyone from Lenovo to Logitech.
Microsoft says that its tools can help “reinvent the meeting life cycle”. Given how many benefits it can offer, there’s no reason to disbelieve Microsoft’s claim. In sum, it’s clear that Microsoft Teams Telephony is highly regarded as one of video conferencing’s most positive recent developments. This suite of tools can provide a significant range of efficiency-related advantages for an organisation, including everything from the ability to hold video conferences with a scalable guest list to integration opportunities with major tech partners. With this particular solution from Microsoft enjoying its status amongst a prestigious history of communication tools from Microsoft, it is certainly seen by many as a name that can be trusted.