Microsoft Teams will use AI to add depth of field to video calls

The successor to Skype for Business and Yammer and Groups is Microsoft Teams and the services is maturing quickly. In February the Teams developers added many important new features like PSTN calling and voicemail on mobile for Enterprise Voice licensed customers. That’s interesting for those that are impacted by it, but its perhaps the move to use AI in Teams that’s the most significant announcement for the service.

With more than 200,000 organisations using Teams, including major clients like Holden parent General Motors, the product (part of the Office 365 portfolio) is a success. Teams is putting their foot on the accelerating pedal with new features:

  • A new cloud recording tool for conferences – Microsoft Teams will automatically record everything you say on a conference, and transcribe it for you. Then, you can search the transcript for certain terms, like “Microsoft,” and jump to the appropriate portion of the call.
  • Automatic background blurring  As we saw with the viral BBC dad of 2017 , you don’t always want people to see what’s in the background when you’re on a video call. Microsoft Teams can now use nifty artificial intelligence to automatically blur the background on a video call, while keeping you in focus.
  • Message translation – Microsoft Teams can now translate messages in other languages right from within the chat window.
  • New devices – Lenovo and HP will make video conferencing meeting-room systems powered by Microsoft Teams; Plantronics will make desk phones that can tap into Microsoft Teams to make voice calls.

It is the second dot point that really demonstrates the strength of Microsoft’s capabilities. Leveraging their investment in AI, they can lend that technology to the Teams development team to benefit the product and ultimate customers.

Additional functionality for Teams will only aid Microsoft’s ambition to get more of its 120 million Office 365 users using Teams. Importantly, non-Teams customers can now also use the service, if they’re invited by an organisation who have enabled guest access.

Jason Cartwright
Jason Cartwright
Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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