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Goodbye Skype, hello Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft Teams is a unified communications and collaboration platform that has replaced Skype for Business as Microsoft’s core communications client. Microsoft has confirmed that Skype for Business Online will be retired on 31st July 2021. They plan to support both the client and online versions of Skype through to the retirement date, but eventually all existing seats will need to transition to Microsoft Teams.
A global upsurge in Microsoft Teams users.
The global Covid-19 pandemic correlated with a sharp increase in the number of employees working from home during lockdown. The result of this was an upsurge in active Microsoft Teams users in March 2020 and beyond, which is reflected in the statistics below:
Microsoft Teams Statistics.
- The number of daily active users of Microsoft Teams increased by 37.5% between March 12 and March 19 2020.
- Over 44 million daily active users are now using Microsoft Teams. That’s a staggering increase of over 230% in less than a year (there were 13 million active daily users in July 2019). (1)
What is included with Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams improves upon every feature of Skype for Business and provides additional features and functionality.
There is a free version of Microsoft Teams, or there is a fully featured version that’s suitable for Small and Medium Business and Enterprise users that is included with Microsoft 365 Business.
Let’s look at what Microsoft Teams has to offer your Business.
Microsoft Teams incorporates state-of-the-art video conferencing technology that allows you to seamlessly conduct one-to-one meetings, host web conferences with employees or even host live events that can accommodate up to 10,000 users. Both audio and video events can be hosted.
Online meetings also incorporate screen sharing, which allows you to share your screen with one or more users and give them optional control of your screen. This is particularly helpful when collaborating on projects, reviewing internal documents or even getting advice from your colleagues before sending an email.
Other notable features include scheduling assistance, which makes it easy to invite colleagues to upcoming meetings, in addition to meeting note taking and meeting recording.
Microsoft’s 365 Business phone system has been built from the ground up for Small Businesses with up to 300 users. This feature-rich enterprise-grade cloud telephony solution allows you to call anywhere from your computer, your mobile device or from a compatible desk phone through the Microsoft Teams app.
With the 365 Business phone system, your Outlook contacts and Calendars are integrated with Microsoft Teams. You can also share and collaborate on Microsoft Office documents within you calls and meetings.
At the time of writing, Microsoft 365 Business voice costs £12.00 per month per user +VAT. Visit the official Office 365 Business voice page to find out what’s included and check out this PDF that contains a full list of the Microsoft Phone System key features.
UPDATE: Group text chat for Microsoft Teams has been increased from 100 to 250 users.
Microsoft Teams incorporates an instant messaging solution called ‘Chat’ which is integrated into all other elements of Teams. You can have one-to-one chats with your colleagues, or you can setup group chats. Chat also allows you to message files, images and documents. You can also personalise your messages with emojis, stickers and even gifs.
Chat also incorporates a helpful search bar that lets you search for a person or a previous message that includes a keyword. You can save historical messages and hide chats from your chat list and you can also mute chats so you don’t receive future messages.
Chat can be used on Computers, mobile devices and compatible phone handsets.
Microsoft Teams is highly secure.
Microsoft Teams incorporates many security and privacy controls that allow you to manage meeting participants and the information they can access.
You can eject a participant from a meeting at any time. You can designate presenter and attendee roles to your peers and colleagues, and you can also allow guest access to people from outside your Organisation. In addition, the moderation feature allows you to decide who can post and share content.
Microsoft Teams. Features Overview.
Free version features.
The free version of Teams includes the following features:
- Unlimited chat messaging
- Audio and video calling
- 10GB of Team file storage
- 2GB of personal file storage per user
- Full integration with Office apps
- Integration with over 250 apps
Full version features.
The full version includes all of the above features included with the free version, in addition to the below features:
- Additional data storage, (starting from 1 TB file storage per user)
- Rich file collaboration in the Office desktop apps
- Meeting scheduling
- Intelligent video capabilities
- Extra first- and third-party app integrations
- Advanced IT controls
- Enterprise-level security and compliance