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Chris Bell

What’s New in Microsoft Teams, and What Can We Expect in 2021?

If you’re one of the 500,000 organisations that utilise Microsoft Teams for project organisation and team collaboration, you may be wondering what’s next? Teams is continually evolving to meet the demands of its users, and Microsoft has a lot to offer in 2021.

For those that don’t know about Microsoft Teams, it is the team-collaboration software that comes with Microsoft 365. Over 60 million commercial customers currently use Microsoft 365, but only 0.83% use Microsoft Teams.

These figures are quite shocking, considering the immense benefits Microsoft Teams has to offer a business and the fact that its basic version is entirely free to use. The bundled version includes unlimited chat messages and search, built-in online meetings and audio and video calling for individuals, groups and full team meetups.  With the right licensing, you can even turn Microsoft Teams into a fully-featured telephone system, removing the need for a legacy phone system that is tied to the office.

In this article, we discuss what updates you can expect to roll out in 2021 for Microsoft Teams and why it might be time for your business to consider utilising the innovative team-collaboration software. 

What Will Be New in Microsoft Teams in 2021?

COVID-19 has influenced a lot of the changes to come in 2021. The massive increase in demand during the pandemic and the need for faster and more efficient remote team collaboration/events has led to many organisations using the free or exploratory Teams license.

It’s worth noting that from January 1st 2021, businesses using the free license will be required to move to a paid version of Microsoft-365 licensing to keep using Teams and benefit from some of these new updates. 

The Attendee Limit Will Increase

In 2021, you will be able to have up to 20,000 attendees join a single meeting. Companies with large employee numbers can then host large meetings and conferences with most or all of their employees. 

The pandemic will likely continue to keep employees at home in 2021, at least in Q1. The ability to hold large-scale remote meetings has never been more important, and Microsoft understands this need.

Concurrent Events

50 events will be able to happen simultaneously across a single-tenant. This will allow companies to save a considerable amount of time and energy, enabling important events, training and seminars to happen all at once. Attendees can then switch between events as and when they need to. 

For example, you could have your annual training set up in a virtual event on Microsoft Teams. You can have all your various departments giving their specific training at the same time. Employees can then jump into each event for the particular information they need that’s relevant to their roles.

Event Duration Will Increase

In 2021, Microsoft Teams will allow up to 16 hours per broadcast. This is excellent news for those who need to hold extensive seminars or training events. The freedom to enjoy up to 16 hours per broadcast also allows businesses to save time for the technical organisation of hosting events. 

Now, concurrent events can be held with 16 hours to play with, allowing for full days of essential training activities, seminars or Q&As. Currently, event hosts can only broadcast for a maximum of four hours, so this update is sure to be a game-changer for many. 

Attendee Planning Limit to Increase

While you may be limited to 20,000 attendees, you will be able to plan for up to 100,000 using the Microsoft-365 Assistance Program. The team at Microsoft will assess each request and work with you to determine the options that may be available.

Microsoft will also be able to prepare you for your event, as well as help you rehearse — including test runs and planning logistics with you. Before the event, Microsoft will also help you to understand the best practices for coordinating, producing and running the event. 

Is It Time for Your Business to Use Microsoft Teams?

If you’re not yet utilising Microsoft Teams, 2021 might be the year to get started. High-speed chat and team-collaboration technology are making remote working simple and effective. The ability to hold large, concurrent events is also a major appeal for those businesses with remote employees.   

As well as enhancing your meeting and team collaboration, Microsoft Teams can also help you to reduce the number of emails sent, organise your teams more efficiently, improve overall communication within the organisation and allow your workforce to stay connected at any time and from anywhere in the world.