Microsoft Teams Essentials designed for small business

Microsoft Teams Essentials designed for small business

Completely more focused on a chat interface, meetings, and video calls, Microsoft Teams Essentials is designed especially for small businesses.

The difference between this new version and Microsoft 365 Business Basic is mainly centered around the functionalities of Teams and cloud storage. Teams Essentials offers extended limits like longer meetings and more storage. Among its special functions, specially designed for small businesses, the following functions stand out:

  • No time limit: you won’t have to worry about the time in your meetings anymore. This version has up to 30 hours, so time will no longer be a limit in both private and group meetings.
  • More capacity: Teams Essentials offers the ability to bring up to 300 people together in the same virtual room.
  • Calendar integration: you can use your exsisting calendar to control your meetings and times. This version will allow you to integrate your Outlook Calendar and soon also your Google Calendar.
  • Easy invitations: the function of inviting people to your meetings is much simpler in this version. You can simply invite them by adding their email address. They will receive a link to join yout meeting. Also, if participants don’t have Teams, they can open the meeting in their browser. No more installations or user creations will be necessary.
  • More interactivity: virtual backgrounds, together mode, live closed captions, live reactions, and more. Everything you need to make your meetings much more interactive.
  • Ongoing chat: chat conversations will continue even if the meeting is over.
  • Small business group chats template: quickly start a group project and host meetings with anyone, assign tasks to teammates and create polls to receive feedback quickly all in one hub, taking productivity to the next level.
  • Mobile chat: you can have access to all the content of your meetings and organize them by locations, photos, files, etc. The main objective of all these improvements is to facilitate the us of applications and simplify into a single app that meets all the needs that small businesses need in their day-to-day.

When it comes to pricing Microsoft Teams Essentials could look appealing at just $4 per user per month, against the Zoom Pro license is $14.99 per month. Microsoft Teams Essentials is now available.

Would you like to try it? What functionality would you add to this version of Teams for Small Business?

6 tips for understanding notifications in Teams

6 tips for understanding notifications in Teams

Did you know that if you use Teams, you can control its sounds and notifications? In this article, we are going to teach you 6 techniques for personalising teams.

1. Where are the notification settings?

Access your notification settings by selecting your profile photo in the upper right corner of Teams, then Settings> Notifications.

2. Enable or disable notifications

To choose whether to play a sound with each new notification, select the three dots next to your profile picture in the top right corner of Teams, then Settings> Notifications> toggle between off and on.

In this state, the notification sounds are on.

Note: Currently only Android mobile devices can choose what type of sound is played for notifications.

3. Default settings

By default, you’ll receive desktop notifications and activity feedback alerts for @mentions, direct messages (chat), and all-new conversations and @mentions on the channels and teams shown in your list.

All of these defaults can be changed.

4. Ways to be notified

The activity feed

You’ll find it in the upper left corner of Teams. This is where we’ll let you know what’s happening on your teams and channels.

Then there is chat

This is where group and one-on-one conversations happen. As you receive multiple messages, we will count them for you.

Desktop, also known as Banner, notifications

In Windows, they will be displayed in the lower right corner of the screen and then moved to the Action Center.

On Mac OS, they are displayed in the upper right corner of the screen and then moved to the Control Centre.

Note: If you use Teams on the web, some browsers will only display notifications in the browser tab where you are running Teams.




5. Email

If you want to use email to keep track of Team conversations as they happen, use the missed activity email. You can choose how often you get them.

For a summary of the day’s activity, please use the summary email. You will receive this email at the beginning of each day.

6. How notifications work in the mobile app.

One of the first things you’ll want to do is choose whether to send notifications to your phone always, or only when you’re not active on the desktop. (you are considered inactive after 3 minutes of desktop inactivity.)

The other thing you’ll want to set up is your quiet hours. To do this, go to More in the upper left corner of the mobile app, then Notifications > Quiet hours. Then, set a specific time of day when you want Teams to hold your notifications. You can also choose full days.

Need more help? More Info.

If you need to know how each of the notifications work step by step, we recommend you read this guide from the Microsoft support blog.

How to suppress noise in calls

A great feature of Teams is AI based noise suppression. This eliminates unwanted background noise from your surroundings. It works by using deep neural networks to analyse audio sources and separate human speech signals from unwanted noise.

How to turn on noise suppression

  1. Click the three dots next to your profile picture in the upper right corner and then select the Settings option.
  2. Choose Devices on the left and then under Noise Suppression, select one of the following options: Automatic (default), Low or High.

It is important to note that your processor must support Advanced Vector Extensions 2 (AVX2) to opt for the “high” setting. Users will be able to change this setting at any time, and once changed, the setting should be retained for the next meeting or call. Alex Eggers, Microsoft MVP, created a video that delves into its inner workings with the settings.

The advent of AI-based noise suppression is important step for Microsoft Teams. This should help limit distractions in a remote work setting. Although Microsoft says the feature will be generally available to desktop users in mid-December, there is no news on whether it will be rolled out on iOS and Android.

New Features in Microsoft Teams

New Features in Microsoft Teams

With the massive growth in video conferencing in 2020, Microsoft have added some useful features to Teams, with the promise of more to come. Let’s take a look at some of the new functionality.

Together Mode

Instead of seeing all the users in a square or rectangular grid separately, you can see all of them together in a virtual space. This feature is the new “Together Mode” which is designed to build a virtual live avatar of all members of the team and negate their backgrounds.

Raise Your Hand

During a Microsoft Teams meeting, a participant can use the Raise Your Hand option to get the speaker’s and moderator’s attention.

Thanks to this feature, participants can signal that they want to talk without disrupting the meeting, and the moderator or speaker can see if anyone in the meeting wants to talk.

Raise Your Hand makes meetings more inclusive by encouraging participation from participants, and provides a simple, quick way to take a poll of participants.

Third Party Meeting Join for Microsoft Teams Rooms (MTR)

Microsoft Teams Rooms devices support a one-touch experience for joining third-party online meetings. When enabled, you can use a Teams Rooms device to join meetings hosted on Cisco WebEx and Zoom just as easily as you can join meetings hosted in Microsoft Teams.

Before you can join third-party meetings from a Teams Rooms device, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Configure the Teams Rooms device’s Exchange Online room mailbox to process invites for third-party meetings
  • Make sure your organization doesn’t have any policies that would prevent you from connecting to third-party meeting services
  • Configure your Teams Rooms devices to allow third-party meetings

Breakout rooms

Breakout rooms allow meeting organizers to split up meeting participants into smaller groups to facilitate brainstorming sessions or workgroup discussions. Presenters can choose to hop between breakout rooms, make announcements to all breakout rooms, and/or close the breakout rooms that then bring everybody back into the main meeting.

Custom layouts (coming soon)
Coming later this year or early 2021, custom layouts allow for a more dynamic content viewing experience and enable presenters to customize how content shows up for participants during a meeting. For example, when a presenter is showing a PowerPoint slide, participants will be able to see the presenter’s video feed transposed onto the foreground of the slide they’re showing.

Teams is rapidly adding useful functionality to maintain its place as one of the leading videoconferencing solutions, while maintaining interoperability with other platforms. If your business is looking for such a solution, now might be a good time to hop on the Teams train.