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Microsoft Teams gets new features to take on Zoom

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft is kicking its Build 2020 developer conference -- a two-day virtual event -- off by announcing several new features, including improvements to Teams. The video conferencing app will get new Visual Studio and Visual Studio Code extensions designed to help developers build new apps. 

Additionally, the 75 million daily active users on Teams will now get tailored app suggestions and an improved search function to help find tools relevant to their needs. Later this year, Teams will add the ability for users to open apps in separate windows for easier access. 

Microsoft Teams bookings

Microsoft isn't announcing any major overhauls of its video service, but new additions should help organizations stay organized. For example, a Bookings app in Teams will let IT admins manage multiple departments and staff in a single dashboard. Appointments can be scheduled for virtual healthcare visits, interviews, customer service appointments and student office hours. 

Microsoft Teams templates 

Another quality-of-life change is the addition of Templates, which will let you create a new team using customizable templates. Some of the templates you can use include those for event management and crisis response, or for more specific locales, like hospital wards and bank branches. 

"Each template comes with predefined channels, apps and guidance on how to utilize and customize it," Microsoft writes. 

Microsoft Teams for broadcast

Microsoft is adding Skype TX interoperability to Teams. Designed for broadcasters, the feature lets you create online conferences, interviews, press briefings and other productions. 

The goal is allow more high-scale production using teams, so cable networks and online news have the tools they need for high-quality streams. 

"[N]ew interoperability of Teams with Skype TX devices — popularly used in broadcast production — enables production teams to connect in one-on-one calls for interviews and newscasts with professional capabilities including caller queuing and connection quality management," Microsoft notes.