Microsoft is bidding big on its chat-based group collaboration application, announcing the free version of Microsoft Teams just ahead of Microsoft Inspire.
Since its launch in March last year, it is the first time Microsoft is offering Teams for free. Just last week, the tech giant had added a pile of new features and app integrations to the application for seamless communication and effective collaboration.
The free Microsoft Teams comes with support for up to 300 people, and allows unlimited chat messages and search. Available in 40 languages globally, it includes built-in audio and video calling, 10 GB of team file storage and additional 2 GB per person for personal storage.
“Whether you’re a freelancer, a small business owner, or part of a team inside a large organization, you can start using Teams today” said Microsoft.
At the next level, the Teams free version features integration with Office Online apps including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and OneNote. It will allow users to create content in real-time.
Microsoft has also integrated more than 140 business applications in Teams, which includes Adobe, Evernote, and Trello. Teams will allow users to communicate and collaborate with anyone inside or outside the organization.
Currently, Microsoft Teams is used in 181 markets worldwide by over 200,000 businesses, Microsoft claimed.
Furthermore, the company has also announced updates to its holistic workplace solution Microsoft 365. The Teams in Microsoft 365 comes with all the features that come with free version, plus additional storage, enterprise security, and compliance which can be used by organizations of any size.
Microsoft 365 users can now create live and on-demand events, and view them in real-time with high-definition video and interactive discussion.
Moreover, there are new AI-powered services in Microsoft 365 to improve the on-demand experience with speech-to-text transcription, timecoding, and transcript search. The speaker timeline feature has been powered with facial detection capability to identify the speaker.
Moving ahead, the tech giant has made Microsoft Whiteboard generally available for Windows 10, and preview on the web. It is soon expected to be available on iOS.
Another new service rolled out is the preview version of Workplace Analytics solution. It uses collaboration insights from Microsoft Graph, so that teams can run efficient meeting, and create time for focused work.