5 Microsoft Teams features that will make you forget about Skype

When we think of video calling, many people often still think of Skype. Skype was one of the first applications to offer that in-person feel, even when participants were miles apart. It was a great alternative to commuting for client meetings, or having to book conference rooms for conversations that would only be a couple of minutes. Skype was low-cost, easy to use and well liked by many.

However, like many early technology ventures, Skype was not without its faults. While great for one-on-one conversations, once businesses tried to add multiple parties to a call, the audio and visual quality left much to be desired. Users found themselves spending so much time ensuring that the call was functioning, that they were unable to be present for the actual conversation taking place.

Today, things are much different. So different in fact, that Skype no longer exists. In 2011, Skype was purchased by Microsoft, and although they kept it around for the next 10 years, the application was ultimately laid to rest in 2021. This decision was made so that Microsoft could focus all of their efforts on their newer productMicrosoft Teams.

What is Microsoft Teams?

Microsoft Teams is more than a video calling application, it’s a complete communication and collaboration hub. Teams is ultimately used for video meetings of course, but it’s also a chat platform, a place to store and access files, a platform to organize and manage the multiple teams and projects within your organization, and so much more.

Therefore, here are 5 reasons why, although you may miss Skype, Microsoft Teams will more than fill that collaboration sized hole in your corporate communications strategy:


1.  Multi-Party Capabilities

While Skype did not work well for multi-party calling, Microsoft Teams excels on this front. It’s called Microsoft Teams because it’s made for, well, teams. Meetings can host up to 300 participants without losing sound or video quality. For meetings with more than 300 people, Teams also allows you to host “Live Events” with up to 250 presenters and 20,000 viewers.

2.  Effortless Video/Audio Calls

One of the greater qualities of Microsoft Teams is the ability to effortlessly schedule, start and join video meetings. Users can join a meeting using the “Join” button, or start a meeting using the “Start Meeting” button. Doesn’t get much simpler than that. 

You can also join meetings directly from your personal calendar, or a calendar that is shared within a Teams channel. 

The in-call features such as breakout rooms, live reactions and screen-sharing are extremely intuitive and audio/video settings are simple to navigate.

3.  Microsoft Teams Rooms

Another common complaint about Skype was that it was not easy to connect to a meeting room AV system. Microsoft Teams was created with this as one of many use cases in mind. And now Microsoft offers Teams Rooms — specifically designed to make remote participants feel like they are in the room with you. Teams Rooms’ technology is flexible and adaptable to the needs of your meeting space.

Remote participants can connect to a Teams Room from any device using the Microsoft Teams app. 

Source: Microsoft

4.  Microsoft Teams is Cloud-based

Since Microsoft Teams is a cloud-based application, it also saves you the headache of constantly clearing your devices’ storage while allowing you the ability to upload, store and edit files and documents in one convenient space. 

This allows you to share meeting notes in real-time and easily find them again later. Accessible for all team members across all connected devices.  

5.  Apps and Integrations 

Microsoft Teams comes with a number of tools ready to help you have the best possible meeting experience. Meetings are more interactive with features such as whiteboards and polls. You can turn on scribing to take notes while you speak while also being more inclusive! 

Since Teams is a Microsoft product it also integrates seamlessly with other Microsoft tools like Outlook, Word, OneNote and Sharepoint. 

Third party applications are also able to be integrated as well, including YouTube, MURAL, Adobe Acrobat and DocuSign

How do you know if Teams is the right platform for you?

Ask yourself: 

If you’ve answered “yes” to even one of these questions, then Microsoft Teams may be the solution you’re looking for. 

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Video vs. Audio: how the video meeting is changing the game

If you’ve ever been on an audio-only conference call, you’ve probably experienced the following: 

While this old fashioned technology definitely serves its purpose at the right time and place, we can all admit that nowadays there are better conferencing solutions available. 

The rise of the video meeting

Over the past two decades, we have seen more and more video conferencing technologies becoming available. Applications such as Skype, Zoom, Microsoft Teams, GoTo Meeting, Blue Jeans and Webex (to name a few) have been popping up left and right, offering organizations a clearer and more personal way to communicate. 

Video meetings make it easier to actually see who is present, get a visual on who is speaking and notice when participants join or drop off. 

Most video meeting platforms also offer the ability to screen share, and feature live chat boxes as well where team members can provide input and ask questions without interrupting the speaker(s).

You can access most video calling applications from any device, whether that’s a computer, a phone, a tablet, or other meeting room technology like Microsoft Teams Rooms equipment.

Video calling also provides a meeting experience that feels more secure, as you can see who you are speaking to. This means less chances for someone to join a confidential meeting who should not be there, or to impersonate someone on your team. 

How do audio and video compare?

While audio and video calling have some major differences, there are also a few similarities. 

For example, both are great at helping you connect with remote team members, clients and other offices (if you have them). Both are also great for a spur-of-the-moment conversation, where you don’t have the time or the need to trouble yourself with booking and setting up a conference room or meeting space.

However, whichever option you choose will lead to drastically different meeting experiences. Like mentioned above, an audio only conference call can create a lot of confusion and is best for calls between no more than 2-4 people. The lack of visual aid during an audio-only call means you may only be able to convey simple information that gets followed up with an email, or files may need to be shared with other participants before the call begins. 

With a video meeting, the experience offers much more detail. You can see the people you are speaking to, making it easier to notice who is or isn’t present. You can comfortably have a large number of people on the call without needing to re-introduce yourself every time it’s your turn to speak. 

Most video platforms are quite easy to navigate, allowing you to join a call with the click of a button from within the application (like Webex) or directly from an email or calendar link (this is common with applications such as Zoom or Google Meet). No more manually dialing in! 

Why do people prefer video meetings?

Video meetings also offer a more personal experience, which — today more than ever, with so many businesses offering remote work — is an aspect of the workplace that we need to nurture and encourage. 

With video, you can see peoples’ facial expressions, learn what kind of environment they like to work in and even notice the little things like if they wear glasses or cut their hair recently. 

Audio today isn’t dead, just different

None of this is to say that you can’t still choose to have an audio-only call over a video call. Sometimes it is the better option depending on your circumstances. Luckily today, we have the technology available to make the audio call a better experience.

The great thing about all of these video meeting platforms is that they still offer audio-only capabilities. Though some applications are better at implementing this feature than others, the video function is not required to be used. 

One downfall is that the use of an application is typically required to be able to host/join this type of audio meeting, as opposed to joining an old school conference call where you dial in just using your regular phone. 

These applications also typically require a device with screens, however this can be to your benefit, because with many platforms you will still be able to access functions such as screen sharing or chat. And even when video is turned off, the screen will often still show the names of the participants in the call, and highlight the name of whoever is currently speaking. 

Choosing the right platform

There are a lot of video meeting applications available today, and they all offer such a wide range of features. Depending on the work your organization does, and the unique needs of your team, the platform(s) you choose should be the one that will best accelerate communication among your employees. 

Figuring out what those needs are and how to fulfill them can be overwhelming, but that’s why ET Group is here to help. 

Book a Discovery Call and learn how, together, we can find the right tools to help your team feel more connected than ever. 

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