Microsoft updates Teams with new automation and scheduling tools, NDI support for broadcasting and more

At its (virtual) Build developer conference, Microsoft today announced a slew of updates for its Teams collaboration and communications platform. Given that Microsoft now sees Teams as its hub for teamwork and collaboration through calls, chats and audio and video meetings, it’s no surprise that it would highlight Teams across today’s announcements.

For the most part, the new features the company is adding to Teams are pretty straightforward.

For users, most of the important updates are around meetings in teams, where you’ll soon be able to schedule, manage and conduct virtual appointments through the Bookings app, for example. On the scheduling side, Teams is also getting new capabilities in the Shifts app, including new triggers and templates to enable auto-approvals for shift requests, for example, when a manager’s approval isn’t needed.

In the near future, Microsoft will also add a number of customizable templates to Teams to help new users get started. These include many standard business scenarios like event management and crisis response, as well as industry-specific templates for hospitals and bands, for example. The templates include pre-set channels, apps and guidance, the company says.

Soon, Microsoft will also make Power Virtual Agents chatbots available in the Teams app store, which will make creating and managing these bots easier.

Microsoft will also soon enable a new feature that makes it easier to integrate Power Apps and Power Automate business process templates into Teams, and Power BI users will soon be able to quickly share reports to Teams with the click of a single button.

Another new feature that will have a bit more of a niche audience is Network Device Interface (NDI) support — but that niche will be very happy to hear it’s coming. Currently, you can enable a similar feature in Skype, where it allows you to stream Skype interviews with multiple participants through your favorite streaming software and platform (think OBS, Wirecast, etc.). It allows you to receive separate video streams for every participant (though for reasons only known to the Skype team, you only get one audio feed, which makes dealing with any audio delays a nightmare).

Now, this is also coming to teams so that it’ll be easier for companies to create public or private broadcasts based on Teams chats. Teams will also get integrations with Skype TX, the hardware-based Skype solution that’s used by many broadcast networks to conduct remote interviews. NDI support should go live in Teams next month.