In March, the company saw an increase in total video calls by a whopping 1,000%.
Microsoft teams: Tech giant Microsoft has introduced a custom background feature to its Microsoft Teams! In a statement, Microsoft 365 Corporate Vice President Jared Spataro said that the company noticed that since the beginning of work from home culture due to the coronavirus lockdown, users of Teams turned on their video during meetings twice more than they did before. Moreover, in March, the company saw an increase in total video calls by a whopping 1,000%. This is why the company has been introducing more features to make the user experience better, he said.
Microsoft Teams features: Custom backgrounds rolled out
Understanding the space and privacy concerns of the people, Microsoft Teams had last year introduced the feature to blur the background. It had also created certain preset images from a modern office setting to a cartoonish scene for the users. Now, the company has expanded the option to customise their background by uploading their own images, or by selecting a collection of backgrounds which has now been made available. In its statement, the company also clarified that the Teams model does not require the user to sit in front of a green screen or a blank wall for the feature to work, as it is trained to differentiate the user from their background.
Microsoft Teams: Background collections it offers
In the statement, the company said that several companies like Xbox and FOX are getting very creative with the backgrounds that users can download and then upload on Teams to use.
FOX TV has created a collection ranging from a setting at Bob’s Burgers’ cafe to having a huge mountain pile of Lego blocks in the background.
Meanwhile, Xbox has created a background which makes it seem like the user has an entire wall mounted with different Xbox consoles, and it would surely make the user look like the coolest in the group, the company believes.
Backgrounds in Microsoft Teams: How to use
Before joining the meeting on Teams, you can choose to switch on your video. At that stage, toggle the option to switch on your video, and then toggle on the option just to the right of it, meant for background effects.
This will open a panel on the right side of the screen to display the background options that you can choose from. Select the background you like the most, and it will appear behind you in the video pane. Check if the background looks fine and once you are satisfied, click on “Join Now” to log into the meeting with your brand new custom background!
Other features rolled out for free version
The tech giant has also rolled out some features for the free version of Microsoft Teams, the company announced.
- Schedule meetings: Users of the free version of Teams would now be allowed to schedule meetings in advance and invite others to join via invite link, Outlook invite or a Google Calendar invite. The current users can enjoy this feature right away, while those who are just signing up will soon get to experience it.
- Live captions: This feature allows the people in the meeting to turn on live captions during the call. It aims to provide an alternative to participants who have different hearing abilities or varied language proficiencies.