Microsoft Teams reveals Spotlight mode, call merging, and much more

Microsoft Teams Spotlight
Microsoft Teams Spotlight (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft outlined several new and upcoming features headed to Teams in an August update.
  • A new Spotlight mode will allow video meetings to pin one person to everyone's screens.
  • Teams also now has the ability to merge calls, there are more Teams devices, and much more.

Microsoft posted its monthly wrap-up for what's new in Teams (opens in new tab) for August, offering a look at all of the new features headed to Teams users and what's still to come. Among those new features are a new Spotlight mode, Teams optimizations on VMware Horizon 8, and the ability to merge several calls together.

Spotlight mode is the highlight here. Set to roll out over the "next few months," the new video call option lets a presenter lock their video as the main view for every call participant. As Microsoft explains, this is different from the "Pin participant" feature, which only allows one person to pin someone for their main video feed.

Beyond Spotlight, meeting recordings can now be saved for people who may be located in a country where recordings are disabled because they can't be stored in-country. In this case, the recording will be stored in the closest region to where the participant is located.

Call merging is a new feature that allows people the ability to merge several Teams VOIP and PSTN calls together into either a 1-on-1 call or another group call. Teams now has an optimized experience for VMWare Horizon 8 as well, which should provide a better experience with some remote workers using virtual desktop environments.

You can now access and manage Visio files in Microsoft Teams through dedicated Visio tabs in a channel or chat. Real-time presence is also available to make sure your availability status is more accurate.

These new features come in addtion to new Teams devices, including a Windows collaboration display from Avocor and several Microsoft Teams Rooms setups from HP and Logitech.

Those are most of the user-facing features of note, but Microsoft also has several additions for government workers and developers. For more, check out the full blog post (opens in new tab) from Microsoft.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • Just give us ARM support already.
  • I think Teams devices have been underreported. Cheap, high-quality teleconferencing devices with Teams built-in - and perhaps some of the more advanced Teams smarts, too - sounds like a homerun.
  • Don't think those will be cheap honestly. If you're talking about the screen and that Logitech setup. That doesn't mean I think they will be at unreasonable prices by any means.
  • Does anyone know if you can add a dial in number in Teams for someone that doesn't have access to video/high speed internet?
  • The commercial/business version certainly does support this. It is an add on, using MS bridges it seems. If the internet is slow enough not to even support voice (no video) maybe just a third party conferencing option might be better.
  • I am waiting for them to add a desktop client and/or web client to Teams for families'
  • Ditto. See comment below. I was incensed when I found out I couldn't set up a Team for families account from Windows. Not even from the web client! Pretty lame.
  • Every time there's a fancy new Teams feature, my first thought is, "And still no setting to make Files your default view when clicking on a channel." Always Posts. I never want to see Posts by default.
  • I would love to move friends & family to Teams. But I downloaded the Desktop version just last week, and went to set up a friends & family Teams account online, only for it to tell me that I need an iOS or Android app. Yes, turns out it's impossible to use Teams on a Windows Desktop with friends & family. They pointed me to Skype instead. Infuriating that you can't use a Microsoft service on Windows! I figure I'll try again the next pandemic that hits. ;0)