Microsoft's Slack competitor is getting Cortana integration and message translation

Alonzo Simpson
March 12, 2018

Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) says 200K organizations now use its Teams, a Slack alternative, up from 125K in September.

When Microsoft takes the Enterprise Connect 2018 keynote stage on Wednesday, it will be one year to the date of introducing general availability for its team collaboration app, Teams.

Cortana voice interactions for Teams-enabled devices-Will enable you to easily make a call, join a meeting, or add other people to a meeting in Teams using spoken, natural language. This functionality will extend to IP phones and conference room devices.

Inline message translation-People who speak different languages will be able to fluidly communicate with one another by translating posts in channels and chat.

Background blur on video-The ability to blur your background during video calls will allow other meeting attendees to focus on you, not what's behind you.

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Finally, Microsoft will soon enable one-click cloud recording, with timecoding and automatic transcription. A future upgrade will include facial recognition so that comments can be assigned to specific individuals.

Let us not forget why Microsoft made a decision to build out Teams, it was because of the success of Slack which makes you wonder if buying the competing software would have been a better move? It is created to work with Windows 10 Ink as well, and allows users to collaborate more effectively in meetings including interacting with other teams using a Surface Hub remotely.

The new calling capabilities, which include consultative transfer (for getting an OK before transferring a call to somebody), call delegation, and federation, will be available in the second quarter, Wright said.

Whether a customer chooses to use the Microsoft Calling Plan or Direct Routing will come down to pricing considerations and existing relationships, she added. This includes Surface Hub, the large-screen video collaboration device for huddle spaces and other small-to-medium meeting rooms.

You probably wouldn't guess it, but Microsoft's most popular Surface product in enterprise is its gargantuan Surface Hub.

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