Organize your video callers into a Black Mirror version of the Brady Bunch.
In recent weeks Microsoft has rolled out a new video conferencing feature called Together mode. This interesting little tool moves your video conference attendees into a digital lecture hall in real-time.
Using Together mode, Microsoft's blog claims users "typically become more relaxed, more attentive to one another, more playful, and yet more focused on shared goals. The design offers unique benefits: less fatigue from frequent video meetings, better sense of connection with others, and more effective meetings."
The process is powered by Microsoft AI, and essentially clips out each participant background in real-time. It's the same technology behind other Teams tools like blurred and virtual backgrounds. Each user is placed in a digital "seat" of sorts, and whoila! Lecture hall conference call.
We'll take this opportunity to share a few tips from Microsoft on how to get the most value out of Together mode.
When to use Together Mode for Teams
Together mode is designed with the pandemic in mind, and at the moment is ideal for individuals calling in from different locations. According to their blog, Microsoft is still exploring options to support conference rooms or other group settings. At the moment, Together mode really shines in the following situations:
- Together mode is especially well-suited to calls in which multiple people will speak; we find that it’s easier and more comfortable for people to find moments to enter a conversation.
- Together mode helps when you must go to a lot of video meetings. Most users report less meeting fatigue.
- Together mode is helpful when a group might have trouble staying attentive, for instance in education settings.
- Together mode supports presenters who need to “read the room” or get energy from attendees.
When Not to use Together Mode
It must be said that Together mode is very useful in specific contexts. The tool isn't ideal for every video conference. A few times to avoid using Together mode include:
- Sharing physical content like writing on a whiteboard. Together mode only brings your face, not your space.
- Delivering a Powerpoint presentation. Microsoft hints at changes down the road, but the current version of Together mode does not support presentation-sharing.
- Walking around. Together mode works best when the user is seated at a desk.
- Together mode is more engaging than a typical video chat, and thus more distracting from other attention-critical tasks, like driving. Don't video conference and drive is basically what Microsoft is saying.
- For very large meetings. Together mode currently supports 49 participants. Microsoft's blog hints that efforts to support larger calls are underway, but for the moment this is the cap. If you plan on hosting something company-wide, you'll likely not rely on Together mode for the call.
This is an interesting feature and one we're very excited to test for ourselves. Be sure to check our blog for more news on Teams on other business software apps.
Do you have questions about moving your office to Teams or another chat & collaboration platform? Contact us, we're here to help! Sagiss has been serving the IT needs of small businesses across North Texas for 25 years.