Microsoft Teams is on everyone’s lips. Microsoft’s collaborative work platform is a success and more and more companies and institutions are using it on a daily basis. The global pandemic caused by COVID-19 has accelerated digital transformation and Teams has been a major beneficiary. Then we will walk you through what Microsoft Teams is by way of introduction, we will tell you how to download it for the different platforms and we will talk about its most interesting features.
1. What is Microsoft Teams? Why is it?
Microsoft Teams is an online communication and collaboration platform. It is a product focused on the efficient organization of work groups. To do this, it uses features like text chat, video calling, file storage, and various apps.
Microsoft Teams is integrated with the Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) ecosystem to provide a complete solution for businesses and public institutions. Its main rival in the market is Slack and it surpasses Skype for Business, the previous Microsoft product which covered this function.
Although it is much less relevant in this area, we can also use Teams to talk with our family, friends or partner. Teams for Life is nothing other than the Microsoft Teams application itself, which allows us to create a personal account alongside our professional account to maintain contact with our loved ones without having to go to other services. such as WhatsApp or Telegram.
2. Main characteristics
In Teams, people in the same organization are grouped into teams. The team usually focuses on a specific task or a specific project. The teams, at the same time, are subdivided into channels, as we will see below.
So, for example, we are organized into two teams. One of them is dedicated to Microsoft and the other to Technology by Words, our parent company. In this way, we manage to separate two totally different workspaces where different people are involved.
Within each team, the channels allow us to subdivide the work areas. Without them, the team feed would be full of topics that sometimes would not be related and would not be of interest to all team members.
In our case, the “Microsofters” team is divided into three channels: General, Articles and YouTube. This way it is much easier for us to know which channel to go to when we are looking for something in particular and we can organize our files. Recently, the Redmond team introduced “shared channels” under the name Microsoft Teams Connect, presenting a great way to share channels with members of the organization or third parties.
The first option on the left side of the Teams menu is called “Activity”, its icon is a bell, and as you can imagine it’s a notification panel. Thanks to this section, you can be up to date with everything that is happening in your teams and channels.
Here you will find all the posts in which you have been mentioned, the posts that have replied to you and the reactions to your posts. Additionally, from the configuration section, you can customize this feed and decide what kind of information you want to display. It also allows you to view the history of your own activity.
Chat, one of the most used features in Teams, couldn’t be missing from this list. Although Teams is a collaborative and group tool, sometimes we need to talk to a specific person. In these cases, it would not make sense to “mess” the group channels with a private conversation that is of no interest to others. That’s why there is a cat.
The Teams chat is the most complete. It allows you to change the format of the text, attach files, insert stickers and emoticons or mark the message as “important” or “urgent”. We will have a “Files” tab in the chat itself to see all of the documents and media files that we have shared with that person over time.
Calls and video calls
We couldn’t stop talking about what makes Teams so special: calls, and especially video calls. How can Teams video calling compare to the competition?
Excellent audio quality thanks to the Satin codec. Special functions for administrators such as granting speaking turns, disabling or disabling the participant’s camera. Together Mode: Meetings don’t have to be boring and distant. Why not pretend that we are in the same room thanks to artificial intelligence? Interactive meetings thanks to live reactions. Respond with emojis that show your approval and support while a caller speaks! Internet cafes and break rooms. Teleworking should not deprive workers of their well-deserved rest! Live, quality presentations with PowerPoint Live.
3. Can I use Microsoft Teams for free?
The quick answer is YES. However, the free version of Microsoft Teams does not have all of the features and benefits of the full version. Then we provide you with a table with the main differences:
Microsoft Teams (free) Microsoft Teams (Microsoft 365) Maximum number of members Up to 500,000 per company Potentially unlimited with a company license Storage 2 GB / user and 10 GB shared 1 TB / user Guest access ✔ ✔ Calls and video calls ✔ ✔ Channel Meetings ✔ ✔ Screen Share ✔ ✔ Scheduled Meetings ✔ ✔ (Integrated with Exchange Calendar) Meeting Recording ✔ (Available with Microsoft Stream) Audio and Video Conferencing ✔ Hosting Online Events with up to 10,000 People ✔ Features for frontline workers (shifts, walkie-talkie, etc.) ✔
Additionally, those who pay for the Microsoft 365 (formerly Office 365) service will be able to take advantage of special features for admins such as:
Tools to manage users and applications. Microsoft 365 service usage reports. User settings and configurable policies.
4. How do I download Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams is a cross-platform service. There are apps for Windows, MacOS, iOS, and Android. Additionally, you can enjoy the web-based version of Teams through the browser, which looks more and more like the desktop app. In fact, those in Redmond are planning to turn the Teams desktop app into a web app. Here are the download links:
Download Microsoft Teams for Windows or MacOS