Microsoft has launched Teams Essentials, a standalone offering of Teams targeting small businesses.
The service is meant for SMEs that have been forced to undergo digital transformation due to COVID-19 with their operations going online or their employees working remotely. It will allow them to fit seamlessly into new employee workstyles, such as synchronous and asynchronous collaboration.
“While the past 20 months have been challenging for all organizations, I don’t know any that have been hit harder than small businesses. They’ve had to adapt nearly every aspect of how they operate and work with customers, often without access to critical tools and technologies. The world isn’t going back to the “old” way of working, so small businesses need solutions that are designed specifically for their unique needs to thrive in this new normal” Jared Spataro, Corporate Vice President for Microsoft 365 said.
Team Essentials features include 10GB of file storage, unlimited group calls for up to 30 hours, group chat, file sharing, and calendaring. It can host up to 300 people for virtual meetings. It costs $4 per person, per month to use the service. It also includes Teams features such as the meeting lobby, Together Mode, custom backgrounds, and closed captioning.
With new working styles brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, technology companies continue to invest more in work-collaboration tools.
In November, Microsoft announced that it will introduce Mesh in 2021 which allow users to attend meetings using their customised avatar instead of the normal picture or video. It will also enable organizations to build immersive spaces where users, through their avatars can mix, mingle, and collaborate on projects.
Anyone will be able to access Mesh for Teams from standard smartphones and laptops to mixed-reality headsets.