Microsoft Teams is reportedly adding support that will let a meeting be conducted in Together Mode if the meeting has less than 5 participants including the organiser. Microsoft introduced the Together Mode in Teams back in July 2020 and at that time, users could only activate the together mode if the participant count was between 5 and 49. Currently, the feature can be accessed by users who have access to the Microsoft Developer preview. It can be speculated that the feature will roll out to the general audience soon.
The new feature for Microsoft Teams was tweeted by tech blogger Amanda Sterner (@amandassterner). The tweet was first spotted by OnMSFT. Up until now, Microsoft only allowed users to activate Together Mode when the number of participants ranged from 5 to 49. However, with the new update, 2 or more participants in a meeting can now activate Together Mode.
To activate Together Mode, users will have to navigate to the meeting controls available on the top right corner of the meeting window. Up there is a three-dot icon that leads to a drop-down menu. Users can select the Together Mode option to activate the feature. The feature is only available for Microsoft Developer preview users and would need to get it activated for both personal and professional accounts. However, users with a professional account may not be able to do it as it may be restricted by their organisation.
Together Mode was introduced in July 2020 to improve the video calling experience during coronavirus-induced lockdowns. As per Microsoft, the feature was introduced to reduce fatigue that participants experience during a video call staring at screens with participants with different backgrounds, waiting for the cue to start speaking, among many such issues.
Microsoft Team’s Together Mode uses AI segmentation technology to place participants in a shared background such as an auditorium. Microsoft also says that Together Mode also makes it easier to pick up non-verbal cues making the conversation feel more natural.
In July 2020, Microsoft and NBA also tested Together Mode to allow fans to virtually attend a basketball game. The two organisations installed 17-foot-tall (5.2 m) LED screens that wrap three sides of each game court.