Microsoft Teams now allows you to see up to 49 participants at once for some reason

Virtual Commute
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft Teams will now enable users to view up to 49 participants at once on a single screen as the company looks to appeal to larger businesses that previously struggled to find space for all their employees when video conferencing.

Prior to the update, it was only possible to view nine participants on a Teams call – fine for small meetings, less good for company-wide conference calls. Microsoft announced that a 7X7 grid view was on the way back in June but general availability has only just been confirmed.

Microsoft may have felt pressured to increase the maximum number of call participants due to the fact that Zoom, another popular video conferencing tool, already accommodated 49 individuals in its gallery view.

Microsoft Teams new features

The move to allow larger meetings on a single screen is not the only update that Microsoft has brought to Teams recently. Improvements to desktop launch times, offline support, video rendering optimizations and battery life for mobile users were also announced at the end of September.

New scenes are also coming to Teams’ Together mode, which uses AI segmentation technology to give meeting participants a shared background, making users feel as though they’re sat in the same room with their colleagues or clients. There’s also a Safe Transfer feature to enable Teams users to transfer a call to Skype for Business and improvements to the pre-join meeting experience.

It remains to be seen, however, exactly how many Microsoft Teams meetings will make use of the new expanded 7x7 grid view. Although the Redmond-based firm may be able to make it work from a technical point of view, practically it may prove a challenge. Having nearly 50 people all trying to speak at once sounds like it would be enough to make employees desperate to return to the office.

Barclay Ballard

Barclay has been writing about technology for a decade, starting out as a freelancer with ITProPortal covering everything from London’s start-up scene to comparisons of the best cloud storage services.  After that, he spent some time as the managing editor of an online outlet focusing on cloud computing, furthering his interest in virtualization, Big Data, and the Internet of Things.