Microsoft Teams update will help you see eye-to-eye with co-workers

Microsoft Teams
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Microsoft is readying an update for collaboration platform Teams that will supposedly help make video calls feel more natural in the world of hybrid working.

As per a new entry in the company’s product roadmap, Microsoft Teams users will soon benefit from an additional video call layout, called Front row.

“Front row is a new layout that enables better hybrid meetings,” explained Microsoft. “It brings remote participants to eye level with participants in [conference] rooms and adds additional data like chat to give in-room users better context of what’s happening in the meeting.”

The new layout is still under development, but should be available to all Teams users via the layout picker by the end of January.

Microsoft Teams calls

Since the start of the pandemic, vendors of video conferencing services like Teams, Zoom and Meet have fought to optimize call layout for maximum engagement and productivity.

Until now, the emphasis has been on creating new layouts that help remote workers present more effectively. In June, for example, Microsoft launched two new layouts for Teams, called Reporter and Side-by-Side. The former positions content above the presenter’s shoulder, as if they were a news anchor, and the latter displays content next to the presenter’s video feed.

On the side, there has also been a race to see who can support the largest number of video call participants on-screen at once. Currently, Teams and Zoom lead the way with massive 49-person gallery layouts.

Now, however, Microsoft appears to have turned its attention to augmenting its collaboration platform for hybrid working, whereby employees split their time between the home, office and any other location.

A major priority among businesses is to ensure meetings remain equitable when half the participants are in the room and the other half are dialling in remotely. According to Microsoft, a small change like the new Front row layout can help create “a more inclusive environment” and head off some of these potential issues.

Joel Khalili
News and Features Editor

Joel Khalili is the News and Features Editor at TechRadar Pro, covering cybersecurity, data privacy, cloud, AI, blockchain, internet infrastructure, 5G, data storage and computing. He's responsible for curating our news content, as well as commissioning and producing features on the technologies that are transforming the way the world does business.