Staying in touch with coworkers in the field should get a whole lot easier for firstline workers thanks to an expansion of the push-to-talk walkie talkie functionality in Microsoft Teams to more devices.
According to a new post on the Microsoft 365 Roadmap, the feature will be available worldwide on Microsoft Teams phones in September 2021.
Once the feature rolls out, users with compatible Microsoft Teams phones will be able to use their device like a walkie talkie that can work over both a cellular or wireless connection. Users will be able to press and hold a button to speak to their team, and release the button to listen.
- We've built a list of the best video conferencing software around
- These are the best online collaboration tools on the market
- Also check out our roundup of the best rugged smartphones
The function had launched for Android devices in January 2020, when the company explained in a blog post how Teams' walkie talkie feature could reduce the number of devices employees need to carry each day while providing added security when compared to analog devices.
“This functionality, built natively into Teams, reduces the number of devices employees must carry, and lowers costs for IT," Microsoft said at the time.
"Unlike analog devices with unsecure networks, customers no longer have to worry about crosstalk or eavesdropping from outsiders. And since Walkie Talkie functions over Wi-Fi or cellular data, this capability can be used across geographic locations.”
Teams Walkie Talkie accessories
While Microsoft Teams' walkie talkie functionality will work with many Android smartphone or tablet, it can also work better with a rugged smartphone, as many of these devices include programmable buttons.
For instance, in a blog post from Samsung, the Korean hardware giant explained how Teams' walkie talkie feature can be mapped to the programmable button on its Galaxy XCover Pro or event its new Galaxy XCover 5 so that workers don't even need to unlock their smartphone to access push-to-talk (PTT) functionality.
Firstline workers can further augment Teams' walkie talkie feature by connecting either a wired or wireless headset and Microsoft points out in a support document that the Jabra BlueParrot and Klein Valor Speaker have both been validated to work with Teams Walkie Talkie.
To get started using walkie talkie in Teams when the feature rolls out in September 2021, you'll first need to open the app on your device and look for the Walkie Talkie icon in the navigation bar. If it's not there, don't worry as you can tap on More options to access it.
Microsoft offers a number of Teams phones, with the likes of Lenovo, Yealink and Poly signed up as partner manufacturers.
- We've also highlighted the best business smartphones