Microsoft Teams' oddest feature is getting a major upgrade

Microsoft Teams on an iPhone
(Image credit: Shutterstock - Natee Meepian)

If you've ever thought that Microsoft Teams could do with being a bit more expansive, then a new addition to one of its most intriguing features could be right up your street.

The company has announced it is working on an expansion to Walkie Talkie mode for its video conferencing tool which will now offer the chance to communicate over multiple channels.

This should mean that users can now connect quickly to multiple teams or accounts, hopefully improving communication and collaboration across projects and businesses.

Microsoft Teams Walkie Talkie

First announced in January 2020, initially for Android devices before expanding to Microsoft Teams phones in September 2021, Walkie Talkie is described in the roadmap entry as, "a push-to-talk experience that enables clear and secure voice communication over the cloud, enabl(ing) teams to communicate instantly on a channel."

The feature is targeted at a number of specific industry use cases, and could reduce the number of devices employees need to carry each day while providing added security when compared to analog devices. It can work over both a cellular or wireless connection, with users simply needing to press and hold a button to speak to their team, and release the button to listen.

The new addition, which has an expected rollout start date of December 2023 for users on iOS and Android devices, will allow users to connect to up to five favorite channels in multi-channel mode, as well as being able to automatically listen to incoming transmission from these favorited channels and initiate easily initiate PTT transmission on these channels.

Firstline workers can further boost the usefulness of the walkie talkie feature by connecting either a wired or wireless headset, as Microsoft looks to expand Teams to as many users as possible.

The company has been working hard on making Teams a more pleasant experience for mobile users in recent months, including making it easier for users to join Microsoft Teams meetings when using a smartphone, removing some of the unnecessary steps and making sure users are set up the way they like when joining a call. 

It also recently unveiled a new Microsoft Teams layout that the company says makes navigating around the Android and iOS apps a lot simpler, allowing users to quickly and easily find the channels or chats they need.

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Mike Moore
Deputy Editor, TechRadar Pro

Mike Moore is Deputy Editor at TechRadar Pro. He has worked as a B2B and B2C tech journalist for nearly a decade, including at one of the UK's leading national newspapers and fellow Future title ITProPortal, and when he's not keeping track of all the latest enterprise and workplace trends, can most likely be found watching, following or taking part in some kind of sport.