Microsoft is expanding its Teams’ Together Mode feature, which utilizes artificial intelligence to arrange all meeting participants in virtual settings, to include support for smaller groups (via OnMSFT).
The NBA used the tool during the pandemic to create a crowd-like atmosphere for basketball games, and sports fans may be familiar with it. The adjustment to allow smaller crowds, which is now in beta, is the polar opposite of that.
Together Mode will be able to operate for both family gatherings and company-wide all-hands meetings, given Microsoft’s focus on Teams as a personal communications app as well as a professional one.
At the time, it appears that the capability is only available to Teams Developer Preview users. In theory, it’s simple to join: go to Teams, click the ellipsis next to your profile photo in the top-right corner, select About, and then check Developer Preview. However, if you’re using a work account, you might not have this choice; Microsoft claims that the ability to toggle previews on or off is controlled by your company.
Because it’s in preview, the word “together” has an asterisk next to it. When I tested with one client using the preview and another not, the Together interface only appeared on the preview PC.
That wasn’t the case on the computer; it just seemed like a regular Teams call.
It looked to work for one person, for those who wanted to sit alone at the cafe from the convenience of their own home. As with any preview feature, the way it operates may change before it is published to the full public. It’s encouraging to see that Microsoft is considering allowing smaller groups to use this tool, as it may be entertaining for both large and small gatherings.