Microsoft is revealing more about how people use its Teams app, predicting that the spread of the new coronavirus will be a turning point that will forever change the way we work and learn. Last month, Microsoft Teams’ global demand surged, jumping from 32 million daily active users to 44 million in just one week. As usage continues to rise, Microsoft has released a new remote work trends report highlighting changes in work habits.
According to the report, Microsoft set a new record of 2.7 billion meeting times a day, with more people using Teams’ video and conferencing features. That’s up 200 percent from 900 million minutes in mid-March, when many businesses turned to telecommuting. People open video calls twice as often as they did in Teams meetings, and the use of video calls in Teams increased by more than 100 percent in March. Microsoft found that in Norway and the Netherlands, people were more likely to turn on video calls, with about 60 percent of them including video, compared with 38 percent in the U.S. and 47 percent in the U.S. and 47 percent.
Microsoft engineers are busy behind the scenes, making sure the company has enough capacity to handle all of these new users, according to the report. Microsoft was caught off guard by a brief outage of Teams services in Europe at a time when demand in countries such as Italy was soaring. In addition, companies have also their full conference calls and customer meetings to the Internet, so the demand for Microsoft video streaming service Stream has increased. As more companies want Microsoft to help them host bigger conferences and events, Microsoft has had to increase the number of participants from 10,000 to 100,000.
All of these requirements have also changed the way Microsoft prioritizes teams, with all users now able to customize the background in Teams, the Hands Up feature will be available later this month, and conference organizers will be able to end the meeting with one click for everyone and download attendee reports, including join and departure times. In addition, Microsoft is working to improve video call views in Teams to get more people involved. Microsoft has re-prioritized resources to ensure that they move forward quickly at this point.
In addition, the report shows that webcams and laptops are popular at retailers during this time of working from home, as consumers want to buy remote work and distance learning devices. Microsoft sees a similar trend in its supply chain. The PC is back, and people realize that trying to work from home with an iPad isn’t working.