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Posted by on May 25, 2023 in Development, Microsoft Teams

My top 6 Microsoft Teams developer features announced at Build 2023

My top 6 Microsoft Teams developer features announced at Build 2023

It’s been a busy week for Microsoft announcements, with Microsoft Build, Microsoft’s developer conference, taking place in Seattle.

I’ve been through what’s announced and what’s coming, and collated my top 6 features that I think Microsoft Teams developers will find interesting, along with reasons why.

1. ACS Call Automation Teams Interop

There’s some really good stuff happening around Azure Communication Services right now. At Build, Call Automation went GA. Call Automation allows developers to write back-end services that can make and receive calls. Whilst this is exciting for developers, it’s not really relavent to Microsoft Teams. However, as part of this announcement, Microsoft announced a new Preview of Call Automation Teams Interop which is coming next month. This will allow Call Automation solutions to reach out to Microsoft Teams users and place calls directly with them.

Up until now, Teams Interop with ACS has been limited to meetings, so this is an exciting development that will unlock more capabilities around call control, enabling developers to take calls from ACS and connect them to people inside Teams.

Read more: Build 2023: Transforming customer experiences with automated, AI-assisted communication

Build session: Build AI-assisted communication workflows for customer engagement

2. Microsoft Teams Message Extension can be brought to Microsoft 365 Copilot

Build 2023 has been the one with the Copilot, and it’s good to see that Microsoft Teams developers aren’t being left out! This announcement is sure to be a hit with developers everywhere. Soon, you’ll be able to build your own plugins for Copilot. These could be brand-new plugins you’ve created, and there will be support and tooling for doing this.

What’s great though, is that if you already have Microsoft Teams Message Extensions, or Power Platform Connectors – you will be able to use those as plugins to Copilot.

This is in Private Preview right now, but this is definitely one to watch. I think that being able to have Copilot take actions on things by executing extensions and plugins is huge, and changes how I think about Copilot.

In this demo clip, you can see that the user asks Copilot to create a Jira ticket, which invokes a Task module. This might well have been an existing Teams message extension (there is a Jira one that exists today). Notice as well how much of the information has been prefilled:

Credit: Microsoft

Read more: Empowering every developer with plugins for Microsoft 365 Copilot

Build session: Harness the power of AI: Extend Copilot and beyond

3. Microsoft Teams AI Library

Staying with AI, there was another announcement that will benefit Microsoft Teams developers directly.

Microsoft have concluded, correctly, that once people start creating customsied LLMs, the first thing EVERYONE will want to do is to put a bot in front of it, so that users can interact with the LLM in a approachable way.

Anticipating this need, they have created a library to make that process super easy, with templates and scaffolding to enable you to quickly create and connect a bot, without needing to understand the plumbing associated with working with a LLM.

Credit: Microsoft

This is in Preview today, and is built into the Microsoft Teams Toolkit.

Key features of the Teams AI Library include:

  • Built for Teams – Pre-built templates for bots, messaging extensions, Adaptive Cards etc.
  • Bots can run in-context and assist when they recognise an intent. The user doesn’t need to know the bot’s keyword!
  • Remembers history across context (with no extra code)
  • Localization built-in
  • Use Open AI GPT, or you own LLM
  • Moderation hooks and conversation sweeping to ensure conversations stay on-track and responsible

There’s even a quick-start guide already:

Read more: Build 2023: Building apps that bring together AI and collaboration

Build session: Harness the power of AI: Extend Copilot and beyond

4. Live Share SDK is now GA

You may remember the Live Share SDK being announced a while ago. Well, now it’s GA!

Live Share let’s you write applications in Teams meetings that can communicate with each in a low-latency way. That makes it ideal for things like games…. or, you know, more serious meeting stuff, like co-editing, synchronizing video watching for learning, things like that. Definitely not games.

Here’s an example from the announcement blog post showing, uh… a game! 😉

Credit: Microsoft

Read more: Build 2023: Building apps that bring together AI and collaboration

Build session: Transform Teams apps into multiplayer with Live Share

5. Avatars in Microsoft Teams are GA

Whilst not specific to developers, these last two items have broad appeal and if you use Microsoft Teams at all, you should know about them.

Avatars in Teams are now GA and rolling out everywhere. They are available to all Microsoft 365 Business and Enterprise customers and work on Desktop versions of Teams on Windows and Mac. The GA rollout starts this week.

Credit: Microsoft

Now you have another option other than simply video on or off. You can pre-customise up to 3 different avatars and use them in a meeting instead of video depending on your mood.

Read more: Microsoft Mesh: Empowering the Modern Workplace with Immersive Experiences

6. Immersive Spaces for Microsoft Teams meetings

Finally, an announcement about a new virtual reality feature coming soon to Microsoft Teams. This will allow you to turn a Microsoft Teams meeting into an immersive space.

From the announcement videos, this option will be as simple to enable as other meeting views such as Together mode or Large gallery. You might want to warn people what’s about to happen though, as everyone will be transported instantly to the Metaverse. (although, in the screenshot below, it’s clear that Irvin is already beyond ready!):

Whilst Irvin will undoubtably have a great experience, having a full VR setup isn’t necessary. Immersive spaces will work with both PCs and headsets:

Microsoft have said that this is also a great opportunity for developers to build custom experiences.

I am quite excited by how accessible this will make VR to people, and curious to see what the adoption is like. I think it could be an interesting alternative way to conduct some less-formal meetings and catchups.

Read more: Microsoft Mesh: Empowering the Modern Workplace with Immersive Experiences

Build session: Explore how to build in 3D with Microsoft Mesh

That’s my take on Build announcements for Microsoft Teams developers, but did I miss something? Let me know in the comments!

Written by Tom Morgan

Tom is a Microsoft Teams Platform developer and Microsoft MVP who has been blogging for over a decade. Find out more.
Buy the book: Building and Developing Apps & Bots for Microsoft Teams. Now available to purchase online with free updates.

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