Microsoft Teams plays catch up in the race for on-screen faces
by Paul Davenport Paul Davenport on

Social distancing guidelines have made UCaaS tools more than just business-critical solutions, as it seems like every parent and grandparent with WiFi access has been hopping on Zoom and other video conferencing apps to bridge the gap between friends and family in isolation.

This has put unprecedented pressure on unified communication providers, whose products demand a higher share of network throughput than standard messaging applications, making them prone to latency and jitter issues when they’re relying on insufficient network capacity. While skyrocketing demands on network capacity have presented issues where app performance is concerned, the surge in popularity for Zoom in particular has also exposed major security flaws within the app that are giving both casual and business users pause.

Fortunately, other video conferencing solutions are working hard to beef up their offerings specifically with enterprise users in mind.

Just this week, Microsoft announced that it’s increasingly popular Teams app will soon be able to support up to nine participants on a single call – up from the previous limit of four. The move upgrade is expected to be completed by the end of April, a Microsoft Teams engineer said on its User Voice site. More than 40,000 people have upvoted a request for more on-screen faces in the past few weeks, which was the driving factor in Microsoft accelerating the development of this latest feature, which was originally slated to go live in May.

It would appear this is only the start, as Microsoft engineers have promised that they are actively developing increased hosting capabilities specifically to help enterprise workers that have been disrupted by the pandemic. This puts Teams closer to closing the gap between their capabilities and those of established UCaaS market leaders: Zoom currently allows 49 users on screen at once, while Cisco WebEx, which is also popular in the enterprise, and Hangouts in G-Suite allows users to see up to 25 participants.

The reality for enterprise IT teams is that their users may need to leverage more than one video conferencing solution for the duration of their current remote work situation. That means that a greater share of enterprise network capacity will likely be allocated to these high-throughput solutions, making visibility into app performance and capacity allocation more essential than ever before.

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Filed Under: Industry Insights

Tags: WAH , wfh , work remote , work from home , remote office , remote work , cloud computing , network performance monitoring , network monitoring , network management , Citrix WebEx , WebEx , zoom , teams , Microsoft Teams , Microsoft , ucaas , UC , unified communications , video calls , video conferencing