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January-February developments

The new year has brought more new features to Microsoft Teams to facilitate hybrid and virtual collaboration.

Flat worker using computer for virtual team building or videoconference in home office. Seminar, online meeting and remote work concept. Man have web conference, corporate video call with colleagues.

Sign Language View on Microsoft Teams is one of the new options that help people who are deaf or hard of hearing, as well as sign language interpreters, maintain a consistent on-screen location for one another during each meeting. Sign Language View allows approved signers to remain visible in the centre as long as their video is on. Other participants can be pinned or highlighted without interfering with the signers. When someone in the meeting shares content, the prioritised signer’s video remains larger and moves to a different place on the screen, while maintaining high quality and a larger size. The accessibility options pane and the sign language view are presently available in Public Preview.


Using the Excel Live software, it is now possible to add more people working on an Excel file during a meeting. It works the same way as PowerPoint Live. When you are in a meeting, select the Excel file you wish to share and collaborate on by clicking the Share button.

Zoom stated that the new feature that allows account owners and admins to set up a meeting option – allow hosts to create breakout rooms using poll results, will be available soon. When enabled, hosts can choose to create breakout rooms depending on poll responses from participants.

Webinar hosts can use the simulive feature to share a previously recorded webinar session as a video file within a live session webinar. This enables the host to begin an event at a predetermined time while still being able to communicate with the audience via live chat. To use this functionality, the host must have a Zoom Events license.

Google Meet makes emoji reactions available to users who use Google Meet for video conversations. The company announced that this functionality will be accessible first on iOS and the web. The reactions, which include standard emojis like a smiling face, heart symbol, or thumbs down, will display as a small badge in the sender’s video tile and float up the left side of the screen.

Kumospace has updated the existing ones and introduced some new features. The new Megaphone feature allows you to start a broadcast, so you have the opportunity to talk to all the participants in the room. The latest version allows teams to engage and interact with the screen share window in real time using their computer pointers. You can now show your screen and have a team member turn on the Show Pointer button to share their device’s pointer.



What will 2023 bring us?

During 2022, two years after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, we at Diplo’s Conftech continued working hard in order to build capacity and help connect the vibrant International Geneva scene with the rest of the world. In 2022, Diplo held 28 online events, with a total of 2,274 participants. The success is not in the numbers (although they are large) but rather in the quality of people trained by Diplo to continue the proper online meeting etiquette within their respective organisations. 

We should think twice about the prefix we often use to describe post-corona online culture. The ‘old normal’ is never to come back. That is OK since we can recall that only a handful of organisations were using online meetings meaningfully. And if so, they were doing it more in a broadcast way: one-to-many livestreaming. And definitely, it is not a ‘new normal’, since video communication has become just a normal business practice. Similar to how the generations in front of us learned to use fax and copy machines at work. No worries, this will not be a prerequisite for your future job.  

Are you planning an online meeting or event, 59392e47 ead5 46a2 aff5 4c01064fa1faand need urgent advice? 

Our ConfTech Help desk provides countries and organisations with immediate advice on how to organise and run online meetings and events. Get in touch with us at conftech@diplomacy.edu.

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