Microsoft Teams | Is 49 Too Much?

Over the course of lockdown, more people than ever have been learning to utilise software like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to stay in touch. Organising quiz nights, catching up with friends and checking in with socially distanced family through multiple screens has become the norm, though it wasn’t without its limits.

Microsoft Teams was at first limited to 4 people video calling, then to a 3×3 screen share or 9 people in layperson’s terms until recently. Within the space of a week, Microsoft announced a massive bump in video call capability. The new version of Teams would allow up to 49 people to appear on the screen at once in a 7×7 grid.

The increase would mean that Teams rivalled Zoom, which currently allows up to 49 participants, however the new feature won’t be generally available until the Autumn. But what do people think of it?

Too much, too little or just right?

The upgrade was undoubtedly designed to make virtual meetings easier and allow more members of a company to communicate at once. However, we wondered if adding 40 more people to a call was actually a necessary leap. The best way to find out? Open the idea up to debate.

We ran a LinkedIn poll with the question: ‘Microsoft is increasing the number of people visible during a Teams meeting to 49, is it too much or incredibly helpful?’

The options were ’49 is just right,’ ’49 is overkill’ and ‘I need more,’ and we were surprised at the results.

A whopping 60% of voters thought 49 people was a step too far. The remaining votes favoured the new system, with 33% saying it was just right. However, there are still a few of you (8%) wanting even more callers to be added.

Why is 49 too much for most of us?

Despite companies like Microsoft making changes to benefit businesses, the majority of people don’t seem to want that drastic of a change. Following 49 people on a screen may be too much to keep track of when you’re part of a business call, and we wonder if anyone will have that many people on a call for personal purposes.

That said, you don’t have to use all of those screens, so you can still have your four-way virtual meet-up or 3 x 3 screen for weekly briefings. It’s also worth considering the sectors where it could be useful, such as education. Teachers reacted positively to the news, praising the idea that entire classrooms would be able to appear at once. Good luck controlling your much larger virtual classroom though…

Working from anywhere

Whether it’s more participants on video calls or greater flexibility in the cloud, better technology has been key in the transition to remote working. With the new way of working here to stay, it’s never been more important to have the right tools in place to keep your team collaborative and productive.

At Aura, we specialise in tailored tech solutions that allow you to work from anywhere. If you want to talk more about remote working technology, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team – and be sure to connect with us on LinkedIn to have your say on the latest technology debates!

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