Microsoft Teams getting breakout rooms, virtual commute, and new ‘Together Mode’ backgrounds

Microsoft Teams is getting several updates as part of the company’s virtual Ignite tech conference this morning, looking to keep pace with its rivals and keep up with the demands of users  increasingly relying on the collaboration technology as critical infrastructure for remote work and learning.

The ability to create ad hoc breakout rooms will be available starting next month. Microsoft says this is one of the most requested Teams features. “Meeting organizers will be able to split up participants into smaller groups to facilitate brainstorming sessions or workgroup discussions. Presenters can then hop between breakout rooms, make announcements to all breakout rooms, and close the rooms to return everyone to the main meeting,” the company says in a blog post.

Microsoft is partnering with meditation app Headspace on a customizable “virtual commute” feature. It uses automation technology to help users close out tasks and designate work for the following

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