In the middle of pandemic lockdowns last year, Microsoft launched Together Mode for its Teams workplace messaging app in an effort to help attendees feel more connected. To use the mode, a meeting should have five participants at the very least, but it looks like the tech giant is looking to make it available even for calls with fewer attendees. As first reported by The Verge, people are now able to use the feature for video calls with as few as two participants, as long as they're using the Developer Preview version of the Teams app.
Love the fact I can use together mode in #MicrosoftTeams with only two people when I'm on the developer preview 😍— 💫🌙 Amanda Sterner 💫🌙 (@amandassterner) July 1, 2021
I'm almost never in meetings with 5 or more people🙄
Great change 🌠 pic.twitter.com/86bAitGBTW
Together Mode uses AI-powered segmentation to put all participants in a meeting in one virtual space. Its purpose is to make people feel like they're all sitting in the same room and to help them see the other participants' nonverbal cues. The NBA gave fans a look at what the feature can do by using it to recreate the atmosphere of a packed arena without anyone being physically there.
In December, a few months after the mode rolled out, it made its way to Skype so that friends and family can use it for their video calls, as well. Even then, though, it had a five-participant minimum, which likely limited its use. Making it accessible to fewer participants could encourage people to use it more frequently. Users can switch to Developer Preview by clicking the ellipsis next to their profile picture in Teams and going to the About section. However, some organizations could switch the option off, making it unavailable to their personnel.