Microsoft is attempting to gain a foothold in a field controlled by Facebook and Discord. The tech giant launched a new Teams tool to support communities.
The feature, known as ‘communities in Microsoft Teams‘, is aimed at communities like sports teams, event planning groups, parent-teacher organizations and small companies that want a digital platform to stay connected.
The feature is similar to Facebook groups and Discord servers, allowing users to have text conversations, make calls, share files and exchange ideas.
The new ‘community experience’ consists of broadcasting messages to everyone in a group, scheduling events in a community calendar and sharing group-related documents.
It’s as simple as logging into Microsoft Teams and picking a suggested community type from the home screen. Users can invite members through email, phone number, URL or QR code. The service supports branding components like group photos.
Users can adjust settings, define community standards and moderate content by adding and deleting people and postings as deemed fit.
Although much of this feels like Facebook’s Groups, the feature in Microsoft Teams varies in that it also assists in planning virtual, hybrid and in-person events. Support for events includes sending invitations, tracking participation, following up and organizing.
Microsoft convinced various communities to adopt the service before its introduction. For example, the American Youth Soccer Organization intends to leverage the solution to connect volunteers, streamline communications, and provide a single site off the field for its 500,000-member community.
Communities for Microsoft Teams is now accessible for Android and iOS using the free or paid version. Desktop users are expected to be supported soon.