Looking to make screen-sharing more interactive so colleagues can collaborate using third-party apps directly in Teams video meetings, Microsoft has this week unveiled Live Share, a Teams SDK extension that’s now in preview. It lets developers customise applications so users can co-edit and co-create while on a call together.
Azure Fluid Relay will be available in mid-year, but Microsoft did not say when Live Share will be generally available.
Microsoft has added a variety of ways to interact with third-party apps in recent years, including the “share to stage” functionality announced last year that lets Teams users access products such as Mural and Miro during a video call.
But while previous updates relied on bringing existing “multi-player” elements in third-party apps into Teams, Live Share lets developers customise a wider range of apps for use within Microsoft’s collaboration app, said Nicole Herskowitz, vice president for Microsoft Teams.
“It basically makes every app a ‘multiplayer’ app in a live meeting,” said Herskowitz in an interview ahead of the Build event. “It's a really hard problem to solve — a lot of apps are not built that way — but we're making it very easy for developers to do that."
Some of the companies that have already been building prototypes using the Live Share SDK include Frame.io, Hexagon, and SkillSoft (these are not currently available for users).
With Hexagon’s 3D design and visualisation software, for example, it’s possible for users to zoom in and out, manipulate models, view data, and even make edits directly from Teams. Developers at learning and development software platform SkillSoft have created live share functionality that allows any Teams meeting participant to pause and annotate a video.
Microsoft said it will also start to bring more interactive experiences to its own first-party apps too.
“Releasing capabilities such as Live Share and the Azure Fluid Relay service at Build demonstrates Microsoft’s commitment to investing in Teams as a platform,” said Kevin Kieller, co-founder of Microsoft consultancy EnableUC.
“Whether the Live Share capability is useful for end users relies on the interest, ingenuity, and creativity that Teams app developers employ using this new platform feature.”