Microsoft Teams transforms your phone into a walkie-talkie system

Touch-to-talk (PTT), or walkie-talkie, was a feature of Boost Mobile prepaid phones in the early 2000s that enabled you to play your voice over another Boost Mobile user’s phone speaker with the push of a button. Microsoft’s Teams app now brings a similar capability to iOS and Android smartphones. However, unlike Boost Mobile, Microsoft is not utilizing rappers and sportsmen to make PTT seem “cool.” Instead, the tool is positioned by the corporation as a method to leverage technology to help frontline staff.

Emma Williams, corporate VP of contemporary work transformation at Microsoft, revealed in a blog post on Wednesday that the walkie-talkie feature in Teams is now accessible “on all iOS mobile devices, such as iPhones and iPads, in addition to Android mobile devices.”

Williams also said that the capability would be available on some Zebra Technologies products, such as rugged phones and scanning equipment. Such items may even have a button that allows you to connect instantaneously, similar to actual walkie-talkies and Boost Mobile’s old PTT phones.

As per Williams, the number of frontline employees utilizing Teams increased 400% between March and November of last year. Bringing Walkie Talkie for Teams to mobile devices aims to address the challenges that frontline workers face as a result of labor shortages and supply chain issues by providing “technology that saves them time, helps them communicate more seamlessly, and maximizes their efficiency when completing repetitive tasks,” according to Williams.

The walkie-talkie functionality is one method for Microsoft to distinguish Teams in a workplace crowded with competitive applications like Slack and Zoom by emphasizing quick and on-the-go audio communication. Slack is mostly a text-based chat application, but its Huddle function enables you to swiftly communicate with peers. Meanwhile, Zoom’s concept of PTT is to allow you to easily unmute yourself.

Some other current mobile gadgets also include walkie-talkie capabilities. As previously said, Apple released an app with similar capabilities for the Apple Watch in 2018.

While Microsoft is advertising the Walkie Talkie for Teams as a worker tool, there’s nothing stopping you from using it to ask a pal, “Where are you?”