Microsoft’s Team Copilot aims to help manage meetings, group chats

So far, Microsoft’s 365 Copilot has mainly been positioned as a personal assistant for individual workers, helping them draft emails or recap meetings they might have missed. With the upcoming launch of Team Copilot, Microsoft wants to make its generative AI (genAI) assistant accessible in group settings, helping enable video meetings and coordinating team projects. 

“Microsoft Team Copilot makes a great deal of sense as the next step in equipping the workforce with AI-based tools,” said J.P. Gownder, a vice president and principal analyst at Forrester Research. “We know that productivity isn’t confined to individual work, so having Copilot for 365 help with group-oriented tasks will only improve overall productivity.”

Microsoft highlighted three key use cases for the Team Copilot.

First, the bot can be added to a Teams video call as a “meeting facilitator,” Jared Spataro, Microsoft’s corporate vice president for AI at work, said in a blog post. Here, it can take notes that can be viewed and edited by all meeting participants, as well as create follow-up tasks that all can see; track time for each agenda item; and assist in-person or hybrid meetings when integrated with Teams Rooms.

Second, colleagues can interact with the Team Copilot in group text chats within Teams. Here the Copilot can summarize lengthy conversations to surface the most important information to all participants, as well as answer questions from the group.

Meeting summarization and note-taking have emerged as popular uses for AI assistants, said Gownder, “so making that a group-oriented assistant that helps everyone attending the meeting also makes sense. I think this is a great product evolution.” 

Finally, the Team Copilot can be used to help manage projects, creating tasks and goals within Microsoft’s Planner app that it can then assign to individual workers. It can also complete tasks itself — such as drafting a blog post — and notify team members when additional input is needed.

While Gownder sees potential for the Team Copilot to improve productivity, he noted that some of Microsoft’s messaging around the product is sloppy. 

“It says that Team Copilot will engage in ‘meeting facilitation,’ which isn’t what it’s doing,” he said. “Meeting facilitation means acting as the leader of a meeting, ensuring inclusivity, keeping people on-subject and on-time. It’s a particular skill. Team Copilot doesn’t do this; it creates agendas, tracks time, takes notes, summaries key takeaways, and shares files.”

Group moderation is another term that’s wide of the mark, he said. “Moderation sounds like what happens on Reddit — keeping people in line and censoring inappropriate comments. That’s again not what Copilot does; it’s acting more as a business insights assistant for group interactions and meetings,” said Gownder.

All in all, the strategy and the product direction for Team Copilot “make a lot of sense,” he said, assuming they work as described; Copilot for Microsoft 365 remains a work in progress, said Gownder, with genAIunpredictable at times. 

The Team Copilot will be available in preview later this year for Microsoft 365 customers with a Copilot subscription.