I’ve worked through the content and here are my top 10 Microsoft Teams announcements. Thanks to lots of people in the community for highlighting the big news items too.
Stay tuned to my email update for more details on these in the coming weeks.
1. Microsoft Teams meeting recordings will now be stored in OneDrive and SharePoint
*TMR is Teams Meeting Recordings
Easily my number one for a massive day to day usability improvement. Microsoft Teams meeting recordings will now be stored and shared with OneDrive and SharePoint, rather than stored directly in Microsoft Stream. Because the files are in OneDrive/SharePoint, we benefit from the much more mature permissions and sharing, retention policies, information governance, “go local” and multi-geo tenant support, customer key support and API-level access to meeting recordings.
Check out my full blog that breaks down all the details here.
2. Custom Meeting Layouts
Custom meeting layouts allow presenters to customize how content shows up for participants during a meeting. One of the most exciting features is using the AI green screen technology to overlay the presenter on a PowerPoint slide. I think this is great for engagement in content and the presenter.
3. Microsoft Teams Meeting recaps
An auto-generated meeting summary with the meeting recording, transcript, chat, shared files, and more will be shared in the meeting Chat tab and viewable in the Details tab for each meeting. A link to the recap will also be available in the meeting event in your Outlook calendar. This will be really handy to get a quick overview of any meetings you miss.
4. Webinar registration and reporting
I do my fair share of webinars. I often get asked why we don’t do Modality Webinars on Microsoft Teams. In fact, I have a whole blog with the answer here., but it boils down to gaps in functions needed for a true webinar.
Microsoft is looking to close some of the gaps towards being a webinar platform with event registration, automated emails and a detailed reporting dashboard that will help understand attendee engagement. With these features and being able to have up to 1,000 interactive participants and meeting overflow, Microsoft Teams might provide an interesting webinar platform for many. These new features are expected to begin to roll out by the end of the year.
Other Meetings news included:
- Meetings of up to 1,000 participants with the advanced comms licence
- Breakout rooms – split up meeting participants into smaller groups, popular in education. Presenters can choose to hop between breakout rooms, make announcements to all breakout rooms, and/or close the breakout rooms that then bring everybody back into the main meeting.
- New Together mode scenes
- Meeting Extensibility API’s – 20 partner apps are coming, allowing Teams users to customize their Teams meeting experience. HireVue, ServiceNow, Range, Buncee and PagerDuty are among the apps expected to roll out in the coming months.
5. Improved calling app
A much-improved calling app (Microsoft refer to their native experiences as apps in teams). A new streamlined view that shows contacts, voicemail and calling history and current device information.
6. Microsoft Teams Survivable Branch Appliances
I must admit, I wouldn’t have seen this one coming. I’ve deployed my fair share of Lync and Skype for Business Survivable Branch Appliances. These boxes allow telephony to keep working via a local PSTN connection (SIP or ISDN) to the Survivable Branch Appliance even if the internet/Office 365 connectivity is down. For sites that need telephony to stay up, even when the internet/WAN/Service goes down, these will be your devices. I’m currently getting more details from Ribbon and AudioCodes. Stay tuned to the email update.
Other Microsoft Teams Telephony news
- Microsoft re-announced adding Microsoft Teams Calling Plans for 6 countries from October 1st
- Collaborative calling – sort of a contact center light, connect a call queue to a channel in Teams. Users can collaborate and share information in the channel while taking calls in the queue. Useful for internal desks like IT support
- Microsoft re-announced SIP support and new low-cost IP and USB Teams Phones
- Transcription, live captions, recording and the ability to transfer between Teams mobile and desktop apps will be available for 1:1 calls.
Microsoft Teams Devices:
7. Microsoft Teams Collaboration Bars and Microsoft Teams Rooms Merging
Microsoft has two main types of certified meeting room devices, Android Collaboration bars like the Yealink VC210 and Windows-based Microsoft Teams Rooms. From now, both will be called Microsoft Teams Rooms, differentiated as MTR for Android (MTRfA) and MTR for Windows (MTRfW). Even though the feature parity gap will close, there will still be some subtle differences, check out my friend Graham Walsh’s blog for an excellent overview.
8. Microsoft Teams Panels
A whole new device category for Microsoft Teams, these are the small screens you see outside meeting rooms that give details of who has them booked. Users can view space and meeting details, reserve a space, view upcoming reservations and quickly identify current availability status. Users can also view the building floor plan and book another room using the “Nearby Rooms” feature. Teams panels will be available March next year from Crestron and Yealink.
Other Microsoft Teams device news:
- Microsoft Teams Rooms will soon be covered by FastTrack, Microsoft’s free advice and guidance for Microsoft 365 customers.
- Microsoft re-announced touchless meetings experiences, mobile Room remote for Microsoft Teams Rooms, Support for Teams casting for Microsoft Teams Rooms, Proximity Join on Surface Hub, and Cortana voice assistance for Microsoft Teams Rooms on Windows (for selected countries)
- Meeting room capacity notifications – leveraging the smarts in cameras like Poly and Huddly, rooms will alert if an admin set capacity limit is breached.
- Yealink announced their MTR for Android A20 Microsoft Teams Meeting Bar.
- AudioCodes have an MTR for Android device coming, the Audiocodes RX80
- Lenovo launched their new ThinkSmart Hub. I liked their Hub 500, it was a very robust device. This unit replaces the Hub 500.
- Intelligent Speakers – a new device category, supposedly have superior technology to know who is speaking. I wonder if these are just good mic arrays and the tech is in the MTR/cloud. Yealink and Epos will be the first vendors.
- Microsoft announced Device as a Service. Initially, in the US and Canada. This is devices bought on a subscription basis.
- New meeting room management capabilities in the Teams Admin Center
Microsoft Teams Service Features:
9. Customer managed encryption keys coming for Microsoft Teams
Coming preview Q4 2020, targeting GA Q1 2021, Microsoft will add Customer Key support for Microsoft Teams. This will encrypt Microsoft Teams data (private chat and team chat) with a customer-provided key.
Customer Key is part of E5 and the Advanced Compliance SKU. Additionally, customers must also purchase the appropriate license for using Azure Key Vault. I have a full breakdown here.
10. Microsoft Teams Productivity insights – powered by MyAnalytics and Workplace Analytics
Individuals and managers will get insights personalized to their role with recommended actions to make changing habits and improving productivity and wellbeing easier.
Other Service news:
- Team templates are now GA.
- Teams Info pane, available now, provides an at-a-glance summary of active members, important posts and other relevant information in each channel.
- Increased size limit of 25,000 members for individual teams
- A new search experience in Teams, powered by Microsoft Search and available by the end of 2020, will make finding messages, people and files faster and more intuitive.
- New SharePoint home site app brings the power of your SharePoint home site and the rest of your intranet directly into Teams.
So that’s my top 10.