Microsoft

Mark’s Microsoft Monthly: Teams meetings special

By 3rd November 2020January 22nd, 2021No Comments
A banner representing Mark's Microsoft monthly blog and this months Microsoft Teams Special

For our first Microsoft Monthy after a short hiatus, we want to focus on the improvements to Microsoft Teams meetings.

Choose your own adjective for 2020. Whatever, word you use, there’s no arguing with the challenge of learning how to work, commune and collaborate remotely. Microsoft has accelerated new features to meet this challenge in its virtual platform for meetings and remote working. It’s rolled out a significant number of Teams updates.

First, let’s observe the increased usage of Microsoft Teams, there are some great stats on Teams usage and we particularly like this:

Bar Chart showing increase in Microsoft Teams users. From 560 Million in the beginning of March to 2.7 Billion at the end of March

The increased need around capacity is driving plenty of the changes. For example, Teams Meeting Notes now has a limit upped from 20 people to 100.

A couple of years ago, I remember standing in front of a group of people who objected to Teams. They didn’t want to engage – they saw it as a flash in the pan. I can’t help but think where we’d be if the organisations that saw the potential hadn’t pushed ahead! What we would have done without Teams now?

So let’s look at some of the new features and upgrades in Teams meetings.

Microsoft breakout rooms

“XYZ can do breakout rooms, why can’t Teams?” How many of us have asked that?

This October, Microsoft presented Virtual Breakout Rooms. And by the end of November, meeting organisers will be able to split main meetings into smaller sessions for focused discussions. They look nice and easy for meeting organisers, and you can take a look at this 16-minute video that gives a useful overview with interesting comments.

Screenshot showing virtual breakout rooms allowing meeting organisers to split people into groups

The best part about meetings this month for me is that gone are the days where you must search for a recording. Meeting recordings are going to be saved directly on SharePoint and OneDrive. Making them easy to manage and share, just like any other file. This is welcome change has many benefits, and this related Microsoft article is well worth a few minutes of your time.

Floating call controls in Teams meetings (IOS and Android)

Microsoft is tweaking the call controls to make sure they’re always visible. This gives users easier access to controls such as mute and video on/off. If you’re an Apple user, you should already have the updated version of Teams available in the App store, Android folk should have it by mid-November:

Android Teams update showing a floating bar on the right-hand side controlling options such as speaker, camera, and end call.

iOS users also have a new presentation experience in Teams. It includes a scrollable participant tray, and side-by-side view of shared content. Check out the App store for an update if you don’t already have this:

Screenshot of how Teams looks on IOS, 6 screens of video participants and a scroll tray at the bottom showing you people that are on the meeting

 

 

 

 

Instant translation tools

Staying with mobile, Android users are getting inline message translation. This delayed feature lets users translate Teams mobile messages into the language they choose. It’s super-easy to use – long press on the message to see the translate message option.

new mobile feature in teams that allows you to translate a message if you long press it
a new feature in settings called noise suppression that can tune out background noise

 

 

 

The look and feel of Microsoft Teams meetings

Improving the sound for meetings, look out for the feature reducing background noise. There’s more information in Settings > Devices from mid-November

 

And admins can add custom logos for all tenant meetings. You’ll need an Advanced Communication Licence for this one though a great little flourish:

A new feature in Teams showing you can add custom logos to all tenant meetings

We also like this 5-minute warning at the end of scheduled meetings. It will stay on the screen for 10 seconds:

a new feature in Teams showing you the time left in a meeting with an error sign and listing the minutes left

New features for Teams meeting organisers

The new meeting chat moderation settings lets meeting organisers to manage participants’ ability to chat before, during, and after a meeting:

A new feature in Teams that allows meeting chat before and after the meeting starts if the organisers chooses to allow
A new feature in Teams that allows the meeting organiser to choose if people can bypass the lobby, allow attendees to unmute themselves, and if meetings can start recording automatically

 

 

 

 

They can also manage meeting options in the meeting experience. This is another small but welcome update as these settings were always a bit detached from the meeting experience before:

Working across different devices

You can now transfer Teams meetings between devices or add another device. If you’re using the desktop app to attend a meeting you can transfer (not just join again, then disconnect) to a mobile device. Simply open Teams on the device and clicking on this banner

Mobile tab showing you can enter the meeting on your mobile by clicking join button

New joining experience

By the end of November, we’ll have a new Teams meeting set up that will simplify how you get set up before clicking Join now. It’s another simple way to help meeting prep and a smoother feel from the outset.

Before you join a meeting on teams you can adjust the camera, microphone, and speaker

Other Microsoft Teams developments you should know about

The organisation-wide team limit will go up from 5,000 to 10,000 people for easier collaboration in big organisations. There’ll also be a new file-sharing experience that lets you share with people within your organisation, people with existing access or specific people, including those in a 1:1 chat, group chat, or channels. Again that’s another great collaboration tool.

New duration feature on the status tab in Microsoft Teams

 

 

And there’s a new presence status letting you appear offline. With a duration for your chosen status coming soon:

Finally, Microsoft Teams will get screen-sharing support on the Safari browser and Windows 10 and macOS are getting native Teams notifications. You can choose to keep Team notifications or the native Windows OS/macOS notification system in Settings > Notifications.

Don’t forget that Microsoft has to stay ahead of user needs now. The boom in online meetings and the video conferencing market is massive. Observe this share price for Zoom and the comparison below of Microsoft’s Revenue. We’ve got a few months ahead of online meetings and let’s keep making the most of these features.

graph showing Zoom's rise in share price Graph showing Microsoft's increase in revenue in 2020

Want to keep learning about Microsoft Office 365? Watch what’s new every month in the Microsoft’s regular YouTube update.

Follow Mark Thompson on Twitter.