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Mark’s Microsoft Monthly: what did we learn in January 2020?

By 1st February 2020October 10th, 2023No Comments

January has been a great month for learning with Microsoft Ignite The Tour coming to London. I went on both days and followed mainly the Power Platform and Journey to Teams learning paths. Do check them out – Microsoft Power products and Teams are coming together nicely and it’s worth spending time understanding what they offer.

Enhanced scheduling experience in Teams

Rolling out from now to mid-February, the new features include:

  1. Improved view of available time
  2. Required and optional attendees option
  3. All day events – a new toggle converts meetings to an all-day event
  4. Availability status – the people and the location search give a visual clue (red) to show if they’re not available
  5. Cancellation with message is an easy way to send a message if you cancel an event
  6. Tabs in edit and view mode – giving easy access to chats, meeting notes, files, scheduling assistant and whiteboard.
Screenshot to show enhanced scheduling funtionality in Microsoft Teams

Colleague joined Teams notifications.

Microsoft is expanding the activity feed to notify members when a new colleague joins Teams for the first time. As ever, users can manage their notifications by going to Settings > Notifications. Education tenants and tenants who disable chats won’t get this notification.

Screenshot to show the new notification in Microsoft Teams for when a new colleague joins Teams

Read receipts in Microsoft Teams

You can now see read receipts for messages in Teams for one-to-one and group chats. A small icon next to your message shows that it’s been delivered (tick in a circle) and read (icon of an eye).

If you’re part of a group chat, you can even see which individuals have read your message.

You’ll need to go to the Teams admin centre under ‘messaging’ to sort these options

  • User Preference (which is also the default) means members of the tenant can decide if they want read receipts on or off. The default within the app is that read receipts are on.
  • Everyone means every user will have the feature on with no option to turn it off.
  • Off means no-one in the tenant will get read receipts and they can’t turn it on either.

Although read receipts are rolling out now, they can take up to two weeks to reach everyone within a tenant once roll-out starts.

More changes to chat in Microsoft Teams

It was way back in November when we told you the Teams chat button was moving. Well, we’re not sure what happened to it back then, but it’s roll-out is back on track and will finish by mid-February. Assuming no other sudden changes of course…

Are you making use of chat Priority Notifications? I’ve used these a few times and like the functionality. There’s still a promotion in place that gives you unlimited use because Microsoft extended the promotion to April 1, 2020. From April, your ability to send priority notifications will depend on the terms of your subscription.

Four changes to excite Teams admins

Look out for these changes to help manage your tenant.

  1. The Microsoft 365 Service Health and Message centre will catch up with the re-branding of Microsoft Flow to Microsoft Power Automate.
  2. For storing Teams Meeting recordings, admins can turn the ‘Allow cloud recording’ setting on or off in the Teams admin centre, admins . This recording feature is currently disabled for customers whose Teams data is stored in-country if Microsoft Stream is not available in country. Microsoft is changing this configuration to open up the recording feature to customers even if Microsoft Stream data residency is not yet in country.
  3. Your data in Office 365. You probably know where your emails and files are off the top of your head, but what about the answers to your latest poll in Forms? Or the Whiteboard contents from brainstorming? Microsoft has a page that breaks down data residency – app by app and country by country: Explore where Office 365 stores your customer data.
  4. Are you a UK organisation using Office 365? Microsoft can migrate your core customer data at rest to the UK data centre geo by July 1, 2022 at no extra cost. If you’re interested in early migration for your organisation’s core customer data at rest, then opt-in before July 1, 2020.

Email notifications

Outside of Teams, there’s a great update to email notifications for comments and @mentions in Word, PowerPoint, and Excel. The update lets recipients learn more the comments and respond without opening the source document. Find out more about @mentions in comments.

Microsoft search gets better with improved Bing

As part of Microsoft 365, Microsoft Search the default for all Microsoft apps that support it. Microsoft Search provides work-related information from Office 365, including SharePoint, Microsoft OneDrive for Business, and Exchange. The new experience provides easy access to shared documents, workplace websites, and Teams conversations directly from the browser address bar. The results are shown on a new ‘Work’ tab. This is rolling out now until the end of April 2020.

Screenshot of an improved Bing user experience for Microsoft 365

Develop your skills with Microsoft certifications

Microsoft Service Adoption Specialist is a free edX course that’s popular within The Inform Team. It helps learners discover how to drive adoption of cloud services from Microsoft to enable business outcomes. It just happens to use Teams as the subject matter… There’s an optional paid-for certificate at the end, though at the time of writing, the code EDXWELCOME will give you 15% off the already reasonable cost.

All work and no play

Over in gaming, Project Scarlett (the next Xbox) is now called Xbox Series X and is due in time for Christmas 2020. It’s going to be twice as powerful as the Xbox One X, will have super-fast load times – thanks to a new NVMe SSD – and will be compatible with existing Xbox One accessories. There’s still lots of information to come out, including pricing information. It’s worth catching up on what Techradar has to say on the latest information.

A picture of the new Xbox Series X

What to watch out for next

Look out for updates on these Teams features:

  1. New lobby control for dial-in attendees – a default lobby bypass
  2. Announcement for when dial-in users join or leave a meeting – part of organiser controls
  3. @Tags in Teams
  4. Teams meeting co-opetition with Cisco and Zoom
  5. New interoperability features with Outlook
  6. Pop-out chat and meeting multi-windows
  7. A new tasks app to consolidate your tasks from across O365

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.