It’s time for another slew of updates from the Microsoft Teams group.
In the last couple of months, as more companies have made their way back into the office, and begun investing in new hybrid working strategies, Microsoft continues to offer the leading solution for collaboration. Microsoft Teams has established itself as the central hub for team innovation, and it plans on keeping that title.
Here’s what we’ve got to look forward to in Microsoft Teams for June 2021.
Microsoft Teams Meetings and Webinars
The range of updates to the meetings and webinar sections of Microsoft Teams this month starts with the introduction of Dynamic view. This solution automatically adapts the elements in a meeting environment to deliver a better viewing experience. As people turn on their video, join a meeting, or start to speak, Teams will automatically adjust accordingly.
Other recent additions include:
- Presenter mode: Customize how you share your content and video to your audience with a range of professional layouts. Standout, the first layout option is now available, showing the speaker video as a silhouette situated in front of shared content. This allows users to direct people toward points of information with hand gestures. Side-by-side and reporter views are coming soon.
- Larger meetings: If you go over your 1,000 webinar and meeting limit, your meeting will now scale automatically to accommodate up to 10,000 people with view-only access. Microsoft has enhanced view-only broadcasts to support 20,000 users to the end of the year.
- Custom registration: Users can now add a custom attendee registration page to webinars and meetings to manage attendance before the beginning of a virtual event. Users can add custom images and questions to learn more about audience members too. After registration, attendees will receive a confirmation email with calendar invite.
- Content sharing: An updated “share content” experience helps users to find information quickly, by consolidating windows into a single environment for a concise view. PowerPoints are now automatically optimized for presentation with PowerPoint Live too.
- Computer sound on Mac: You can now include audio when sharing windows or desktops on a Teams meeting with a Mac.
- Breakout room timers: Users can now set timers for breakout rooms within the settings page. When the timer expires, rooms close automatically and send users back to the main meeting page.
- Chrome and edge browser updates: Edge and chrome browser users can now change their Teams meeting layout into 2×2 gallery view, large gallery, and Together mode. You can view up to 49 participants in one screen.
- Updated video settings: Meeting attendees can turn their camera’s default setting for sharing video on or off, and meeting hosts can configure all attendee cameras to be disabled within he Meeting Options web page. Once this setting is turned off, you can reverse the setting during a meeting to permit attendees to turn their camera on. You can also enable or disable camera feeds for individual attendees.
Even More Meeting and Webinar Updates
Microsoft has really gone to town on Meeting and Webinar functionality in the June 2021 update, with extra features now rolling out like an improved participant list, broken into sections like Lobby, Attendee, and Presenters. This allows people to check who’s in a lobby quickly and easily before admitting them to a meeting or check in on who’s presenting. Further features include:
- AI noise suppression on Mac: AI noise suppression for Windows launched in November, but now the feature will be available for Mac users too. The service automatically removes unnecessary background noise in a meeting, and the audio feed is analysed to retain only the speech signal.
- Search in meeting participants: Users can now search by PSTN or name within the participant list. The user can also search for participants outside of a meeting and request for them to join too.
- Reporting and analytics: In the 1000-person meeting deployment, Microsoft is now providing admin support to troubleshoot meetings. Capabilities have been added to the Teams Admin Centre to search via partial text, sort based on specific fields, and export information like the meeting participant list.
- New Teams Live Events: Users can now work with Ramp, the certified eCDN partner, to optimise your meeting network for live events.
- Intelligent suggestions for polls: The Polls tab of your Teams meeting will now offer intelligent suggestions on polls you can launch during your meeting. These suggestions will be based on your meeting title (purpose), and the polls you’ve launched in past meetings with a similar name.
- Multiple Choice quizzes: Users can now launch multiple choice questions in Teams meetings, perfect for knowledge checks and trivia questions. You can mark one or more answers as correct, and after users vote, they can see the correct answer in the results card. You can also use these polls in read-only mode where your forms are normally stored.
- Block downloads on OneDrive: People with view-only access to a Teams meeting recording will not be able to download the recording as standard. This will provide further control for end-users on how recordings are shared.
Microsoft Teams Calling and Devices Updates
In the calling and devices environment, Microsoft has introduced new simplified calling experiences with a new view to show contacts, calling history, and voicemail together. Previously, users had to select each of these tools in different tabs.
Call Merge has also been announced for Microsoft calling, giving users the option to merge their active 1:1 Call with other 1:1 or group calls. What’s more, the Microsoft Calling Plan geographic coverage has expanded to new markets, including Hungary, Norway, Singapore, New Zealand, Finland, Poland, Slovakia, Luxembourg, Romania, and the Czech Republic.
Branch Office Survivability has also been added to Teams phones, allowing users in a Branch office to continue making PSTN calls on Teams phones to other users, even when the Branch Office loses connectivity. This is valuable for the continuity of communication features.
From a devices perspective, Teams added casting with Mobile phones to Microsoft Teams rooms, allowing for easier ad-hoc meeting sessions. Plus, newly certified devices emerged for Microsoft Teams from Crestron, Poly, and Yealink.
Crestron Flex MM30 and B30 products for small meeting rooms, and M50 and M70 products for larger rooms are now certified for Microsoft Teams. The Poly Voyager Focus 2 is now certified for Teams, as a Bluetooth headset with 19 hours of talk time and 3 active levels of noise cancellation. Yealink introduced the Yealink MVC840 as a certified Microsoft Teams bundle solution for mid to large spaces. The bundle comes with the VCM34 audio system, UCV84 4K camera, MCore mini-PC, and MTouch II touch panel.
Microsoft Teams Chat, Collaboration, and Security
Finally, for chat and collaboration, Microsoft introduced group chat with up to 250 participants in multiple organisations in a single environment. External group chat expands on the ability for Teams users to find and participate in one-to-one calls with external users as part of the Microsoft Teams Connect offering.
Microsoft also introduced Microsoft Viva Insights to help users mindfully organise their day. There’s a reflection feature to help you become more aware of your positive and negative work patterns, and praise so you can show your appreciation and gratitude to colleagues. There’s also the “virtual commute” feature which helps you to wrap up and prepare for the next day at the end of each evening.
Microsoft Teams now includes Adobe Sign Integration for the Approvals app, so you can create an approval request with an integrated electronic signature.
For security, Microsoft announced Microsoft 365 Customer Key support for Teams, and revealed that Admins will now be able to install specific apps within Teams meetings.