Microsoft has been rapidly releasing a slew of new features and functionally in Microsoft Teams geared toward improving the remote workplace experience. From the ability to customize your background image in video calls (yahoo!) to the pop-out chat windows, these new features can help improve your meetings, calls, chats, and collaboration while using Microsoft Teams throughout the day. Plus, new integrations with Yammer and Power Platform extend ways to be productive, informed, and engaged within the Teams platform.
Key Updates in Microsoft Teams for Meetings, Calls, Chats, Teams, Channels & More
We know it can be a challenge to keep up with all the announcements, so we’ve rounded up a list of key updates below that are now available and coming soon for both end-users and IT admins. Note: You may need to reach out to your IT team or Teams administrators to turn on the new features.
Meetings & Calls:
Change & Customize Your Video Background Image
In addition to the blurred background feature, you now have the option to replace your background image with either pre-selected images or (officially!) upload your own image for Teams video calls.
You can change the background settings either before the meeting starts or during a meeting. Learn How »
Blur Your Background in iOS
This frequently utilized feature is now available on your iPhones and iPads.
Live Captions in iOS & Android
Whether hard of hearing, have different levels of language proficiency or are connecting from a loud location, live captions allow meeting participants to follow along and read what is said during Teams meetings. Live captions are now available on iOS and Android mobile devices in English.
Raise Your Hand in a Meeting
Have a question or comment but don’t want to interrupt the person speaking? The new “raise hands” feature in Teams allows meeting attendees to identify that they wish to speak — making it easier to actively participate in large meetings. Everyone will see a visual cue on the attendee — as well as in the participant list that prioritizes who raised their hand first — and can give them the room to participate in the conversation at hand.
How: While in a meeting, select the “Raise Your Hand” icon in your control bar. This will place a gold hand icon on your video feed to let the rest of the attendees know that you would like to speak.
Increased Number of Simultaneous Videos in Teams Meetings
Video calling on Teams now has a 3 x 3 grid for viewing nine participants simultaneously. This new experience optimizes for attendees who have enabled video and places the remaining audio-only participants below the meeting stage.
To provide a high audio and video quality experience, the layout will adapt — based on the user bandwidth — and alter the number of videos shown to provide the best meeting experience. It has been rolled out for desktop (Windows and Mac). Note: Microsoft just announced that it will roll out support for 49 on-screen video participants (7×7) this Fall.
Improved Join Meetings Experience
When launching a Teams meeting from a link, you will be provided with clearer options for how to join the meeting. You will be prompted with an option to join on the web, download the Teams client, or join with the native Teams client.
Download an Attendance Report in a Teams Meeting
Meeting organizers can now take attendance during a meeting. Meeting organizers, especially teachers, often need to know who joined their Teams meetings. Available in the roster view, meeting organizers can download the report that includes those users who joined while the organizer was present. Note: This feature is only available within the meeting while the meeting is active.
To get your attendance report, select the “Show Participants” icon > Download attendee list. The report will download a CVS file that can be opened in Excel. The file will contain the name, join time, and leave time of meeting attendees. Note: Reach out to your Teams Admin to turn on the feature. Learn More »
1:1 Call Recording
Now you can easily record your 1:1 calls in Teams just as you already can for meetings. Simply select the option to record and call participants will be notified on their screen that a recording has begun.
Privacy for People Joining Meetings via Phone
To increase privacy for participants joining a Teams meeting by dialing in via phone, Teams now obscures your number from any participants that are outside your organization. Your number will still show for teammates in your org.
Group Chat Size Increased to 250
You can now get a large group chat going with up to 250 participants.
Pop-Out Chat Windows for Multi-Tasking
Who else is excited this feature is finally here? You can now pop-out multiple chats into separate windows — making it easier to move around Team and between ongoing conversations.
Just double-click a chat in your chat list or select the pop-out chat icon in Teams to open a chat in a secondary window. Learn More »
Teams & Channels:
Increased Number of Team Members
Team sizes have increased to 10,000 — making it a little easier for larger organizations to let everyone join the conversation.
Edit a Message with Channel Cross-Post Editing
Do you need to update the information that you posted across multiple channels? Now, you can edit your original message in a cross-post anytime by selecting the “More options” button in the post and then choose the “Edit” button. Additionally, you can add or remove channels to reach a wider audience or have a focused conversation. Learn How »
Keep Your Workforce & Business Processes Connected with Teams and Power Platform:
In response to the shift to a remote work environment, Microsoft announced new capabilities to Teams and Power Platform that enable businesses and workers to be productive in a remote work world. With tools like Microsoft Power Apps and Microsoft Power Automate, employees can build no-code and low-code custom applications that automate routine processes and supply a structure where there previously was none. They can use Microsoft Power Virtual Agents to embed bots within Teams to answer common questions or find documents using natural language inquiries — and much more. Read the Announcement »
Share Power BI Reports in Teams
Power BI users can now share reports — or specific charts in reports — to Teams with the new “Share to Teams” button. Senders can also direct the recipient’s attention to a specific chart in a report or share it with an entire team. To get started, select “Send to Teams” from the Power BI portal and type in the team name you’d like to share with. Available now.
The Yammer App for Microsoft Teams:
Microsoft has released a newly designed Yammer that powers community, knowledge-sharing, and employee engagement. The new Yammer includes a fully interactive Yammer app called “Communities” that brings your communities and conversations directly into Microsoft Teams. Put simply, it’s Yammer — in Teams.
By offering the full Yammer experience right inside Teams, you keep everyone at your organization engaged, informed, and moving forward. IT Admins can choose to pin it for everyone, manage who can install it using custom policies, or individual users can install and pin it themselves. Learn More »
IT & Teams Admins:
Batch Policy Assignments to Users with PowerShell
Microsoft Teams offers a robust set of policies to empower administrators with controls to tailor the Teams experience to users. Batch policy assignment allows administrators to streamline the process of assigning policies or policy packages to a large group of users. The New-CsBatchPolicyAssignmentOperation cmdlet lets you submit a batch of users and a policy that you want to assign using one PowerShell command line to perform the action.
A batch can contain up to 20,000 users and admins can specify users by their object Id, user principal name (UPN), Session Initiation Protocol address, or email address. Learn more about policy assignments in Teams »
Change in Default Lobby Setting Policy
The default Teams policy has now been changed to make external users wait in the lobby before joining a Teams meeting to ensure that only the right people are in the meeting. This policy change will only impact those tenants who have not modified the default meetings policy. Learn More »
Set Tenant-Wide Default Selection for “Who Can Present” in Meetings
Tenant admins can now update their Teams meeting policies to allow for a new default selection when choosing who can present in new Teams meetings (everyone, people in my organization, specific people, or only me). Currently, the default selection is “everyone” unless the meeting organizer selects otherwise through the meetings option configuration. To start, organizations can set this policy via a PowerShell cmdlet. Coming soon: You will have the ability to change it in the Admin portal.
Better Policy Controls Over Screen Sharing from Chats
Screen share from chat allows you to immediately start sharing your screen in a 1-1 chat or group chat. This entry point was previously governed by the AllowPrivateCalling policy. If this policy is disabled, users are not able to screen share from chat. The option to start a screen share from chat will now be governed by the ScreenSharingMode policy. Further, the ability to “add audio” to a screen share from chat session (if you want to talk to someone while screen sharing) will be governed by a user’s AllowPrivateCalling setting. This ensures that users who have AllowPrivateCalling disabled cannot start audio calls via screen share from chat.
Meeting Attendance Report Policy Settings
Meeting organizers can now view and download a meeting attendance report. This is a per-user policy and this setting controls whether meeting organizers can download the meeting attendance report. To enable a meeting organizer to download the meeting attendance report, set the “AllowEngagementReport” parameter to “Enabled”. When enabled, the option to download the report is displayed in the Participants pane. Learn More »
Microsoft will soon release Templates in Teams which will allow users to pick from multiple customizable templates when creating a new team.
Users can create their own team name, description, and channel names from an initial batch of 12 templates from Microsoft. And Teams admins can create unique templates or modify existing ones – and package relevant line-of-business apps into templates. Learn More »
Microsoft Lists in Teams
During Build 2020, Microsoft announced Microsoft Lists – a Microsoft 365 app that helps you track information and organize work. Lists are simple, smart, and flexible, so you can track issues, assets, routines, contacts, inventory, and more using customizable views and smart rules and alerts to keep everyone in sync. Microsoft Lists encompasses SharePoint lists, a new Lists home page (web), lists in Microsoft Teams, and the coming Lists mobile app.
You’ll be able to use Microsoft Teams to collaborate on lists — using flexible views like grids, cards, and calendar — which brings content and conversation side-by-side in one integrated experience. You can either add an existing list to a Teams channel or create a new list directly in Teams and chat on individual list items. Expected to roll out later this summer. To learn more, visit the new Microsoft Lists resource center » and get first looks at the Microsoft Lists product demo video ».
IT Admin: New Meetings Dashboard
The new Meetings dashboard in the Microsoft Teams admin center helps you ensure users have the best experience possible during meetings and calls by providing you insights into usage, user feedback, network health, meeting details, devices, and more from a single place.
Leveraging Power BI capabilities, this interactive dashboard allows you to filter information by dimensions such as day, countries, and platform allowing you quickly identify areas of improvement and drill down to uncover the root cause of poor experiences. Learn More »
This roundup is only a partial list of all the new features and updates that have been announced in the last few months. Check out the links below for the full announcements.
Xgility’s Microsoft Teams Essentials Webinar Series
Whether new to Teams or not, view the recorded videos from our Microsoft Teams Essentials Webinar Series to learn how to use Teams in new ways to communicate, engage, and collaborate during the quick pivot to remote work.
Our Team is Here to Help:
At Xgility, we know what it takes to strategically plan and deploy Microsoft Teams.
If your organization is using Microsoft Teams, do you have a strategic plan that addresses governance, policies, and end-user adoption? If not, now is the time to step back and revisit your Teams deployment to see if your employees are making the most of Teams’ powerful functionality to communicate, collaborate, and engage regardless of their location.
As a Microsoft Gold Partner, our team has been helping our clients of all sizes successfully roll out Microsoft Teams with unprecedented adoption rates. Contact us today to learn how our team can help your organization get started with Microsoft Teams and provide your workforce with the right tools they need to do their best work. As a Microsoft Gold Partner with vast experience under our belts, we are ready to help. Contact Us Now »