My last week in MVP Summit gave me a lot to think about. Conveniently Enterprise Connect revealed new features that adds even more collaboration possibilities to Teams meeting: Whiteboard in Teams. So it is a good moment to recap why meetings in Teams rock!
1. Easy to join
Joining meetings is easy in Teams. Just go to your meetings app in Teams and choose to join. The Join screen lets you to see your settings (camera + blur on/off, microfone on/off, what device you are using) and also you can join using one-click with Audio off. And if you have a Teams Room available you can join the Room meeting from the Teams user interface on desktop (and soon on mobile as well) .
Teams also notes if there are already more people in the meeting so it will present you an option to join muted. This way you won’t disturb others with accidental sounds ”open mic scenario”. I have found this feature very useful especially when you have 10+ people in the meeting.
2. Audio and video quality
Teams meetings have a way better quality in audio and video than Skype for Business had. Teams meetings also can cope with less/varying bandwidth much better than Skype did. You can also change audio devices easily in the middle of the meeting.
3. Video-meetings with background blur
Teams has always been promoting the use of live cam video of participants. It is yet limited to 4 simultaneous attendee videos but this is getting better with the Enterprise Connect announcement: you can interact with 9 people using live video at the same time. This makes most of team meetings really close a face-to-face meeting since you can see all participants.
The background blur is also a great feature that helps people to turn on meetings to video enhanced meetings. At least personally that has helped, since I work often from the home office and the background is not ideal. But this is getting even better with the upcoming ability to change the background to custom picture instead of a blur. It is awesome – and as my colleague pointed out: sometimes blur is not enough if there are people moving at the background.
The Room systems are also getting the Content Camera option to add more bone for hybrid meetings (onsite + online) to bring online attendees close to onsite members.
4. Sharing content is easy
Sharing is easy for every meeting attendee. You choose to share and then select your content (desktop, powerpoint/other application or shareable app like whiteboard).
What is often forgotten is that you can share and view the content using Teams mobile app as well – or even use the mobile application as a controller to advance your slide deck!
I saved the best at last. The Enterprise Connect also announced the Teams Whiteboard that is already available for preview. When you have joined the meeting you can open the meeting Whiteboard via sharing.
First Teams sets the whiteboard up and then you can start drawing to the whiteboard either inside Teams (limited functionalities at this point) or you can open the whiteboard in the Whiteboard app to have more choices available.
The new Whiteboard syncs really fast between Teams and Whiteboard as well. And you can also get the link to the meeting whiteboard directly from Teams Whiteboard UI. I found out that using the Whiteboard app is a way better experience since it works with the inking better (ability to change pen sizes) and overall it has more features than the Teams one. You should start with Teams Whiteboard first (so it gets tied to the meeting) and then open the Whiteboard app to have a full experience.
Limitations do exist. Whiteboard is supported on Desktop and browser versions of Teams. You can’t view the shared Whiteboard on mobile and the use of Whiteboard is currently limited inside single tenant. So if you have externals or guests invited to the meeting they don’t have access to the whiteboard.
However, the use of Whiteboard is really useful in internal meetings right now. How do you feel about it?