What’s new to Microsoft Teams during Summer 2021

The summer is always busy times for product groups at Microsoft. One reason is that Microsoft fiscal year ends to end of June and the other reason is the Inspire -conference (former Worldwide Partner Conference) that happens in July. This year I chose to be more on vacation (taking an annual break) instead of watching Inspire and blogging actively about what’s happening. So today seemed like a good time to do some backward & forward viewing related to Microsoft Teams.

Windows 11 has been on everyone’s talks (at least in the social) throughout this time. Of course also partly because Win 11 native Microsoft Teams is rolling to Windows Insiders. If you don’t see the new Teams yet: don’t panic 😀. I have it on one on my Windows 11 computers (dev-channel) and the other one on beta-channel is missing it. It is clearly not rolling out simultaneously to everyone. It is also important to remember that this version is only for consumer Teams accounts. You can not log into it using your Microsoft 365 accounts. But it is good to test it out already – perhaps it will be a useful chat (yes, chat only this time) tool with your friends and family. Especially with those who has already Win 11 beta running or use personal Teams on their mobiles instead of WhatsApp, Signal or other apps. However, it looks like Teams consumer is improving all the time and Win 11 might give it a good bump.

If you have used Teams personal on your mobile you can find all your chats and groups at Win11 Teams as well.

You can (Public Preview users at the moment) can set default client (Teams, Desktop app or Browser) when opening PowerPoint, Word or Excel documents. This setting needs to be done for each device separately.

Automatic Recording is now a Teams meeting option you can set on. When I was testing it out I noticed that it will kick on once you join the meeting after setting the option. You can create the meeting, join it and do your changes (like setting Automatic Recording on) and then leave it. Recording will start automatically when meeting is joined the next time.

Record Automatically is off by default.

When in Microsoft Teams Meeting you can see that Teams (&web) Whiteboard has now Convert to Shape functionality. Other upcoming Teams Whiteboard features (like locking content etc) are now scheduled to August-September.

Using this can help massively when inking (especially with mouse) shapes because the result is really neat. It works with triangles and other shapes.

But even with my circles, it can not do something that is beyond human and inhuman abilities. If you draw something that is closer to circle than my other two samples (not converted in the pic below) it can convert it to a nice circle. So for lots of people it will work a lot better than to me 😄

Usually for best results – stick to basic shapes.

Of course in Teams Meetings everyone is waiting for Presenter Modes! For everyone Standout mode is already available and the rest are now available for Public Preview users!

You can also customize the background (the black space, not your video background. You customize your video background normally like in any meeting). That gives you an option to choose from various pre-loaded background images

Standout is now available for everyone

Side-by-Side and Reporter are available when using Teams Public Preview.

Presenter Modes seem to be only available when you share your screen (desktop).

PowerPoint Live has now option to translate slide content privately for you. There are a handful of languages available.

When testing this out, it is clear that slides need to be much simpler than what I used for testing.

It translates the whole deck when selected. You can choose language anytime or revert back to the original.

I think the key thing to support translation is to make slide decks simple and easy – which is a win-win on many fronts: more accessible, translatable and also takes less time to tweak.

Here is the original for comparison. While this one was rather simple, the translation did some changes where I had emojis. Translation is rolling out, but I was able to see it in my environment on both standard release and in public preview.

Microsoft Teams has also launched 1080p video quality in meeting videos . Finally. You might have also encountered already Chat Bubbles. (or squares). You can also now switch pages for more video feeds in Gallery (go beyond 9 videos) or Large Gallery (go beyond 49 videos). Lock meeting should be rolling out as well, but I didn’t see it yet in my demo.

Q&A application is also coming to Teams meetings. It is currently in private preview and will be “rolling out soon” (=Microsoft announcement words. Soon has been sometimes even several months, or even longer.). It is a good sign that this is already in private preview since Q&A has been hoped to appear in Teams meetings for some time now.

Add moderated Q&A to any Microsoft Teams meeting.

Microsoft also introduced an early preview of open-source broadcast development kit to help produce large events. This is naturally something I have put onto my to do list for checking it out.

thumbnail image 2 captioned 2 - Sample BDK Web UI

Related to meetings there are now new meeting policy settings in Teams Admin Center for webinars and engagement reports.

And while you are in the TAC (Teams Admin Center) you can also find settings to customize App store in Teams, if you haven’t checked this one earlier.

And of course all admins wants to check Update policy in Teams Admin Center. Using this policy you can control which users can see & utilize Teams Public Preview features. For more info: I blogged about this at the end of June.

Dataverse for Teams has also new stuff in Teams: your users can now add Profile+, Boards and Perspectives apps to their teams directly from PowerApps app. You may want to read more about these three apps from my good friend Chris Hoard’s blog posts where he did a deep-dive to all of them.

Dataverse for Teams environment limit for larger tenants has been also increased from 500 to 10 000.

There is now a better integration between Microsoft Teams and Dynamics 365. It will allow people to use and update Dynamics 365 data via Teams even when they don’t have the Dynamics 365 license. This is a big news for many organizations since licensing is always an issue. With this update everyone in the company can utilize and update information (via Teams) and thus making it a better experience for both customers (maintenance crew has the data they need without copy-pasting) and management & sales (customer data is up to date).
From Inspire Book of News:
Microsoft Teams customers will now receive access to view and edit Microsoft Dynamics 365 data in Teams at no extra cost, whether or not they have a Dynamics 365 license. The provision of no-cost data access provides flexibility for organizations to determine when and how they purchase Dynamics 365. The inclusion of Dynamics 365 access will remove a barrier to productivity within the customer workflow. Now, any employee with a Teams license can see Dynamics 365 records directly within Teams. Permissions and access rules can be configured to help ensure only the appropriate users can access customer record data. Customers who need advanced features or analytics can purchase Dynamics 365 to further interact with the data.

There are several integrations between Dynamics 365 and Microsoft Teams. Once cool addition will be the meeting collaborative app: adding Dynamics 365 to a meeting and linking it to the customer enables your employees to fetch and update data while in the meeting. Without the need for Dynamics license.

Add a Teams meeting to appointments and capture notes

You can read more Dynamics & Teams integration from Inspire news, Microsoft Blog post and product info page.

And no, I didn’t forget Microsoft Viva. There were several announcements related to all Microsoft Viva areas. I will take a look at them and write a another blog post about those. As a sneak-peak the Viva Connections has new partners and is in developer preview (personalized dashboard 🥰) , Viva Topics web parts in SharePoint pages and Viva Learning partnerships and features.

Of course the big thing is when Microsoft Viva Learning and Insights will be generally available and how much they cost. This information was released at Inspire session. Yes, all Microsoft Viva , except Connections, modules will be add-ons that have $4 / user / month cost. Viva Connections is included with SharePoint + Teams price. More pricing information should become available during August-September.

This “quick-peek” to what’s new in Teams expanded to a rather long blog post again. I didn’t even try to cover everything this time, but despite that there has been a lot activity around Teams!

Now that I am back to routines you can expect to see later follow-up posts where I dive deeper into latest releases, to Microsoft Viva and to what’s coming next to Microsoft Teams. Stay tuned!

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