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What’s Coming to Teams? (Q4 2019)

We’re just over a week into Q4 of 2019 which means Microsoft Ignite is just around the corner! Microsoft Ignite is not one to disappoint when it comes to new updates around Skype for Business and Teams. With that being said, let’s take a look at the Microsoft Roadmap and see what they have in store for us in these last few months of the year!

Rolling Out NOW!

  • Dynamic Emergency Calling for Calling Plans
    • This has been a big ask from all Microsoft Teams Phone System users. This latest feature will use the caller’s location to route to the proper PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point). This is currently only available for users inside the US and does not yet support Direct Routing scenarios. However, this will be supported in a future update (outlined later in this blog).
      • Release: October 2019
  • Reverse Number Lookup in Teams
    • This added feature will display the name of the PSTN caller based upon Azure AD data and/or Telco provided display names. In the past this only worked for Outlook contacts, but now will get have the added ability for Azure AD enabled contacts.
      • Release: October 2019
  • Music on Hold (MoH) in Teams
    • This added functionality for Phone System users in Microsoft Teams will play default music defined by the service when an external call from the PSTN is placed on hold. This will work for both one-to-one PSTN-to-Teams calls and calls made to a call queue.
      • Release: October 2019
  • Notify Teams users with Flow
    • Users can now use Microsoft Flow to create flows that will notify users within Microsoft Teams
      • Release: Q2 2019
  • Share system audio in a Teams meeting
    • Trying to share a audio/video clip and want your audience to hear the audio from that clip? With this latest feature, you can share your system audio so you can stream your computer’s audio to meeting participants through Teams.
      • Release: Q2 2019
  • Manage discovery of private teams in Microsoft Teams
    • You can now control whether you’d like your private team to be discoverable or not by other Teams users. When a private team is discoverable, it will show up in search results and is also included in suggestions in the team gallery. This will make it easier for people to search for and find the private teams that they want to join. In addition, people can request to join a private team which the team owner can approve or deny. When a private team is not discoverable it will not show in search results and will not be listed in suggestions on the team gallery.
      • Release: Q3 2019
  • Screen sharing interop between Teams and Skype for Business
    • This added functionality allows a Teams user to share their screen in a chat or VoIP call with a Skype for Business user without having to switch to a different client.
      • Release: Q3 2019
  • Audio Conferencing via Direct Routing for GCC High and GCC DoD
    • This now allows participants to join the organization’s meetings using a standard phone number. This can be useful when the participant has limited internet connectivity, are in transit, or don’t have access to a Teams application/client. There are two different ways the participant can join the meeting, via dial-in access number or via dialing out to their phone number. When configuring this feature it is important to note that your organization will need to use its own numbers for dial-in access and all meeting dial-outs will be made to phones via Direct Routing. With all that being said, of course Direct Routing will need to be in place already and you will need to configure phone numbers to be used for dial-in access.
      • This differs from the Audio Conferencing service offered to commercial organizations in that those dial-in access numbers are provided by Microsoft.
      • Release: Q3 2019

In Development

  • New calendar app for Microsoft Teams
    • This is just a subtle change to the scheduling app but a welcomed change nonetheless! The existing Meetings app will become the Calendar app. In addition, this will bring several new updates for scheduling!
      • Release: October 2019
  • Live captions in Teams meetings!
    • What a cool feature! Now you can enable live captions during Teams meetings! This first release will only support the English language but stay tuned, Microsoft will continue to expand on supported languages!
      • Release: November 2019
  • Updating Live Events policy settings for Live Captions and Subtitles
    • This added functionality will improve accessibility of your Microsoft products by enabled closed captions for Live Event attendees participating in a Teams Live Event within your tenant. The event scheduler will also have the option of disabling this feature if they feel it necessary. When the policy is enabled this will give attendees a ‘CC’ button. Closed Captioning will be disabled by default but the attendees will have the option of clicking the CC button to activate this feature.
      • Release: November 2019
  • Direct Routing enhancements in Microsoft Teams *NEW*
    • These latest enhancements to Direct Routing cover several different scenarios in Microsoft Teams. The latest enhancements include Media Relay Override which allows customers to change their default Media Relay to match their public IP structure. Another addition includes Missed Call Message Suppression which will enable users to route calls to a 3rd party PBX without generating a false “missed call” message in Teams. SIP Tester is something else that was added which is a PowerShell script that can test basic configuration of your SIP deployment for Direct Routing. The Ringback Bot is another addition that enhances the ringing experience for the caller by having a setup audio ring and a second ring for once the call has been established. The last enhancement includes PSTN Reporting which will bring new reporting capabilities for Direct Routing. So in short, lots to look forward to for the Direct Routing folks!
  • Enhanced delegation in Microsoft Teams
    • Right now Teams users have basic delegation which includes capabilities of delegating calls to another user. This allows the delegate to answer and make calls on behalf of the delegator. With enhanced delegation the delegate can now add or remove additional delegates. In addition, they will be able to change call forwarding settings on the delegators behalf. This feature is being implemented in an effort to better support delegates needing to manage calls.
      • Release: October 2019
  • Phone System for GCC High and DoD in Teams
    • This new functionality will enable Microsoft 365 GCC High and DoD for call control and PBX capabilities in the Office 365 cloud.
      • Release: October 2019
  • Gradebook for Teams Education
    • This one is for all the tech savvy teachers out there! You can now view and grade all assignedments for a class directly from the channel ‘Assignments’ tab. This new gradebook functionality is an easy way to organize and track your classes assignments. Want to go a step deeper and just look at a single student’s progress across all of their assignments? Well, Microsoft has you covered, as you can do this too!
      • Release: October 2019
  • Weekly parent e-mail digest for Teams Education
    • Teachers and parents will love this one…. students not so much. Teams will now be able to send emails to parents on assignments and their statuses. So kids do your homework! 🙂
      • Release: October 2019
  • Channel Cross Posting in Teams
    • Want to share your information across multiple teams simultaneously? Well now you can! With this update you can post a message to multiple channels in a single step! These channels can be part of the same team or a different one! Still not impressed? Well additionally any edits you make to the post will be reflected across all channels!
      • Release: October 2019
  • Native federation in Teams (1:1 chats)
    • Chat with those outside of your organization with richer conversations in Microsoft Teams. Users in TeamsOnly coexistence mode can now enjoy the same chat experience whether they are communicating with a colleague in your organization or an external user.
      • Release: October 2019
  • Private channels in Microsoft Teams
    • Unfortunately this feature has been pushed back multiple times and continues to be a big ask within the Teams community. Luckily private channels should be deployed very soon to your tenant which will then give users the ability to limit which team members can see conversations and content within a particular channel. This allows you to create a channel of the appropriate size and exposure without having to create a completely different team to serve the same purpose of limiting visibility.
      • Release: October 2019
  • Read receipts in private chats
    • Ever wonder if that colleague of yours actually saw that message you sent? Luckily read receipts in private chats will allow senders to know once the message they sent was read by the recipient.
      • Release: Q3 2019
  • Create shareable links in Microsoft Teams
    • Create and share links for any file stored in Teams all while being able to control the appropriate permissions for that link! In addition, you can set permissions for files stored within OneDrive or SharePoint while composing a private chat or starting a channel conversation.
      • Release: Q3 2019
  • Improved experience for channel “File” tab in Teams
    • The “File” tab has gotten a small upgrade! The file tab of a channel will now include the ability to sync files to your computer, more view options, and lifecycle signals! You will also have the ability to pin and check out files all due to the power of SharePoint in Teams!
      • Release: Q3 2019
  • Meet Now in Teams
    • Not everyone has the luxury of scheduling all of their meetings in advance and sometimes you’ll find that you need to spin up an ad-hoc meeting with others. Fear not, Meet Now gives you this capability in Teams without needing to schedule it within Outlook. Just select the “Meet Now” option in your Teams client and you’re off to the races!
      • Release: Q3 2019
  • Microsoft Teams feedback surveys
    • Microsoft wants to know how they are doing. Now users will receive a survey from time-to-time asking them to rate their experience with Teams. As an admin you can control this feedback experience via policy in PowerShell.
      • Release: Q3 2019
  • Policy packages in Teams
    • IT admins are guaranteed to love this new capability! Policy packages will allow your IT admins to apply a pre-defined set of policies across Teams functions (i.e. meetings and messaging).
      • Release: Q3 2019
  • Shorter retention in Teams
    • In order to align with customer security and compliance regulations Microsoft has made some enhancements to align with Office 365 retention standards. This means you can limit the chat retention policy to as little as 1 day within Teams!
      • Release: Q3 2019
  • Microsoft Teams real time presence updates
    • Now with real time presence in Teams you can accurately show your status so others know if you’re free or busy! In the past presence wasn’t technically “real time” and could typically take multiple minutes before updating which can result in colleagues thinking you’re free when you’re really not based on your status not updating quickly enough.
      • Release: Q3 2019
  • Microsoft Teams self-service sign up for hybrid environments
    • If you want to give all users in your hybrid organization the ability to use Teams then this will be a welcome update! If you have users in hybrid tenants but are not listed in Azure AD they will now be able to sign-up for Teams using their organizational email address. In turn this would create a new Azure AD identity and enable them to use the Teams Commercial Cloud Trial. What is this you may ask? Well, the Microsoft Teams Commercial Cloud Trial offers existing Office 365 users in your organization who are not licensed for Microsoft Teams to initiate a 1-year trial of the product.
      • Release: Q3 2019
  • Pinned Channels in Microsoft Teams
    • Have certain channels that you want to put at the forefront because you use them more than others? Well now you can with pinned channels! This allows you to stay organized and easily keep track of work by pinning channels that are more important than others. Once pinned the channel will move to the top of your teams list for easier access!
      • Release: Q3 2019
  • Teams dynamic emergency calling for Direct Routing
    • Dynamic e911 is a feature currently offered by Teams which allows you to locate exactly where 911 is being called from. This alerts the closest PSAP (Public Safety Answering Point) of the caller’s current location so that the authorities will know where to go. This feature will now support environments using Direct Routing.
      • Release: Q4 2019

Wow… there are a lot of updates in store for us in Q4 2019! Here’s to hoping that Microsoft continues this streak and gives us some big updates in 2020! As always, check back soon as I will be breaking down some of these bigger features outlined in this article so you can get a better understanding of how you can use them at your organization! I hope you have found this helpful, and don’t forget to check out the official Office 365 roadmap here, so you can stay up to date on all of Microsoft’s updates!

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Brian Siefferman

Brian is a Technical Consultant for Perficient’s Unified Communications practice focusing primarily on Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams workloads. He has been in this role since December 2017 and has an active presence blogging about all things Teams related. Currently, Brian resides in the suburbs of Chicago and enjoys running, swimming, weight lifting, and playing soccer in his free time.

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