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Microsoft Teams Updates (April 2021)

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Spring has sprung! If you’re like me and you live in frigid temperatures about 7 months out of the year, the first day that reaches 50+ Fahrenheit you’ll find me on the running trail in shorts and a t-shirt! However, rising temps aren’t the only thing to be excited about, Microsoft has also been hard at work releasing a plethora of new features to end-users! In today’s blog, we’ll outline some of the biggest announcements for Microsoft Teams over the past two months! 

Meeting Updates

Meeting Recap

Microsoft is making it easier than ever to stay on track and keep your work moving forward even after the meeting has concluded. With the new meeting recap feature, you can easily view meeting recordings, transcripts, chats, and attached files! The meeting recap will be shared with meeting participants in the Chat tab and will also be viewable within the Details tab. 

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Image provided by Microsoft

 

Meet Now Option in Outlook for Windows

You can now easily spin up ad-hoc Teams meeting from within Outlook for Windows by going to the calendar tab and clicking the new Meet Now option. If you don’t see this option have your admin check the Allow Private Meet Now policy option in the Teams Admin Center (TAC). 

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Meet Now Link in Teams Calendar

You can now copy a Meet Now directly from your Teams Calendar and share it with others without having to actually start the meeting! This isn’t exactly groundbreaking, but it is definitely a nice feature to have! 

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Mask PSTN Participant Phone Numbers

This request has been in high demand for those using Audio Conferencing for Teams meetings! Now tenant administrators have the ability to decide how they want participant phone numbers to be displayed in the roster view for meetings scheduled in the organization. The options include:

  • Masked to external users
  • Masked for everyone
  • Off (visible to everyone)

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Image provided by Microsoft

This allows organizations to conceal PSTN participant phone numbers if needed. To turn on this feature, you’ll just need to run a quick PowerShell command, which can be found here.

Bypass Lobby Meeting Option

Microsoft is giving organizations an even more granular approach when scheduling a Teams meeting. Microsoft has just released two additional Teams Meeting Options, the two additional options include:

  • People in my organization
    • Excludes guests
  • People in my organization, trusted organizations, and guests

This gives meeting organizers additional options, security, and flexibility when it comes to allowing users to bypass the lobby and get directly into the meeting. 

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Calling Updates

Voice-enabled channels

This awesome new feature allows you to connect a call queue to a channel in Teams! So if you have users that need to collaborate within a channel while taking calls (i.e. IT service desk or HR), admins can now easily connect a call queue to a channel and the team owners will have the ability to manage the settings! You can learn more about this neat new feature here.

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Survivable Branch Appliance (SBA) Support

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If you’re unfamiliar with SBAs, they allow users to continue to place and receive PSTN calls in the event of a network outage. In the event of an outage, the Teams client would switch to the SBA automatically and any outgoing calls would continue to work without any type of break in the call! Then once the network connection has been restored, the Teams client will detect this and normal call functionality will continue as normal. You can learn more about SBAs in Teams here.

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Chat and Collaboration Updates

250 GB file size support in Teams client

Microsft is upping the file size upload limit in the Teams client from 100GB to 250GB. This not only applies to the Teams client, but it’ll also apply to all other Microsoft 365 services such as SharePoint and OneDrive for Business. 

Viva Connections on Teams Desktop

Viva Connections was recently announced by Microsoft and it integrates seamlessly into apps and devices you use every day! With Viva Connections, you get a curated, company-branded experience that brings together relevant news, conversations, and other resources. Best of all, you can start using this within Teams today! Learn more about Viva Connections and how you can easily add this to your Teams desktop experience here

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Viva Insights in Teams

With Viva Insights, you get personalized insights and actionable recommendations to help you and your organization thrive in your work environment. Available today as an app in Teams, Viva Insights allows you to build better work habits and dedicate focus time so you can work individually without being interrupted. These insights are derived by summarizing your Microsoft 365 data around emails, meetings, calls, and chat and presents you with private and personalized insights that only you can see! You can learn more about Viva Insights here.

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Teams Template PowerShell support +Template Policies in TAC

As a Teams admin, you can now manage your team templates at scale with template cmdlets in PowerShell! Admins can now easily get a full list of all available templates within the tenant, get details from a particular template, create templates, edit templates, and delete templates all within PowerShell! In addition, admins can choose which policies they want to be shown to end-users. Within the Teams Admin Center, admins can create different Teams template policies and target which templates to show/hide. 

New File Sharing Experience in Teams

Sharing files in Microsoft Teams has never been easier! Now you can create shareable links for any file that is stored in Teams and easily set permissions on each file. This now aligns with the permissions that can be set for files stored in SharePoint or OneDrive for Business so the sharing experience becomes more streamlined and consistent regardless of where you’re sharing the file. You can learn more about the file-sharing process and the permissions for file sharing here.

Bring SharePoint content into Teams

Microsoft is making it easier than ever to bring SharePoint content into Teams! When connecting SharePoint to Teams you’ll have the ability to choose which lists, libraries, and pages you want to bring over into Teams as tabs as part of the General channel. 

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10,000 member org-wide team

Org-wide teams can now support up to 10,000 members! For tenants with less than or equal to 10,000 users, you can easily create an org-wide team, which syncs all tenant members with the team. 

25,000 person teams

Yep, you read that right! Microsoft has increased the limit for an individual team to 25,000 members! This new increase allows you to easily communicate and collaborate with larger-sized teams! 

Out of Office Status

You can now schedule an Out of Office status within Teams! No need to update your Outlook calendar too, as automatic replies will be updated there accordingly! 

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History Menu in Teams

You can now quickly and easily get back to areas you’ve recently been to in Teams by hovering over the Back Arrow < or Forward Arrow > located to the left of the search bar. The history menu will list up to the last 12 areas you’ve visited and can include activities, channels, conversations, tabs, files, apps, and more!

Teams History menu

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Management Updates

Restricting Windows and Mac managed device sign-in to specific tenants

With this latest update, administrators now have the ability to set device policies for Windows and macOS that restrict sign-in to your organization. The policies can be set via device management solutions like MDM or via GPO. Once applied, users will only be able to sign in with accounts homed in an Azure AD tenant that is included in the “Tenant Allow List” defined in the policy. For example, we have a user named Adele that is using a company-issued laptop. Adele is doing some consulting work for an organization called Contoso that has given her an account in their tenant. If Adele tries to log into Contoso’s tenant from her company-issued laptop with the account they provided her, she will be blocked from doing so. As an added note, this can be used to configure access to personal accounts as well! You can learn more about this new feature here.

Assign Policy Packages to Groups in TAC

Microsoft is making it even easier to push out policy packages to users by giving admins the ability to assign the policy packages to groups! Learn more about it here!

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Team Creation Alignment

In the past, a team’s creation would differ slightly depending on where you created the team (Teams Admin Center vs Teams client). Microsoft has now aligned the team creation process experience so now all teams will have the same look and feel regardless of which interface you created the team. 

Security and Compliance Updates

Sensitivity Label Display

Microsoft has made some tweaks to how sensitivity labels are shown in a team. Now the channel headers will only display the parent label instead of showing the child label (if one exists). So let’s say we had a parent label entitled “Confidential” and a child label of “TOP SECRET”. In this scenario, Teams would only display the “Confidential” label in the channel header since this is the parent label.

That just about wraps up all of the biggest updates around Microsoft Teams for the past two months! If you’d like to get the full breakdown of the new features that Microsoft announced, you can check out the official blog post here. I hope you’ve found this helpful, and I encourage you to check back shortly for more Teams related updates! 

About the Author

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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