Here’s what’s new with Microsoft Teams this month (changelog)

Microsoft Teams have become one of the company’s most important efforts, being called more important than Windows by some of its managers.

It, therefore, makes sense that the platform has gained hundreds of new improvements and features in only the last 4 weeks, all of which are listed below:

What’s New: Meetings, Calling, & Devices

Microsoft is transforming the meetings experience in Teams to include new features, settings, and devices to create a better experience, allowing you to get the most out of your meetings and achieve more together.

Virtual Breakout Rooms

Announced earlier this month, Breakout Rooms allow meeting organizers to split their Teams meeting participants into small groups to assist ideation, brainstorming, learning, and discussions. Teams facilitates this by assigning participants into a requested number of rooms—whether automatically directing people or prompting them to join. Organizers can jump in between meetings on their own—or when requested by a participant—, provide announcements to the individual rooms, and recall everyone back to the meeting at any time. Any collaboration and coauthoring done during the breakout can be shared back to the larger meeting once everyone is back together. Breakout Rooms will be delivered later this calendar year.

Large gallery view

Being able to see all of your colleagues’ faces at the same time makes a big difference in engagement and connection. Coming to preview this month with general availability coming soon, large gallery view expands the Teams grid view to 7×7, which will accommodate up to 49 participants at once on a single screen.

Multi-Window for Meetings & Calling

Multi-window experiences are coming to Teams meetings and calling. You will have the ability to pop out meetings and calling into separate windows to help them optimize their workflow. These experiences can be turned on directly within Teams for PC and Mac clients.

Teams meeting attendee limit increases to 300 participants

To help meet rapidly changing communication and meeting needs, Microsoft is increasing the maximum number of participants allowed in a Teams meeting to 300. This is generally available today.

New experience for launching instant channel meetings

Meet Now buttons in Teams channels will have a new home. You will soon find them in the Channel header where you can easily find and launch a channel meeting.

PSTN participant phone numbers masked from external users

For customers with Audio Conferencing enabled for Teams meetings, PSTN participants’ phone numbers will be masked to all users who have joined from outside of your organization. This feature is rolling out soon for PC, Mac, web, and mobile clients.

New meeting lobby setting: only the organizer joins the meeting directly

A new lobby setting is coming to Teams Meeting Options. Microsoft is adding “Only me” as an option to the “Who can bypass lobby” setting. Once enabled, only the organizer will be able to join the meeting directly. Everyone else, including people from within the same organization, will be sent to the lobby.

Safe Transfer

You will now be able to transfer a call safely to any other user in your organization. Safely means that if the target user does not answer the call, it will ring back to the transferrer. The person transferring the call must be a Teams user. The person the call is being transferred to must be either a Teams or Skype for Business user in the same tenant or in a federated tenant. This is used commonly used by reception, administrators, operators, and anyone who might be delegate for another user.

New Session Border Controllers (SBC) certified for use with Microsoft Teams Calling

The popularity of Direct Routing to connect PSTN services to Teams has been amazing. One of the key ingredients are Session Border Controllers. Customers have always asked for more certified SBC options as part of their Direct Routing deployment. Microsoft is excited that Cisco and Avaya will join our certification list. To learn more about Direct Routing deployment and certified Session Border Controllers, please read our documentation.

Bose announces new Microsoft Teams peripheral

Microsoft welcome Bose to the Teams peripheral family with the addition of Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 UC, now certified for Microsoft Teams. Bose’s new over-the-ear headphones not only lets users enjoy their meetings without distractions but also allows them to have a high-quality meeting experience whether you are at home, outside, or at work. With a USB Bluetooth adaptor and a Teams Button that lets users launch Teams to join meetings or check voice mails, NC700UC Teams certified headphones allow users to have reliable and instantaneous connection to Teams. Bose’s new Teams certified headphones will become available in August, 2020. You can learn more here.

New capabilities on Microsoft Teams phones

This month, Microsoft is excited to release new features and capabilities on Microsoft Teams phones including People app and raise hands to improve parity with your Teams desktop experience.

People app to easily organize your contacts by creating and managing contact groups.

Live captions to see real time captions in meetings (Live Captions is currently a preview feature in Microsoft Teams and available in English (US) for now).

Raise hand to let people know you want to contribute without interrupting the conversation.

Lock/Unlock with your PC to enable a coordinated and seamless lock and unlock experience between your Teams phone and your PC. To learn more about how to set up this feature, click here.

One click call transfer so you can easily transfer your calls to your frequent contacts with a single touch.

Teams and Skype interoperability – Last month, Microsoft announced this capability on Teams; by end of June, users will be able to make and receive audio and video calls from Skype for Consumer (SFC) through Microsoft Teams phones

New Teams features available for Surface Hub

The latest Surface Hub app update 0.2020.13201.0, is now available through the Windows Store. This update delivers several highly requested features to the Teams experience on Surface Hub.

This update is available to both Surface Hub and Surface Hub 2S.

Scheduled meetings coming to the free version of Teams

Teams free users can now schedule meetings and send out invitations in advance! You will have the option of either copying the meeting link to send or you can send the meeting invite via your Outlook or Google calendar. Currently, there is no time limit on meetings in the free version of Teams.

What’s New: Chat & Collaboration

Microsoft added new chat and collaboration capabilities to keep teams connected at all times, no matter where they’re working from. 

Teams Mobile On-Demand Chat Translation

Inline message translation ensures that everyone has a voice and facilitate global collaboration. With a simple click, people who speak different languages can fluidly communicate with one another by translating posts in channels and chat. On-Demand Chat Translation has already been available on desktop and web, and now will be available on iOS.

Priority notifications

Originally announced in June 2019, priority notifications for Microsoft Teams grants you the ability to continually send notifications that repeat every two minutes for up to 20 minutes on all messages marked as urgent. Priority notifications had been made available as a promotion to all Teams customers* until the second half of 2020.

Effective immediately, Microsoft have ended this promotion and made priority notifications available to all Teams customers* as a basic capability. Users will now be able to send and receive unlimited urgent messages with priority notification. Learn more about managing priority notifications.

*Priority notifications are not currently available for GCC, GCC High, or DoD customers, however this is on the Microsoft 365 Roadmap for next month.

Pulse Survey Templates

During this time, many companies are working remotely and need to collect information from their employee base while planning for their eventual return to the office. Microsoft have designed several Microsoft Forms templates for sentiment, employee issues, challenges, and health status surveys and more. These surveys can then be deployed via Teams channels. Learn more here. To get started, click here.

What’s New: IT Admin

The Teams Power Shell improvements will enhance IT admins experience with significant performance and resilience improvements in the modules and simplified access to their required Cmdlets with improved clarity on the Cmdlets scope.

Teams Power Shell (PS) modules improvements

Moving Teams Beta module to production gallery
Centralize all the Teams management modules in the same production module. Moving the Beta module that hosted on PostTestGallery into the same Team Power Shell production module on PSGallery, (PSGallery is the standard home for all Teams management Cmdlets in PowerShell). The Team Beta module will be tagged with “Preview” name. This improvement provides a simplified IT admin experience through:

Refined technical documentation set
Based on IT Admins’ feedback Microsoft have refreshed and updated all Teams Powel Shell documentation, making it easier to discover what’s in production vs. preview and shipping release notes for each release.

For more information please link to the Teams Power Shell overview page.

Developer & Platform

Microsoft is announcing incoming webhooks for adaptive cards in Teams to continue to provide a rich canvas for developers to build, engage, and transform workflows.

Incoming Webhooks for Adaptive Cards

Microsoft is excited to announce that incoming webhooks in Teams now support Adaptive Cards and is generally available! Developers will now be able to take advantage of the rich and flexible capabilities within Adaptive Cards to send content via incoming webhooks in Teams from their web service. This feature has been one of the most desired asks in UserVoice by our Teams developer community over the past two years, and Microsoft is excited to finally deliver this. For more details, please see our technical blog post here.

Teams for Education

Microsoft continues to implement new ways for Teams to support student engagement and professional development.

Class Insights

Class Insights enables educators to see and understand student engagement using intelligent data analytics. You can see grades and track engagement in meetings, communications and assignments from the whole class or an individual student. Generally available, with a new and improved dashboard to drive student outcomes will be coming in the fall.

To see the latest 20+ updates for Teams for Education check out aka.ms/TeamsUpdatesJune2020. And if you’re looking to test what it’s like to use Teams as a student or educator, try out the new click-through demos here aka.ms/edu-interactive-demos.

Teams for US Government

Microsoft is here to support US Government clouds. Here are the new capabilities for GCC customers.

Live captions in Teams meetings

This enables meeting participants to view live captions during a Teams meeting. Supported spoken languages in this release is English (EN-US). This is currently available for GCC customers and does not yet include GCC High and DoD environments.

Enable organizers to change lobby settings for PSTN meeting participants

Any user who schedules a Microsoft Teams meeting will now see a separate setting to control the lobby for PSTN participants in the Meeting Options page of a given meeting. This will be available for GCC customers.

Announce when PSTN participants join/leave the meeting

Any user who schedules a Teams meeting will now see a new setting in Meeting Options page of a meeting to control the announcement sound when a PSTN/dial-in participant joins or leaves the meeting. This will be available for GCC customers.

Shifts in Teams now available for GCC customers

Shifts in Microsoft Teams will enable GCC customers to transform schedule management for their Firstline Workforce. Shifts in Microsoft Teams has reached compliance with GCC Requirement Guidelines and has started a tenant by tenant roll out to Office 365 Government GCC.
*Please note we’re admitting tenants to the product roll-out list and monitoring roll outs with an anticipated general GCC availability 2 months out. Admins should work with Microsoft to get their tenant an early spot in line.

Phew! That’s all for this month. Much of Microsoft Team’s most advanced features are free to try until the end of September. Check out the platform at Microsoft here.

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