Three months after if was officially announced, Microsoft has started rolling out the new Tasks app in Microsoft Teams.
This new experience is powered by both Planner and Microsoft To Do and is fundamentally a rebrand (with some) of the existing Planner app which was already available within Microsoft Teams, creating one central hub for all things teamwork and tasks..
As we have become accustomed too with roll outs of features within Microsoft Teams, the new Tasks apps rollout will also be a gradual one which starts today and will complete by September.
It’s worth noting that Tasks for Teams mobile, is not expextes to be available until the desktop rollout has completed.
What about its name?
For now… Presumably to minimise confusion, the name of the Planner app inside Microsoft Teams will not change.
Microsoft has said that as they continue the roll out the new Planner experience, the app name will remain Planner, but will then change to Tasks by Planner and To Do, and then change to simply Tasks. Mobile users, meanwhile, will always only see the app as Tasks.
What is new?
The new features in the new Tasks app include
New list view,
The ability to edit multiple tasks at once.
Traditional board, charts, and schedule view from Planner, with the option for Lists aswell
New bulk editing capability, where you can edit multiple tasks simultaneously, for changing progress, priority, due dates etc.
You’ve got the Power
If you are fan and user of Power Automate (formerly Microsoft Flow) can also now add and configure integrations in the new Task app, to bring out tasks created in other applications into Tasks in Teams.
When will I get it?
To check if Tasks is available, you can click the ellipses in the Teams sidebar and choose Planner.
This all part of a new initiate by Microsoft dubbed as “Tasks in Microsoft 365.” This is the first stage of a project within Microsoft to bring together, streamline and consolidate the principles of tasks across all of Microsoft 365.
Yesterday at Inspire, Microsoft’s Global Partner Event, Microsoft made a massive announcement about changes coming to their survey and feedback tool known as Forms Pro). Released almost a year ago to the day, Forms Pro provided a host of additional features to Forms including functionality tied into the Common Data Service and was the suggested replacement for the previous “Voice of the Customer” which was part of Dynamics 365.
Introducing “Customer Voice“
Dynamics 365 Customer Voice is a not just a name change for Forms Pro, it’s a new product which will replace Forms Pro – it’s primary focus being to request and manage customer feedback at multiple levels.
As MVP Megan Walker said in a blog, “it took a few steps to get there, but hopefully, now we can see that Microsoft Forms is one product, and Customer Voice is another“.
Customer Voice (which is available from end of August) will have the same notable features as Forms Pro but will also include a host of new capabilities and exciting features.
The user interface will also be separate and different from Microsoft Forms – a move that will hopefully remove a lot of the confusion of not knowing exactly which product was which when using Forms and / or Forms Pro since they do, in essence, look the same!
What are the new Features?
Customer Voice works more on the concept of Projects than just a whole bunch of unstructured surveys. These projects can hold one or more surveys – so the layout is slightly different but easier to manage – for example, you can group surveys based on products or surveys etc.
There are also new satisfaction metrics coming for sentiment, Net promoter or CSAT.
You can also pick new solution templates for projects such as
Custom templates and even third-party templates
The full list of features can be found on Microsoft’s office page here:
Megan – a friend and experts in her field has also done a great video blog on these changes and new stuff…check it out here:
When will the changes kick in?
The transition from Forms Pro to Customer Voice will happen in Mid/Late August 2020 and all existing Forms Pro Surveys and responses will transition across to the new service.
What do you think, are you are Forms Pro user? What do you think of the latest changes? Let me know
Microsoft have just announced some changes and enhancements coming to the way their Microsoft Teams “Cloud Voice” services are purchased and licensed.
Firstly, from August 1st, all Office E5/A5 and Microsoft E5/A5 plans will now include 120-minutes per month domestic user calling plans in eight countries at no additional cost. This will be for new and existing E5/A5 users including the following countries: –
Secondly, Microsoft are also adding new Microsoft 365 Enterprise Voice Plans. This will make it easier for customers to add voice to Teams since these new bundles will include That means, in those countries, E5 now ships as a full phone system with PSTN connectivity and user phone numbers/minutes included in the single license.
The new Enterprise Voice bundles are a new offering / add-on that will includes.
Audio Conferencing, and
Domestic calling minutes
The new Voice bundles will come in different sizes and will include a different number of inclusive minutes (similar to how the Calling Plans are purchased today).
Voice Plan 1 works out around £4.50 per user per month cheaper than the previous separate items of Phone System, Audio Conferencing and 120 Minute Calling Plan
Office 365 E5/Microsoft 365 E5 will include PLAN 1 which equates to 120 mins.
About Microsoft Enterprise Voice
Microsoft 365 Enterprise Voice
…is a cloud-based telephony solution that enables users to make and receive PSTN calls in Microsoft Teams. It includes Phone System, Audio Conferencing, and Domestic Calling Plans. These will be now be available in a Plan 1 and Plan 2.
…are what Microsoft call the associated DDI and calling minutes which are assigned to users or common are phones for example and gives users a PSTN phone number and inclusive out-bound minutes to make PSTN calls outbound. Inbound PSTN calls are not minute capped or charged. E5 licenses already include “Phone System” which enables the ability to use Microsoft Teams as a phone, but there is a still a requirement to add either a Microsoft Calling Plan or to use Direct Routing (an SBC and service from an approved Telco) to enable a user to make and receive phone calls.
Enterprise Voice Plans (for A3/E3/F3 users)
Voice Plan 1 (incudes 120 mins a month): RRP £9.80
Voice Plan 2: (includes TBC mins per month) RRP £16.60
Note: Voice Plan 1 works out around £4.50 per user per month cheaper than the previous separate items of Phone System, Audio Conferencing and 120 Minute Calling Plan
Find out more
To find out more, you can refer to the announcement here:
After being criticised for several months now as playing catch up to Zoom, Microsoft has just announced a host of new innovate features in Microsoft Teams that will make virtual interactions much more natural, more engaging, and ultimately, more human.
Microsoft say these new features offer three key benefits
They will help you feel more connected with your team and reduce meeting fatigue.
They will make meetings more inclusive and engaging
They will help streamline work and save time
Microsoft say that it is all about “enabling people everywhere to collaborate, to stay connected, and to discover new ways to be productive from anywhere” and it’s all backed up by months of scientific research and analysis to how people have been working, the pressures and announces they have faced as people have and continue to spend more time in virtual meetings than physical ones.
Let’s start with the Official Microsoft promo video
1. Feeling more connected and reducing meeting fatigue
“Together Mode” is a new meeting experience that will help reduce fatigue during remote collaboration. This feature will place participants in a shared virtual background to make it feel like everyone is sitting in the same room/space with all other meeting participants. Here, Microsoft is aiming to make your video meetings more engaging by helping us focus on the faces and body language of other attendees so that you can pick up the nonverbal cues that are vital for human interaction and something that is often absent from virtual meetings. According to Microsoft “Together mode with auditorium view” is already in private preview and will be rolled out to everyone else by August 2020.
Also related to video aspect of meetings, the upcoming “Dynamic View” uses AI to dynamically personalise your video meeting view to suit your preferences and needs. Microsoft acknowledged that whilst the new “Together Mode” will offers a great new meeting experience, it’s not intended or suited for every meeting. With Dynamic View, users will be able to access new controls and get the ability to show shared content and specific participants side-by-side as well as have content and layout dynamically adapt to the meeting, number of attendees and content and other activities being drawn upon during the meeting.
Dynamic View will build on the other recent meetings enhancements, including the ability to see up to 49 participants (still rolling out) at once on a single screen, and virtual breakout rooms, which is coming later this calendar year.
Microsoft is bringing video filters into Teams to allow users to better customise their online appearance before joining a meeting with the help of common filters you are most likely used to on social media photo tools like Instagram etc. These filters are designed to subtly adjust lighting levels and soften the focus of your camera to make your video more “real”.
Reflect Messaging Extension
Also said to be coming in the next “few” weeks, Microsoft announced a new “Reflect messaging extension” is coming to Teams. Once installed (it’s an extension) Microsoft say it will make it easier for managers, team leaders, and teachers to track their teams’ performance, the status of a project, current events, or a change within the organisation for example. Note: IT admins will need to install the Reflect extension from GitHub, and then make it available to employees in their organization in the message extension menu
Reflect Messaging will also provide the ability to add custom questions to create a poll-like experience for team members.
2. Making meetings more inclusive, engaging, and effective
Microsoft Teams will soon allow meeting participants to use emojis to share how they feel about the event. Emojis will appear on everyone’s screens, and the instant feedback experience will be similar to the Live feedback feature already available with PowerPoint Live presentations and in Skype Consumer as well as other popular Video Conferencing platforms such as Zoom. The latter will also be available in Microsoft Teams in the future, the company said today, while the Whiteboard app in Teams will be improved with faster load times, sticky notes, text, and drag and drop capabilities.
Microsoft also is said to be raising the maximum number of Teams meetings participants from 300 people (just rolled out) to 1,000.
Microsoft research suggests that during meetings, “chat has become a much more lively space for conversation and idea-sharing, and offers an option for people to participate in the discussion without having to jump in verbally. But it can be challenging to pay attention to video feeds, presentations, and chats all at the same time“. Currently, Teams users need to manually open a chat window to view the chat screen. This is set to change as Microsoft Teams meetings will soon get support for what they call chat bubbles, which will make chat messages appear on the screen for chat participants while they are in a meeting.
Speaker attribution for live captions and transcripts
Microsoft is also enhancing the live captions features for teams and making transcripts more accessible and fluid also making it easy for participants to see who is speaking. Thsi is similar to what Cisco have done with WebEx in the latest update and it’s great to see this coming to Microsoft Teams later this year. Teams will also get support for more languages, as well as Live transcripts participants can download once the meeting has ended. speaker attribution
Interactive Meetings for 1,000 attendees
Microsoft will soon allow for interactive meetings for up to 1,000 participants to allow for large groups, to come together for meetings or classes. As an alternative to Live Events (which are for town hall and broadcast sessions), Teams will now also allow you to bring more people together to watch a presentation or discussion where Teams will soon support a view-only meeting experience for up to 20,000 participants.
Teams Whiteboard Updates
The Whiteboard feature in Teams will soon be updated with a host of new features making it more aligned to the Windows and iOS version of Whiteboard. This will include faster load times, sticky notes, text, and drag and drop capabilities and will also be optimised for users that don’t have access to a touchscreen device or Surface Hub to participate in whiteboarding sessions during Teams meetings.
3. Streamlining work and saving time
New Task App
Microsoft have announced a new Task app that will be available in late July/August. The Task app will give Teams users a tab within Teams that unifies all of their tasks and actions across Outlook, ToDo and Planner. In addition, it will support smart lists which will dynamically group things like “Tasks Assigned to me” and will unify tasks across different shared plans, whether you’re on desktop, web, or mobile.
Suggested replies will enable users to utilise quick “AI-generated” responses based on contextual understandings of previous messages. These will work in a similar way to the newly rolled out “auto-replies” in text messages or email, allowing users to reply with a single click to common responses without having to type out a full message in their response.
Microsoft Teams displays
Microsoft has also announced new extended partnerships with Yealink and Lenovo to bring what it calls the “Microsoft Teams display initiative”.
This will allow Teams users to make use of a centralised hardware offering that makes use of an ambient touchscreen coupled with a microphone and a camera to host meetings. Lenovo already have a product about to ship and yesterday announced an extended partnership with Yealink to bring new device categories into the mix later this year / early 2021.
Touchless Meeting Experiences
Whilst Teams already has support for touchless proximity join, Microsoft has announced a host more touchlessness for its meetings which will include voice commands for leaving a meeting, adding participants, muting and unmuting rooms, adjusting audio volume, turning cameras off and on as well as wirelessly casting to any Teams enabled device.
In conjunction with this, new companion features will be rolling out to the Teams mobile app to provide Teams Rooms remote control features that will allow users to be able to be conduct entire meetings, brainstorming sessions, and presentations without ever having to physically touch meeting room equipment with their hands!
This must be one of the biggest sets of updates announced by Microsoft and shows the commitment to driving innovation, inclusion and accessibility.
Teams is the place where people everywhere come together to get work done and I’m seeing an explosive pace of deployment and adoption within my customers at @Cisilion.
One thing is for sure, with all the innovation, new features and changes to Microsoft Teams, a solid and robust Adoption and Change Management programme is needed to ensure users are educated about the changes, given the opportunity to learn and test the new features and that IT and your Teams champions have the chance to help users embrace the new features.
18 months I did a review of the original Surface Go since I was immediately impressed at just how well suited this was as a secondary device and how for many role it was the perfect front line worker or education device.
One of the confusing factors about the original Surface Go, was really where it fitted in with the rest of the Surface family for business and who the target audience was. I certainly found that many of my customers sometimes struggled between whether their users needed a lightweight, cost effective Surface Go or whether they needed the big brother – the Surface Pro.
Tech reviewers often slated the Surface Go (despite its sales success) as they would compare the processor and other tech-spec items, namely the (sluggish at times) Intel-Gold processor and larger than necessary screen bezel which, depending on the use and workload you put it through they were right!
The new Surface Go 2 addresses every “issue” the first model had, so long as you don’t need a mobile power-horse of a laptop of course.
Introduction the Surface Go 2
The Surface Go 2 (I have the Intel M3/8Gb/128GB LTE version) in my opinion, and through a couple a weeks of using it as my daily driver – this upgraded version has perfectly sufficient processing power, RAM and storage for everyday use – which for me is internet browsing, Office 365 apps (Word, PowerPoint etc) photos viewing and basic editing and consuming content like Netflix etc., and is a compelling and affordable alternative to a traditional laptop.
Great Look and Feel
There are some subtle but important changes to the Surface Go 2, which make it look a lot more like an iPad Pro than the Surface Go, which is due to the smaller bezels. Overall the, dimensions of the Surface Go 2 are unchanged, but by slimming down the edges around the screen, Microsoft has managed to upgrade the screen size by 1/2 an inch which, though it doesn’t sound lot, gives the Surface Go 2 a much more modern look.
Specifications, Speeds and Feeds!
Looking purely at the spec sheet, the Surface Go 2 is still only a baby in terms of not only size, but performance, with a less powerful processor, smaller screen and of course, smaller keyboard but, just like the first generation, it is, however, in my opinion, great bit of modern workplace kit and deserves serious consideration when looking at future 2-in-1 purchases for both home and work.
Most of the real improvements to Surface Go 2 are tucked away under the hood.
Much-improved battery life. The original Surface Go was really let down by its battery life and despite the advertised “up to 9 hours“, I never got it to last more than about six. So far in testing, the Surface Go 2 has managed to serve me all day (8.5 hours) with a “normal” workload – Word, some PowerPoint, Teams Calls (I do a lot of these), and of course Outlook and some web browsing. I did do a “how far can you go” test by setting to screen brightness to 70% and attended an all-day Teams “Live Event”, and my Surface Go 2 still had some juice in it after nine hours which I was really impressed with to be honest!
USB-C Charging – for when you do need more juice, the Surface Go 2 supports charging via USB-C and I could even charge it with my USB battery pack – it was quite a “trickle” charge to be fair but it charged so great for when it’s in your back-pack!
5 Mega Pixel Front Facing Camera – The Surface Go 2 has a much better front camera to what you’d expect and is better than most laptops that I come across. This is vital of course for all those Microsoft Teams or Zoom Calls you might be doing as we all adjust to life during and after lock-down.
Fast 4G (LTE) – One thing i haven’t had much use for due to COVID-19 lockdown is mobile data which is another thing that I love about the Surface Go 2. Popping a SIM into the device means you are connected all the time and for someone that “usually” spends a lots of time traveling and between meetings, being connected on the go (as well as being able to charge on the go) are great assets for the mobile modern workplace
It is faster. The internals, like I mentioned, have been upgraded (the higher models anyway). The model I have has the newer Intel Core M3 chip, 8Gb RAM and a 128 Gb solid state drive along with LTE (mobile data).
What about cost?
Surface Go 2 starts from just £399 (inc VAT) and as always with Surface devices, specification options, regional variations, promotions and volume, and accessories all affect the end price.
Note: Surface Go doesn’tship by default with a Pen or the Type Cover Keyboard which to me are what makes a Surface a Surface.
Without these promos the price for commercial organisations is around:
Typical Price (inc. VAT)
Surface Go 2: Pentium Gold/4G/64Gb (no extras)
Surface Go 2: M3 / 128Gb / 8Gb with Type Cover and Pen
Surface Go 2 LTE: M3 / 128Gb / 8Gb with Type Cover and Pen
I know what you are thinking…. Apple iPad Pro right?
Well, to be honest, an 11-inch iPad Pro with 128Gb Storage, Apple’s new Smart Keyboard and Pencil is well over £1,250 (inc. VAT).