“Discover, prepare, and recap your meetings in one place with the Meet App in Microsoft Teams”.
If you haven’t seen or used the new Meet app in Teams you are missing a trick. It’s pretty new and I only discovered it recently, but it’s a really simple and intuitive way to see and manage all your Teams meetings past and future. Here’s what it is and how it works.
Meet is an app available in the new Microsoft Teams experience that centralises all your common meeting preparation and catch-up activities, helping to enhance meeting efficiency by simplifying the prep work and reducing time spent reviewing missed meetings. Meet provides a single view of upcoming meetings as well as recent past meetings, and enables quick discovery of meeting content like chats, files, agendas, shared documents, and meeting recap.
Meet helps you to prepare for, participate in, and follow up on your online meetings more efficiently and effectively.
With Meet, you are able to access all your meeting-related content in one place, such as chats, files, agendas, shared documents, meeting recap and transcriptions and more. You can also view all your upcoming and recent past meetings in a single view, and easily join or rejoin them with a single one click.
Meet also integrates with other features of the new Teams app, such as PowerPoint Live, Microsoft Whiteboard, and the new Loop AI-generated meeting notes, to enhance your meeting experience and productivity.
How do get the Meet App?
The Meet App is a native Microsoft app for Teams but needs to be added by your IT admin or added manually yourself (assuming you are allowed to do so).
From here, click on the three dots in the left-hand menu and type “Meet”. You’ll see the app listed and from simply click the icon and select “pin”.
Note: To start using Meet, you need to switch to the new Teams app, which is now generally available for Windows and Mac users, the web, and also in public preview for Windows 365, Virtual Desktop Infrastructure (VDI) and government cloud customers.
See Meet in action
The video below, courtesy of Microsoft, shows a walk through of how it works.
Hope you find this useful. I love it and wish it was a default installed experience.
Microsoft is replacing Microsoft Teams Live Events with a new “Town Hall” in the experience. Users with Team Premium licenses will also gain exclusive access to new “advanced features”.
What is Teams Town Hall?
Town Halls is revamped experience for large-scale events in Teams called Town Halls, cv will replace Live Events. The new Town Halls experience is officially available for commercial customers from Thursday October 5, 2023.
What features does it offer over Live Events?
Teams Town Halls offers many new advanced production capabilities, a new experience offering a structured approach for attendee engagement, and a new unified experience for users. Some of these features will only be available to Teams Premium customers.
Teams Town Hall enables customers to host various types of internal and external events, such as company-wide town halls, all hands, global team meetings, internal broadcasts, fireside chats, and more. It gusto provides much better support for external presenters.
Teams Town Hall supports up to 10,000 attendees, and up to 20,000 attendees for Teams Premium customers. It also allows up to 15 town halls to run at the same time, and up to 50 for Teams Premium customers
Teams Town Hall features advanced production capabilities, such as a new meeting template, third-party eCDN support, green room functionality, control over what attendees can see, moderated Q&A sessions, and more.
Teams Town Hall provides a structured approach for attendee engagement, such as attendee reporting, live reactions, polls, surveys, and more.
Teams Town Hall features Email communications and advanced customisation (for Teams Premium users). Organisers will be able to send pre-configured email templates for the event invitation and the event recording emails instead of manually creating a separate email, copying the event link, and sending a calendar invite to attendees.
Teams Town Hall will (soon) support both RTMP-in (so events can be produced directly from an external encoder and integrate different external media feeds) and RTMP-out, allowing organizers to stream the event out to a custom app or different endpoint outside of Teams such as YouTube, LinkedIn, X, Meta Workplace, and others. Note, this functionality will be available next year.
Teams Town Hall will create a unified experience for users whether they are hosting a small meeting, customer-facing webinar, or company-wide town hall. The current live event platform is not a consistent experience with Teams.
Teams Town halls will (soon) be integrated with Viva Engage to allow attendees to view the event in Viva Engage, whether the event is produced directly in Teams or with an external app or device.
When will Teams Live Events be retired?
Retirement of the current Teams Live Event service will continue to be supported over the next 12 months and fully retire by September 30, 2024.
Existing recordings will be available until December 31, 2024, but the transition to town hall must be completed before the retirement date.
To set-up a new Town Hall event, users (unless disabled by policy) can create a new Town Hall directly from Teams as shown below.
Don’t forget Microsoft Mesh
Microsoft is also rolling out Microsoft Mesh to Teams users in public preview in this month (October 2023). Mesh is a virtual reality platform that will enable richer and more immersive events. It will work on PC and Meta Quest VR devices. You can read more here.
Yes, I thought Mesh was dead too – but it’s not! Today (Sept 26th), Microsoft announced that Microsoft Mesh will be going into Public Preview in October 2023.
What is Microsoft Mesh?
Microsoft Mesh is a new 3D immersive experience that will be surfaced through Microsoft Teams. It aims to help blur the lines between the physical and virtual space, “re-imagining the way employees come together” through three-dimensional (3D) immersive experience known as “digital spaces”. Backed up by information in Microsoft’s latest Work Trend Index Report, “organisations need new ways for people to connect from different locations or geographies, using the tools they already have”.
People will be able to join these immersive spaces in Microsoft Teams, or via custom immersive space in Microsoft Mesh. Either way, this will transform the two-dimensional meeting into a 3D immersive experience.
These immersive spaces will each have unique attributes that create a perception of being physically together in a 3D digital space, including spatial audio interaction, co-presence, and immersion feedback.
Microsoft Mesh will be customisable
Microsoft say that organisations and teams will be able to customise these immersive spaces in Mesh using a “no-code” editor or by using a dedicated “Mesh toolkit”.
Secure and Inclusive
Microsoft Mesh is built on Microsoft 365 with the usual enterprise-grade security and privacy. It will support haptic feedback on supported devices and supports certified dedicated VR headsets such as Oculus Quest 2, and as well as on PC.
Getting Started with Mesh
Once available, IT will need to ensure users have a suitable base license (Teams Essentials, Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Microsoft 365 Business Standard, Microsoft 365 Business Premium, Microsoft 365 E3/E5, or Office 365 E1/E3/E5. and will also need to enable / authorise the use of the Mesh app for Teams once available. Teams Premium is also needed.
The new Immersive spaces will be available in the classic Teams app, followed shortly afterwards in the new Teams.
Users can also download the Mesh app for PC from the Microsoft Store or the Mesh app for Meta Quest devices from the App Lab.
Microsoft Teams Premium is needed to use Microsoft Mesh.
As well as launching avatars last month, Microsoft has just released (in Preview) animated backgrounds in Teams meetings. It’s designed to refresh the meeting experience by allowing users to change their existing background with “a dynamic animation for a more immersive virtual environment.”
Available to all Teams customers (commercial not personal), this brings a currently limited set of animated backgrounds to bring “creativity and personalisation to the Teams meeting”. Currently, it is only possible to select from the pre-defined backgrounds though we expect the ability to have company-wide a custom animated background to also be supported soon.
Using Animated Backgroundsin Meetings
Before you join: To use this new feature, upon joining a Teams meeting, you need to navigate to Effects and Avatars > Video effects and select one of the new animated background on the pre-join screen before you join the meeting.
When in a meeting: To use these when you are already in a meeting, you can click More > Effects and Avatars > Select a background can be used to add an animated background.
What images are compatible with Teams animated backgrounds?
Currently, only the stock animated images provided by Microsoft are supported. We expect organisations will have the ability to upload their own soon!
Known issues and limitations.
Microsoft have said that the following limitations apply to using animated backgrounds.
Animated backgrounds are not available on low-end devices – min requirement of 8GB RAM and CPU with 4 logical processors.
Only pre-defined backgrounds from Microsoft are currently supported.
Using video filters may slow down background animation, if your machine has a high workload and lots of apps running.
Microsoft Teams Meeting recap is now live for both Teams Standard and Teams Premium users. For users with Teams Premium licenses, they also get access to the AI powered “Intelligent recap” feature. In this blog I will cover.
What is Intelligent Recap
What is Teams Premium
How does Intelligent recap work in Teams
How do you summarize a team meeting transcript
How much does Intelligent recap cost?
What is Intelligent recap
Intelligent Recap is a Teams Premium (a service that provides an enhanced Teams experience, including many advanced features including several that use artificial intelligence to provide time saving tasks for meeting organisers and attendees.
Intelligent recap provides AI powered insights, automatically takes notes, recommended tasks, and highlights, as well as creating speaker-indexed video and transcriptions of the recording. It is available to use now for Teams Premium users.
According to research by Microsoft and feedback from their customers, this tool should save people a lot of time since who, more than 55% of people claim that actions and notes are often unclear or inconsistent following a meeting.
What is Teams Premium
Microsoft Teams Premium was released early this year and amongst other premium features, it brings new artificial intelligence powered tools to Teams designed to improve your productivity. The biggest AI feature within Teams Premium is intelligent recap, which after being in preview for while is now generally available.
How does Intelligent recap work in Teams
To be able to recap a meeting the meeting organiser (or permitted attendee) will need to ensure they choose (or set to automatic) to record and transcribe the meeting. You also need to have a Teams Premium license.
Intelligent recap is designed to help attendees to catch up on a meeting by reviewing the content, video, key content, and discussion points and to review suggested actions. It also useful for people that were invited to the meeting but were unable to attend and to ensure that everyone has notes from the meeting and are clear on the actions (which it suggests based on the meeting).
Intelligent recap uses Microsoft’s Generative AI to generate meeting notes, recommended tasks, and personalised highlights, which it takes from the transcription it creates.
Intelligent recap also creates personalised timeline markers that are only visible to a specific user. These highlight when someone is specifically mentioned by name, when something is shared by that person and when someone leaves the meeting. This is useful, if, for example, you had to leave an over running meeting because, you can then easily use the recap to catch up on what you missed at the end – particularly if you are given an action.
Intelligent recap also creates speaker timeline markers which make it quick and easy to jump to the most important (or specific parts) of a meeting. They speaker markers show when different people spoke and are organised based on who spoke the most, which is again useful to see the dynamic of a meeting.
Chapters, (which have been delayed but are coming soon), will divide meetings into sections and attempt to organise them by topic – this is currently in testing.
Meeting Recap in Teams “Standard”
It is worth noting that the standard version of Teams does have a meeting recap feature – but lacks the AI powered intelligent notes described above. Instead, the “Recap” tab of a Teams meeting provides links to the meeting transcript, recording, and any notes that were taken manually. You are also able to watch the meeting recording directly within Teams without needing to go to another app or web page. This will also support the new collaborative meeting notes feature when it rolls out in the next month
How do you summarize a Team meeting transcript
To summarise a Teams meeting transcript, you need to make sure the meeting is recorded and transcribed, and you need to have a Teams Premium license assigned.
There are no manual steps needed to summarise the meeting, since the Intelligent Recap feature will work automatically after the meeting ends and after it has processed and analysed the recording and transcription.
One the meeting has finished; you will see a recap tab within the meeting window.
In the Recap panel, you can watch the recorded meeting and access key information such as the agenda, meeting notes, shared content etc. You can also quickly see and navigate to where specific people spoke or where you were mentioned in the meeting for your mentions. You can do that by clicking on the @ over the video window.
The Recap panel is simple to use and very intuitive. From here you can access any notes manually taken during the meeting as well as access the AI notes generated by Teams.
Scrolling down further, shows the AI generated actions that Teams detected or has suggested if not explicitly stated. In my experience these are quite accurate, but it does mistakes – expect it improve over time with more user feedback!
How much does Intelligent recap cost
Intelligent meeting recap is part of Microsoft Teams Premium. Depending on your region and licensing agreement, pricing may vary but RRP is currently on promo for £5.80 pupm. It is due to increase to around £7.
Thanks for reading – as always welcome your comments and feedback.
Now in public preview, you can now make your Microsoft Teams calls now sound much more pleasing to the ear as Microsoft gives Teams a huge audio quality upgrade in the form of spatial audio support.
What is spatial audio?
Spatial audio works by virtually positioning sounds in the space around you which makes communication sound and feel more natural, inclusive and focused. It makes a significant difference and once you’ve experienced it, you won’t want to turn it off.
Spatial audio can make audio within the Teams meeting more natural, inclusive and focused for all. Spatial Audio is already used by lots of video and media platforms to improve the audio quality in films and music etc. For Teams, it now makes sound though stereo devices sound much more immersive and realistic, significantly improves the quality of virtual meetings.
This means that during a meeting, you can hear exactly where each participant is located, as if they were physically present in the same room. The result is an immersive and realistic sound experience that enhances collaboration and communication.
Another benefit of Spatial Audio is that it reduces background noise and echoes. This creates a clearer and cleaner sound, improving the overall sound quality of the meeting. This is especially useful for people working in noisy environments or with less than optimal acoustics
“This new audio experience spatializes the voices of attendees across the visual meeting stage in the Gallery view. This helps make conversations more natural, increasing the sense of audio presence, and making the conversation easier to follow when multiple people are speaking together”.
Spatial Audio | Pre requisites
Devices: To use spatial audio within Teams, you need to be using USB-wired stereo headphones, your laptop stereo speakers or external / monitor stereo speakers. Bluetooth audio is not currently supported for spatial audio – but it soon will.
People: To experience this effect, the meeting must have more than two participants in gallery view.
Bandwidth: To preserve audio quality, Teams will turn off spatial audio if your network’s bandwidth or computer memory is too low.
Teams Client: You need to be using the Teams Public Preview (it will be generally released in mid June).
How to turn on Spatial Audio
With spatial audio enables, when people speak, you’ll hear their voices coming from their relative positions on the meeting screen as per the gallery view. Here is how to enable it..
Before the meeting 1. Go to your Teams calendar and select the meeting you’d like to join. 2. Before you join, select Device settings. 3. Under Speaker section, make sure you select your compatible device. 4. Toggle the setting to enable Spatial audio.
During a meeting You can also activate Spatial in the meeting by 1. More “…” > Settings > Device Settings:
Notes and other info
Spatial audio will be enabled in Gallery view
For the best exleriwnxe, you need three or more attendees in the meeting.
1:1 calls and large meetings are not yet supported (but will be).
Wireless audio devices are not yet supported (but will be).
Feature is in public preview now and expected to available to all mid-June ate May to mid-June 2023.
Microsoft are making pre, during and post meetings more effective with a new capability which aligns and integrates across both Microsoft Teams and the wider Microsoft 365 apps such as Loop, Planner, To Do, Office apps and OneDrive for Business. They will also be supported in wider apps such as Microsoft Dynamics 365.
The aim is to make pre, during and post meeting experience better, more seamless and more integrated across the rest of Microsoft 365, and will be enabled by default when it rolls out (as of June 5th, it is rolling out now). This is part of number of improvements Microsoft are making to the Microsoft Teams meeting experience and also shows the further extensibility of Microsoft Loop.
Using Collaborative Meeting Notes
1. Adding Collaborative notes to a meeting.
When an organiser creates a new meeting from within Microsoft Teams, they will see a new agenda section at the bottom of the meeting form.
This new Collaborative experience uses a Loop component, meaning that rather than being static – they are live and can be updated on the fly before, during and after the meeting. Since these are loop components, they can also be copied / referenced easily outside of the meeting, into chats, emails and other docs.
This makes pre and post meeting follow-up more seamless and inclusive.
2. Using collaborative notes during a meeting
When joining a meeting, a new NotesButton will be visible during meetings that will allow users to leverage the new capability.
Any existing meeting notes will be shown on the right pane of the meeting window and there will also be the ability to pop the window out to make more room or move to your second screen/monitor. This is essential just a loop component.
All meeting participants can read and collaborate with the agenda in real time. They can update the agenda, take manual meeting notes and add tasks or actions. When participants are assigned a task in the meeting, they will also receive an email notification as well as have the tasks synced with Planner and their To Do apps.
Meeting organisers will also see have the ability to add Collaborative notes before meetings, enabling then to recreate an agendas as well keep all meeting materials available in a central place for all to access.
One the meeting has finished, the collaborative notes will remain accessible for all participants on the Teams calendar meeting details page. They can also be shared into other apps like chat or email.
This update is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 101509
At Enterprise Connect this week, Microsoft and Cisco took to stage again (this is now a serious relationship) and annouced that the Cisco Board Pro is now certified to run Microsoft Teams Rooms natively on the device as well contining of course, the ability to still fully support Webex.
The initial partnership was announced back at Microsoft Ignite in October 2022, where a new look harnessing was unveiled in which Cisco are extending the interoperability of their latest hardware and software portfolio with support and full interoperability with Microsoft Teams, empowering their customers with seamless, connected experiences that can be customised to best suit their needs support native Cisco Webex experience, native Teams experience or both worth seemless meeeting switching without reconfiguration or admin intervention.
With this official certification, both the 55-inch and 75-inch models can be configured at set up to run Teams Rooms as the default experience, allowing their customers to experience Teams’ digital workplace with Cisco’s purpose-built video conferencing hardware.
The Cisco Board Pro joins a list of other devices and peripherals Certified for Teams including the Cisco Desk Camera 4K, the Cisco Headset 320, and the Cisco Headset 720 which I covered in more detail here.
This comes the same week that Microsoft quiet announced the next generation of their Surface Hub devices.
Pricing and availability
55-inch Cisco Board Pro RRP: $13,995
75-inch Cisco Board Pro RRP: $22,995
Cisco also offer a good discount to customers who invest in a Cisco Webex Enterprise Agreement.
For the current list of Cisco devices certified for Teams see here.
Microsoft has announced they will be launching the next generation of the Surface Hub 2S. Shipping later this year, it will come loaded with a new version of Windows known as “Teams Rooms on Windows” and will follow the current Surface Hub 2S design profile and feature both 50″ and 85″ versions.
The new version of Windows that will ship with the new Surface Hub 2S is called Teams Rooms on Windows, and is a major upgrade over the existing “Windows Teams” OS that Surface Hub 2S uses.
In the blog, Microsoft says that the existing Surface Hub 2S will continue to be supported through to until October 2025, which is when support for the version of Windows that runs on Hub 2S is due to end.
Teams Room on Windows
Teams Rooms on Windows will feature a brand new user design interface, which will be similar to that of Teams Rooms for Windows and Android MTR devices, along with unified management and new collaborative features such as support for FrontRow and the upcoming Copilot for Teams. This will finally bring consistent user experience and management for all Teams Room devices.
This new version of Windows will only be available for the new generation Surface Hub 2S devices but they do mention that Surface Hub 2S users will have a “path” to migrate to this experience at a future date, which I expect will be via the cartridge hardware upgrade – a key sustainability and upgrade selling point of Surface Hub 2S.
Microsoft say in their blog that more information will be released later this year…
Microsoft has starting to roll out the new ( faster and sleeker) preview version of the Teams app for Windows to users enrolled in the Public Preview ring as an option for testing. Microsoft say this will be rolling out in phases and will be available to all customers by June this year. There will also be updates versions to Teams for Mac and for the web later this year.
It is said to consume 50% less memory and 70% less disk space while being up to twice as fast as the current version.
The new client (which has been in testing for many months) should bring the following improvements:
Install apps up to three times faster
Launch app up to twice as fast
Meeting Join speed up to twice as fast
Switch chats/channels up to 1.7x faster
Consumes ~50% less memory
Consumes up ~70% less disk space
As well as the performance issues which will be welcomes, this new version includes a number of other enhancements meant to simplify Teams which builds on the more than 400 feature updates that Microsoft delivered to Teams last year. Examples include:
Chat: Microsoft are also experimenting with tweaks to the UI around chat functions whereby Teams will hide several options behind a plus sign that users can click on to expand – a concept that is already common place in other messaging and collaboration apps like Slack.
Video Calls: During Teams video calls, Teams will show every participant on screen in a box of the same size, rather than giving more space to those who have their camera on.
Copilot Ready: The new Microsoft Teams also includes the foundations needed to support the newly announced Copilot, Microsoft’s AI-powered assistant which is set to bring new intelligent features like meeting recap into Teams. Depending on what “update ring” you/your users are on will impact if and how you get access to the new preview version
How to get access to the “new preview”
Access to the new preview is controlled in part by the admin settings set by your organisations’ IT. If you are eligible to try to the new preview, you will see a new the “switch to preview” at the top left of the Teams Desktop app. The admin guide for enabling this is here:
Public Preview Ring: Any one enrolled (or opted into the public preview program, will have immediate access to the “Try the new Teams” toggle once your app updates to the latest version [ 1.6.00.6754]
Targeted Release Ring: Users will have access to try out the preview of new Teams from mid-April 2023.
Production Ring: For users on the production ring, IT will have the option to allow users to opt-in by using the Teams update management policy to select which users in the organisation can see the toggle and get access to new Teams. Microsoft expect the new Teams client to be generally available from around June 2023.
To get the preview, make sure your Teams client is updated to the latest version [1.6.00.6754 or later].
If you have access to try out the new preview, you will see the Try the new Teams toggle at the top left corner of the Teams app and then click “Get it now” – be sure to read the full list if changes and current known issues (it’s a preview remember).
What doesn’t work (yet)?
Remember this is an early public preview. As such Microsoft say that you may encounter some gaps as this preview release only includes the core features available in classic Teams. Things like the ability to search and add additional Microsoft and 3rd party apps, Line of Business (LOB) apps, advanced calling features such as call queues, and advanced meeting capabilities, including breakout rooms, will be coming in later preview release builds.
Microsoft are keen for feedback on the new experience and ask that feedback is provided via the app or here: Teams Feedback.
Microsoft have said they are working on extending the preview of the new Teams to a broader set of customers, including Education, Government Clouds, and platforms such as Mac, VDI, and Web later this year. In the mean time you can check out the Teams roadmap and Teams Blog to stay up to date with the most recent product developments
Microsoft is working on a new version of their Teams client that has been rebuilt from the ground up – according a report by Tom Waren over at The Verge. A preview of the new version should start rolling out in preview as soon as March and has been in internal testing with Microsoft for several months already.
Power to the users
Teams now has 280 million monthly active users, up from 270 million monthly active users in January 2022.
Microsoft are expected to initially allow businesses (who represent the core of its user base) to have the option over when to shift to the new version of the app to ensure there is time to fully test the app and update users on the changes to the UI, to ensure that the transition to the new Teams goes smoothly. This will likely be a combination of a global setting, preview users and user opt in.
Premium AI features will bring further enhancements
Microsoft is also working on enhances to the newly released Teams Premium and have all ready shared their plans to incorporate more AI features into Teams which includes features like, auto generated meeting notes, recommended tasks, and after meetin, personalised highlights.
Microsoft Teams Premium is a paid tier of Teams announced in October 2022 at the time of the Microsoft Ignite conference and is generally available from Feb 2023. (so now).
These additional capabilities (more info later) are focussed around:
Creating more personalised and intelligent meetings and webinars.
Improved and enhanced security protection for meetings
Advanced management and reporting capabilities for IT.
Advanced Virtual Appointments.
Deep AI analytical date provided through Open AI’s GPT 3.5
It costs around $10 pupm depending on your region, country and license agreement.
What are the differences?
Not to be confused with Teams Room Premium (now Teams Room Pro), Teams Premium is Teams add-on license that allows organisations that already have Teams with their Microsoft 365 subscriptions to further enhance their Teams experience with benefits such as more personalised and intelligent meetings, enhanced meeting protection, and advanced management deep AI and reporting capabilities.
Teams Premiums’ key features over the “standard” version included within Microsoft 365 can are summarised below. The data is taken from official Microsoft information, the source of which is here).
Teams Premium provides additional features for customizing meetings including enhanced templates, customisable themes, company backgrounds and custom together modes and analytics provided through GPT 3.5 open AI model
Host and attend Teams Meetings
Experience Teams’ standard look and feel
Use standard & custom meeting backgrounds at user level
Teams Premium provides an advanced webinar experience for organisers, presenters and attendees.
Require attendees to register
Assign a co-organiser
Limit the number of people who can register
Read live captions during meetings
Turn on Q&A for webinars with up to 1000 attendees
View attendance reports
Integrate with Dynamics 365
Set up a green room for webinar presenters
Manage attendees’ view
Send reminder emails to registrants
Create a webinar wait list
Manually approve registrants
Limit the day and time when people can register
Allow registered users to bypass the lobby
Use RTMP-In for Webinars (coming soon)
Meeting Protection / Security
Teams Premium provides additional ways to safeguard meetings with features such as sensitivity labels, meeting water marking and end to end encryption which includes video, chat and content.
Manage meeting lobbies
End-to-end encryption for one-to-one calls
Moderate meeting chats
Control who can present
Add watermarks to meetings
E2E encryption for meetings with up to 50 attendees
Control who can record
Prevent copy/paste in meeting chats
Assign Microsoft Purview Information Protection sensitivity labels for meetings [Requires Microsoft 365 E5]
Custom user policy packages
Turn on advanced meeting monitoring and alerting
View recordings of meetings
View meeting transcripts
View and use files added to meetings
View and use apps added to meetings
Navigate meeting recordings with autogenerated chapters (coming soon)
View time markers in meeting recordings when you joined or left a meeting (coming soon)
Search meeting transcripts with speaker suggestions (coming soon)
View and act on autogenerated tasks from meetings (coming soon)
View when you were @mentioned
With any Microsoft 365 license, users can use basic Virtual Appointments capabilities to schedule and join business-to-customer meetings. For example, users can schedule appointments in the Bookings calendar and external attendees can join through a browser without having to download Teams.
Teams Premium provides advanced Virtual Appointment capabilities, such as SMS notifications, custom waiting rooms, and analytics.
Access Virtual Appointments with the Bookings app for scheduling, appointment management, and email notifications
Integrate Virtual Appointments using APIs
Join appointments from a browser
Join appointments in Teams
Allow users to join a virtual lobby waiting room
Integrate with Microsoft Forms
Customize the lobby waiting room with themes and logos
Send SMS notifications
Chat back and forth with attendees in the lobby waiting room
Organizational and departmental analytics
View and manage scheduled appointments in the queue
View and manage on-demand appointments in the queue
Send post-appointment follow-ups (coming soon)
Who needs Teams Premium
Whilst not every organisation (or user within an organisation) may need Teams Premium.
Organisations can try Teams Premium by purchasing the zero-cost Teams Premium 30-day trial license available in the Microsoft 365 admin center.
Organisations with a Teams Premium trial license will have up to 25 licenses to assign to users. Those 25 users can experience and test Teams Premium features as they become available. Also, the admin can manage Teams Premium features for the 25 licensed users. The trail will last 30 days after which the premium features ill be disabled unless a paid license is purchased for the users that need / want them.
Most organization segments can purchase and use the Teams Premium trial license, excluding GCC High and DoD tenants.
Beware: “Some” Teams features will also move to Teams Premium
Microsoft have advised that with the general release of Teams Premium (in Feb 2023), some Teams features will in fact move from Teams licenses to Teams Premium licenses. To be fair these are mainly centered around advanced reporting, company branding and webinar premium features.
Features moving to Teams Premium are:
Live translated captions.
Timeline markers in Teams meeting recordings for when a user left or joined meetings.
Custom organisation settings: Together mode scenes.
Virtual Appointments: SMS notifications.
Virtual Appointments: Organizational analytics in the Teams admin center.
Virtual Appointments: Scheduled queue view.
Preparing for Teams Premium
To prepare your organisation for Teams Premium and to determine if, where and when it fits, the following are key IMO
Take advantage of the free (25 user) 1 month trail to ensure IT and your Client Success Teams can understand the user and admin features
Run a trial for key departments around the areas of most interest or value
Update or deliver end user training to ensure you get the value from the new features
Gather feedback from trial and live users to assess wider deployment
Keep your support team in the loop (so they can support your users with these new features)
Cisco’s Desk Camera 4K camera is small, powerful and full of AI features (if you use Cisco Webex) and is also now officially certified for Microsoft Teams.
Cisco is no stranger to making high quality audio and video devices for video conferencing on their Webex platform – but with their partnership with Microsoft around building devices “made” or “certified” for Microsoft Teams a bunch of premium devices now have another route to market.
I’m lucky to have both the new Cisco Desk Camera 4K and Cisco WS-720 series headset which has recently been certified for Teams and even has the Microsoft Teams “button” on the earcup. The Cisco Webex variant has a Webex button.
This is a review of the Cisco Desk Camera 4K.
Cisco Desk Camera 4K
The Cisco Desk Camera 4K, is a premium USB web camera for video conferencing, video streaming, and video recording. The camera provides up to 4K Ultra HD at 60 FFS video and features high-definition audio along with dual microphone for great audio pick-up on all your video meetings or streaming and is certified for Cisco Webex and also Microsoft Teams.
The HD camera comes with a range of features to make meetings from anywhere feel more professional and well-managed, including autofocus, low light management, and a custom field of view to suit your office demands. The system also works seamlessly with the Cisco Webex collaboration environment as well as now Microsoft Teams though there isn’t really anything it does in Teams that any high-quality webcam can’t do.
This is a high quality, premium device – features include:
4K Ultra HD camera quality (Windows Hello®️ Certified)
Two built-in microphones
Support for 30FFS and 60 FPS
13MP image sensor
Automatic focus adjustment
Adjustable field of view
Multiple pre-sets (controlled via Cisco Desk Camera App)
Built-in background noise reduction
Physical Privacy shutter
Digital zoom and correction controls
USB plug-and-play functionality
Clip mounting for easy setup
Cisco Webex Certified
Microsoft Teams Certified
Whilst certified for Webex and Microsoft Teams, the Desk Camera can of course be used with any video conferencing aps or streaming services and works nicely as on Xbox! The fast autofocus, face detection (where supported by the apps) and 10x digital zoom really help to enhance the video experience for your remote attendees.
Getting set up
To get started on Windows devices, set-up is as simple as plugging it via USB-C or USB-A with the supplied cables (Cisco provide both in the box for good measure).
The camera itself has an adjustable clip with a tripod screw thread offers mounting flexibility on a laptop, an external display, a tripod, or a desk stand in various open office spaces, huddle rooms, and home offices.
It is a shame there is no carry pouch for the camera though to stop it getting dirty or scratch when travelling.
To customise and configure the device beyond the factory standards, you need to install the Cisco Desk Camera app.
Install the Webex Desk Camera App
The Cisco Webex Desk Camera App provides a host of controls to change all aspects of the device as well as manage firmware updates, which mine was eager to update once connecting to the software. You don’t need to install it to use the camera, but it if you want to change the settings and manage the hardware then you need to!
Within the app it is possible to camera, image and microphone settings such as camera zoom levels (and pre-sets), field of view, auto focus settings and even framerate and resolution.
The Cisco Desk Camera app works with the camera and allows you to record videos, take snapshots, customise the camera settings, and upgrade the firmware.
Using Desk Camera 4K within Teams meetings
As expected, the quality and sharpness of both audio and video within Teams was good. to evaluate this of course I had to seek feedback from remote colleagues which was positive. By that, my video image was clear and sharp – even when sat across the other side of the room with the camera zoomed in. Even 3m away from the camera (which I wouldn’t do when working at home), video and audio pick up was good. It is nice to have such high-quality mics in a webcam – great if you have a more “budget” laptop without premium mics.
Despite the camera supporting 4K, most video meetings services (including Microsoft Teams) only support 1080p. To test the video quality, I move to the back of my office and zoomed the camera in (around 3m). The image quality was pretty good (seeing as this isn’t a room camera. Unfortunately, Microsoft Teams itself doesn’t currently have people tracking or auto-zoom so I had to manually zoom the camera using the Desk Camera app.
You can see the video quality at both close and zoomed in the images below from a Microsoft Teams call.
Using Desk Camera 4K within Webex
The Desk Camera 4K really comes to life in Cisco Webex. Webex provides full access to device controls and settings directly via the app (as well of course within the Camera app). Within Webex, you get access to various settings from within the app.
Cisco have ensured that managing an army of Cisco desk cameras is simple, with integrations with the Webex Control Hub which allows for easier remote management. Today, no such controls exist within the Microsoft Teams Admin console for managing Teams webcams – though I have not tried adding the camera to a Teams MTR to see what I can do here.
The Microsoft Teams client offers limited controls over camera features and settings other than the ability to change basic controls – for everything else, you need to use the Webex Desk Pro camera app.
Webex on the other hand, provides more controls for their intelligent hardware. It will be interesting to see if some of this makes its way into Microsoft Teams since a large part of the partnership between Cisco and Microsoft is also around sharing best practice across the leading eco systems. Cisco also allow you to access advanced camera controls directly from the Webex app meetings app – which is really useful.
Verdict: Why buy the Cisco Webex Desk Camera?
With the many different options available out there for professional webcams then the Cisco Desk Camera 4K is definitely one to consider. This is no is a state-of-the-art webcam solution created for business users (or serious vloggers) who want to ensure they have the best possible video quality in meetings or when streaming video. The Desk Camera 4K is really small and compact too so easy to mount on your home monitor or perch over your laptop lid if you need to. It also supports up to 60 frames per second.
As a USB powered device, this camera is ideal for hybrid work (if you have a cheaper laptop with poor webcam). Whilst certified for Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams, it can of course be used with video conferencing or streaming tool (as long as it’s supported by the OS).
The camera also supports Windows Hello®️ for business for passwordless and secure sign-on for Windows 10 and Windows 11.
When used with Cisco Webex, you also get access to smart AI enhancements such as facial recognition, tracking, auto adjustment, and more – so if you are a serious Webex user, this is definitely a webcam you want to test out.
The cost of real estate for business is the second largest recurring cost item (first is people) and can often be more than 20% of annual costs. Since even before the pandemic, though fueled hugely because of hybrid work practices, organisations are looking for ways to be smarter with this space and better understand, plan, and manage these expensive costs.
As we talk about ways to optimise cost within an organisation, we often think about cost optimisation with regards to cloud spend, consolidating vendors, smarter hiring and moving more power hungry, space consuming data centres to cloud.
Announced at this year’s Microsoft Ignite Conference, Microsoft Places could be the redeeming feature large organisations need to help optimise their office real estate both now and for years to come.
What is Microsoft Places?
Hybrid work promises us the best of all worlds. The ease and comfort of working from home, the connection and energy of engaging with our coworkers in the office, and the flexibility and opportunity of working where we want. But today, there are still challenges preventing this promise from becoming a reality.
Microsoft Places is a new (coming in 2023) connected workplace platform that promises to deliver on the promise of blending the best of hybrid and in-person work. Microsoft places is a new platform (yes, platform not product), that will deliver solutions that help organisations coordinate where work happens, modernise the office with intelligent technology, and optimise the workplace for the continuing ever-changing needs.
I said before, Microsoft Places is not a product – it’s a suite of products and services which will slowly embed themselves across the wider Microsoft 365 services like Team and Outlook which is where people spend their time. In short this is all about making the office space are more responsive to everyone’s needs.
Microsoft Places, aims to intelligently leverage signals, data and building systems to provide a truly connected workspace experience, bringing the best employee experience, through a single, unified platform which builds upon the building and technology infrastructure to create an environment which can adapt to serve the unique and changing needs of hybrid work and allows leaders and facilities management to better plan and manage their real estate.
The key services will include:
Hybrid scheduling – which will leverage common data signals from Outlook and Teams to allow employees to view their week(s) ahead and see when co-workers and others you need to work or collaborate with are planning to be in the office.
Intelligent booking for meetings – will help employees discover available spaces with the right technology to match your meeting purpose and mix of in-person or remote participants. This will also feature recommendations for the shortest commute times, along with prompts that provide guidance on when to leave the office for next meeting and ensuring you don’t get booked back-to-back when you have in person meetings to travel to.
Wayfinding – will help employees quickly find the right meeting room, which is key for larger organisations with many locations, buildings, and rooms. Employees will be able to see live interactive maps from their mobile device that guides them to the to the right location.
Hot desk booking – will mean that employees can see choose where to sit and reserve desks or rooms accordingly. Updates to Microsoft Teams Rooms will bring more inclusive features for hybrid meetings such as auto-framing, content capture and more.
Meet-ups – will allow employees to easily create impromptu meetups and share with others in the office.
Insights and Data for Leaders
Since all this will leverage the wider Microsoft 365 suite and power of the Microsoft Graph, Microsoft Places will provide a plethora of data driven insights such as utilisation data, energy-saving opportunities, and occupancy trends to better manage the physical space.
This data will help leaders and facilities management make any necessary dynamic space adjustments on a particular day or week such as changing excess huddle rooms to overbooked collaboration rooms or converting meeting rooms into more hot desking areas.
This data will provide not only trends and usage data but will also allow organisations to better prepare, plan and optimise the real estate they have available and how it’s used to maximum potential. This may include reducing available floors on lighter foot fall days – saving energy expenditures and improving the workplace experience for everyone as well as working with managers and team leaders to better understand office trends around people, and spaces and places across their entire portfolio, creating more flexible, dynamic, and sustainable places that support new ways of working.
Working with Connected Spaces Partners
Since the building fabric, sensors and existing management platforms are critical to the success of a modern intelligent building, Microsoft have partnered with many industry and technology partners. This ecosystem of partners will build on top of the Microsoft Places platform with new and existing solutions, leveraging, and enhancing the rich data of the Microsoft Graph.
The list of partners (which will grow closer to release) include.
Cisco (coming soon with DNA Spaces)
Swift Connect and
Microsoft say that Places will enter preview in early 2023 with general availability later next year. Microsoft will release more information on this over the next couple of months.
Like similar clickers on the market, the Microsoft Presenter + can be used to control your PowerPoint and PowerPoint Live presentations.
The similarity ends here, however, as Presenter + is the first clicker that’s also Microsoft Teams certified, meaning it can also help you control and navigate your Teams meetings as well as providing control over your presentations when using PowerPoint Live from within Teams.
Microsoft say that “Presenter + reflects how work has changed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic“.
Presenter + costs ~£69 so is not the cheapest “clicker” but is the first designed to work with Teams and brings meeting controls into your hand.
In the Box
… Is the Presenter + device and a charging Dock plus the usual manuals etc. The Presenter + can also be charged directly with a USB type C cable meaning you can leave the charger plugged into your laptop safe knowing that should you need to you can top up the charge with any USB cable.
The back of the device has a simple on/off switch a Bluetooth pairing button.
Set up is easy.
Un-box the device and turn it on (there’s a switch on the back)
If not already installed, install the free Microsoft Assessory centre app from the Store
Head over to your Windows Bluetooth settings and pair the device. It also accepts pairing to multiple devices which is useful if you use a different device at home to when out and about, and even remembers any custom settings you apply to it.
Open the Microsoft Accessory Centre and follow the on-screen prompts to set-up the device and customise any of the settings you wish to.
Controls and Use
Microsoft Presenter + is not just a PowerPoint clicker.
In addition to the usual slide forward and back buttons, there is an also a giant Microsoft Teams button that allows you to quickly join Teams meetings and do things such as raise or lower you hand when in a meeting without reaching for your keyboard or mouse, giving a much more natural presenter experience. Microsoft also say that you can use Presenter+ with most other meeting apps, including Zoom, though I haven’t tested this yet.
Also on the device is a giant mute button, which can mute and unmute your microphone when in a call/meeting, and the remote nicely vibrates when your turn mute off, so that you know your audience can hear you talking.
You are also able to customise the left and right buttons to your individual needs using the Microsoft Accessory Centre app.
Another cool feature which sets this apart from other clicker remotes is that you can use Presenter + to grab and focus the audience’s attention with the screen pointer by pressing the middle 🔆button.
The is well built, presenter remote that makes Teams Meetings and Presenting within them simple and easy. I’ve only had the joy of using this in a couple of meetings so far and the true test will be how it enables me to true be hands free.
One thing I wish it had, would be the ability to spotlight text/highlight text when presenting or zoom in / focus to a section of the presentation. It might be possible to do this via a keyboard shortcut programmed into the device, but I haven’t found a way of doing that yet.
Don’t underestimate this announcement. This news is huge in the world of collaboration. Cisco and Microsoft have always been competitors in this space.
For years, customers have been asking for a simpler way to achieve interoperability between Cisco and Microsoft Teams Rooms. At Microsoft’s global tech conference, Ignite last week, their asks may have been answered, giving customers the option to run Microsoft Teams by default on Cisco Room and Desk devices.
Cisco acquired Webex back in 2007 for around $3.2 billion and used their leadership in unified comms to build out a world leading collaboration and conferencing platform. Webex competes with other collab giants including Zoom and of course, Microsoft Teams. This is not simply a “if you can’t beat em join em” thing though – there are some huge benefits to Cisco’s existing customers as well as to Microsoft and Cisco and their partners.
Cisco has been an innovative leader in the collaboration devices category for over two decades and their collaboration products have always been in high demand due to their design, reliability, and security. Cisco Devices for Microsoft Teams will help any organisation considering implementing Microsoft Teams Rooms or those looking to move from Cisco Webex Meetings and Meeting Rooms to Microsoft Teams as their default collaboration and meeting platform, since they will now be able to leverage much of their existing Cisco Devices in the process.
In short, Microsoft Teams certified devices from Cisco promise to unlock greater flexibility and improved experiences for business, IT and employees.
Why this is good for Customers
We see these three key advantages of this newly released partnership for existing and new Cisco customers:
1. Cost Efficiency and Choice
By retaining and re using the investment in Cisco Video Conferencing technology which powers their Webex Meeting experiences today, organisations moving to Microsoft Teams can achieve significant cost savings, not to mention time and effort, from not having to purchase, implement, fit out and deploy new devices.
Organisations that have already got an investment in Cisco Room Devices that will support Microsoft Teams Rooms, will receive a firmware update as part of the update schedule. Once deployed, IT will be able to factory reset the device and choose between the full Cisco RoomOS experience or tailor the software for Microsoft Teams Rooms.
This provides greater choice both now and in the future as organisations will be able to choose the primary meeting platform that meets the needs of their business without having to rip-and-replace the hardware.
Initially, six of Cisco’s most popular meeting room devices and peripherals will be certified for Microsoft Teams, with more are expected to come later in 2023. The initial wave of devices to be supported are:
2. Simplified and familiar management
One of the biggest headaches when moving to a different eco system and vendor is around how IT provisions, configures and manages meeting room devices.
Managing Teams Room devices is critical to scale. With the Cisco MTR solution, organisations will get all the benefits of Teams Admin Centre (subject to whether they are leveraging Teams Rooms Basic or Teams Rooms Pro) along with access to Cisco Control Hub. Control Hub is Cisco’s unified cloud device management platform with an analytics dashboard to elevate your workspace with environmental analytics and API integrations leveraging the wider Cisco ecosystem including DNA Spaces, your building management. systems and ITSM platform.
This provides consistency for organisations already invested in Cisco Devices who are familiar with Control Hub and a powerful, intuitive management interface for customers who are new to Cisco MTRs.
3. Streamlined, yet, familiar user experience
Since Cisco is baking interoperability into their room systems, it means that not only will users will benefit from a native Microsoft Teams Room experience on their Cisco Room Devices, including full access to the full range of collaborative tools such as PowerPoint Live, Teams Apps and Polls etc, but they will also be able to still natively join Webex meetings on Cisco devices that are enrolled into Control Hub.
With Cisco RoomOS powering Microsoft Teams Rooms, users will get access to all the intelligence features they have ben familiar with in Webex such as the Frames Camera Mode, which uses individual framing for participants to ensure everyone is seen equally in any meeting. They will also be able to take advantage of Cisco’s audio intelligence [aka noise cancelling] which blocks out unwanted audio distractions. The camera and audio intelligence features will be available through device settings via Room Navigator in case of non-touch devices and the right-side swipe menu on touch screen devices in and out of call.
Being able to continue to leverage these great features, will reduce platform learning curves as well as ensure organisations are leveraging the value and uniqueness of the Cisco Devices.
Why this is good news for Partners
For Partners, like Cisilion who specialise in both Cisco and Microsoft collaboration solutions and services, we have also been longing for this to happen for years.
We see many organisations unable to justify the expense of meeting room technology refresh and re-investment who “simply want to move their meeting and collaboration platform of chois to Microsoft Teams”.
This new partnership means that partners are now able to better serve the needs of their customers collaboration strategy, budget, deployment schedule and hardware preference. There is no doubt that Cisco has some of the best video conferencing devices and technology in the market today, coupled with their phenomenal global support and maintenance that Cisco partners have leveraged to provide the stability and uptime guarantees that their global customers expect and demand.
Why this is great news for Microsoft
Partnership is two way of course.
Cisco is a world leader in video conferencing and meeting room technology. The majority of their Webex room kit includes a wealth of clever AI powered tech such as speaker tracking, noise cancelling, occupancy sensors, environmental monitoring and integrated digitial signage technology as well being the only vendor that creates truly immersive panoramic meeting experiences such as the Cisco Panorama.
In the past, Cisco, Microsoft and Zoom have all collaborated jointly on developing a native video interop technology which uses Web RTC technology, called Direct Guest Join. This, while useful, is really around bringing better inter company collaboration than actually allowing organisations to run Teams as their preferred meeting technology and is limited in functionality.
Customers seem to be wanted to work with their choice of a communications platform of their choice. With the small (and arguably shrinking market share), Cisco are loosing out on revenue and market share in the hardware space by only supporting their native platform. Partnering with Microsoft seems therefore a sensible move and allows them to retain their quality brand and footprint I the enterprise that has been “forced” to invest in other AV vendors in order to deliver against their collaboration strategy with a Microsoft Teams.
Cisco and Microsoft’s new partnership will enable Microsoft to work. Collaboratively with Cisco (rather than compete) and bring a new class of innovation into Teams Rooms by borrowing some of Cisco’s smarts.
We understand that Cisco are already be working with Microsoft to integrate their DNA spaces services into the newly announced Microsoft Places bringing intelligence and analytics on how meeting spaces are used. This forms a major part of Cisco’s Smart Buildings initiative.
Wait – I have loads of Questions…
That’s ok – the news is still hot of the press. Cisco are running a number of partner and customer webinars and sessions over the next month or so.
We have collated the most common and obvious questions and attempted to answer them here:
1. What does this for the future of Webex?
Webex is a great product and trusted by many FTSE 100 organisations, but the market has shifted and is still shifting rapidly which Cisco clearly recognises.
Whilst we don’t have firm figures for market share from Cisco directly, a 2021 report estimated that Zoom had a 46 percent share (though was very consumer skewed), Microsoft a 54 percent share and Webex market share of meetings was around 7 percent.
That said, Cisco does has a strong install base of Cisco Webex, which they will continue to support and develop. Their devices will now be designed to support both Cisco and Mcirosoft Teams meeting platforms. They are committed to continuing to deliver the best user experience with Webex and will continue to invest in developments that optimise the Webex experience when running on Cisco devices.
Cisco have also said that they will provide Webex Meetings free as a ‘backup to Teams’ for customers using their devices as Mcirosoft MTRs.
2. What Cisco devices will not be supported?
Cisco Room Kit and Room Kit Plus will not be supported on Microsoft Teams since these run on hardware platforms that are currently unable to support Microsoft Teams Rooms. Cisco Desk and Cisco Desk Mini are also currently unable to run as Mcirosoft Teams devices due to hardware platforms that are unable to support native Microsoft Teams Display mode.
As such organisations can of choose from the range of non-Cisco Teams Room Certified devices from other vendors such as Yealink, Poly, Logitech or Neat.
Cisco recommend that their customers with medium sized room look to upgrade / invest in the Cisco Board Pro, which in addition to being an interactive collaboration device works, can also serve as an all-in-one meeting room system when paired with a Cisco Room Navigator.
3. How will this effect Zoom, and Microsoft Video Interop?
This will not change the either the in which third party (incuding Cisco, Pexip or Poly) Cloud Video Interop (CVI) work or the way in which the Web RTC based Direct Guest Join services work between the three VC platforms.
Cisco have said that they will continue to work with Zoom, Google, and Microsoft to enhance these meeting experiences. Both Microsoft and Cisco are also committed to continue to enhance our respective WebRTC based guest join experiences. This announcement means that in addition to the above, their devices can now be configured as Microsoft Teams Rooms devices – meaning they can deliver a native Teams user experience.
4. How do we license the Cisco Devices for Teams Rooms
Microsoft Teams Rooms licenses must be purchased directly from your Microsoft CSP Partner or from Microsoft as part of your Enterprise Agreement . For more information, see the core Teams Room Basic and Teams Room Pro pricing information.
5. Do we still need a Cisco Webex license for the device?
No – but Cisco strongly recommend that organisations buy the Webex Suite to ensure they can leverage the full value of running MTR on a Cisco Device. This is because customers who do not purchase a Webex Suite, will only be able to access Webex meetings via direct guest join, and will not be able to take advantage of the advanced management and workspace analytic capabilities of Control Hub.
6. How will Cisco differentiate their MTRS against the other MTRs?
Cisco’s approach here is that their existing (and new) customers will get to experience the best of breed audio and video intelligence features that have previously only been available to customers using RoomOS and Webex Meetings.
Cisco customers that have bought any part of the Webex Suite will get access to Cisco Control Hub device management and fully featured Webex meetings within Microsoft Teams Rooms.
Want to know more?
With the digital ink still drying on the announcement, Cisilion are here to help our customers think (or re-think) and plan about how this may impact their meetings space, remote work and collaboration roadmaps.
Speak with Cisilion today to find out more about your interoperability journey from Cisco Webex to Microsoft Teams or how to achieve seemless interoperability between the two platforms.
Cisco are also hosting a customer webinar on November 8th – which can be registered for at https://cs.co/MTR
Collaborative Annotations is another enhancement coming to Teams. Powered by Microsoft Whiteboard, collaborative annotations is designed to further simply the ability to collaborate with others while screen sharing in a Microsoft Teams meetings.
Thus feature brings a new dimension to screen sharing as it allows participants to collaborate on anything by essentially leveraging a whiteboard overlay to anything being shared. This is useful if you want to ask for feedback or input on a design, diagram or any other document in a one2one or when working with a group.
Using the new feature is simple and intuitive. From within a Teams meeting, there’s a new button located in the meeting controls at the top-center of their screen.
Using Collaborative Annotations
While you’re sharing your full screen in a meeting, select Start annotation Microsoft Teams annotation icon in the meeting controls at the upper-middle area of your screen.
The red outline around the shared screen will turn blue and all participants will see the Microsoft Whiteboard toolset at the top of the shared screen. Everyone in the meeting can begin annotating right away, and the red pen tool is selected by default.
To begin annotating, you can simply choose one of the tools in the Whiteboard toolset such as Sticky note and start typing or drawing on the screen.
To use this feature, you must have a presenter role in the meeting.
By default, everyone can annotate. Collaborative cursors also show the names of every participant in the meeting by default. These settings can be toggled on or off by anyone in the meeting by selection settings and toggling the options as shown below.
There are a few limitations though expect these to be fewer as the new feature develops. Most notably these are:
Collaborative Annotation is only available for full-screen sharing, not individual window sharing.
Exporting annotations is not currently supported. Microsoft recommend that you can take screenshots during the meeting
Meeting rooms using Android-based devices are not currently supported.
This new feature is currently in public preview and is expected to gradually roll out towards the end of this week.
In what could be good news for Business and VC/Collab partners alike, organisations will soon be able to choose between running Cisco Webex or Microsoft Teams natively on their Cisco Meeting devices and cameras starting in 2023.
Both Cisco Cisco Room and Cisco Desk Devices, will be certified for Microsoft Teams, a move annouced a few years ago and then back tracked by Cisco but now clearly front and centre.
What might Cisco bring to the Teams Eco System
Cisco becoming a partner in the Certified for Microsoft Teams program for the first time is a big move for Cisco. The Teams Room eco system is already quite crowded with vendors including Yealink, Poly, Logitech, Neat to name a few.
The quality of Cisco kit often dwafs that of the other vendors out there, ever since their aquisition of Tanburg back in 2010.
Under the terms of the partnership, Microsoft Teams will run natively on Cisco Room and Desk devices starting from the first half of 2023, giving users the option of staying within the Teams experience while taking advantage of Cisco’s video and camera technology, complete with noise removal and built-in intelligence.
What devices will be supported?
In the blog, Microsoft and Cisco say that “Initially, six of Cisco’s most popular meeting devices and three peripherals will be certified for Teams, with more to come.
The first wave of devices, expected to be certified by early 2023, will include the Cisco Room Bar, the Cisco Board Pro 55-inch and 75-inch, and the Cisco Room Kit Pro for small, medium and large meeting room spaces, respectively. Cisco Desk Pro and Cisco Room Navigator will follow.
This is great for customers who want to shift eco systems without having to replace their vast array of meeting room technology where this meets the requirements of course to become Teams Native.
Is the end of Webex?
According to Cisco,Absolutely not..
This is all about choice and recognition of the growth and impact of Teams. Cisco customers will have the option to make Microsoft Teams Rooms the default experiences, and the devices will continue to support joining Webex meetings with all the features and functionality customers enjoy today via interop capabilites.
This move also helps customers and partners better meet their sustainability goals and budgets meaning that they can retain the value, quality and brand of Cisco they like in a Teams Native experience without compromise.
What do you think of this news? Share you comments in below.
Microsoft has just launched Microsoft Teams Pro which is, in their words, “designed to provide an integrated experience and bridge the gap between physical and digital workspaces“. In short, the Teams Room Pro license combines the previous Microsoft Teams Standard and Microsoft Teams Rooms Premium licenses. There is also a new free license, Teams Room Basic – which provides limited Teams Room functionality.
As of Sept 1st, 2022, organisations can no longer purchase new Teams Room Standard or Teams Room Premium licenses – they need to buy Pro or use the “free” basic license.
Teams Room Pro vs Basic – What is the difference?
Teams Room Basic
Teams Room Basic license is really designed for small businesses (there’s a limit of twenty-five meeting rooms) and is £0 / FREE. It supports single screen and provides foundational Teams meeting experiences like scheduling and joining meetings as well as wireless content sharing but lacks many of the things that were included in Teams Room Standard. Teams Rooms Basic is included with the purchase of any certified Teams Rooms device at no additional cost, purchased on or after September 1, 2022. Customers can apply up to 25 Basic licenses to their tenant.
For small customers or those that just need basic book and join meetings, this provides a potential cost saving of ~£180 a year per room.
Teams Room Pro
For most organisations (and any that have over twenty-five rooms), Teams Pro is what organisations will want and need. With Microsoft Teams Rooms Pro, users will get to access all the existing Teams Rooms features they have been used to with Teams Room Standard, but they also get new innovations, and the Teams Rooms Managed Service platform. This costs $40 per room per month – about £30 and organisations can use this license (or purchase) with their Teams Room partner to provide a comprehensive Managed Meeting Room experience with the additional value-added service being provided by expert Teams Rooms Partners which includes Cisilion and several others.
Microsoft Teams Rooms Pro provides all the enhanced in-room meeting experiences such as intelligent audio and video, content capture, front row and large galleries, and multi-screen support as well as support for Teams Phone. The Teams Rooms Pro licenses also provides advanced management features like remote device management, auto-updates and patching, conditional access policies, and detailed device analytics, problem diagnosis and vendor hardware updates which is not included on Teams Room Basic. Teams Room Pro also allows IT to connect the Teams Room environment into their IT Service Management (ITSM) platforms like Service Now and Science Logic for example.
Microsoft would like to point customers to their partner pages for any organisation who is seeking additional help managing and supporting their meeting rooms, via partners like Cisilion who have strong technical expertise and deep customer success focus.
License and Feature Comparisons
Teams Room Basic
Teams Room Pro
Max no. Licenses
Microsoft Teams Licence
Azure AD Premium P1
Web Direct or NCE via Partner
Web Direct, NCE (via Partner), EA, EAS, CSP,
Feature Comparison – Meeting Join
Teams Room Basic
Teams Room Pro
Join meetings with 1-touch, proximity, meeting ID
Start ad-hoc meetings from Teams Room
Direct Guest Join (Zoom & Webex)
Room check-in via Teams Panel
Join meetings across Teams Cloud
Feature Comparison – Engagement and Collaboration
Teams Room Basic
Teams Room Pro
Share and view all Teams content types
Large Gallery Support (up to 50 videos)
Split Gallery (Dual Screen)
Feature Comparison – Calling
Teams Room Basic
Teams Room Pro
Make and receive peer to peer and group calls
Microsoft 365 Phone System (PSTN Calling)
Feature Comparison – Intelligent audio and video
Teams Room Basic
Teams Room Pro
Support for intelligent speakers with live transcription and speaker identification
Panoramic Room View
AI noise suppression
People counting / occupancy
Feature Comparison – Device Management
Teams Room Basic
Teams Room Pro
Teams Admin Centre enrollment & inventory
Automatic software updates
Detailed system and configuration info
Peripheral health management
Device history and activity
Custom health alerts
Device and usage analytics
Feature Comparison – Security & Compliance
Teams Room Basic
Teams Room Pro
Secure Operating System
System Level Security
Azure AD conditional access policies
I’ve already got licenses – what does this mean to me?
For most organisations, they will need to make the shift to Teams Room Pro at the end of their license term or reduce the license to Teams Room Basic if they feel they do not need any of the advanced features.
For customers who don’t have an enterprise agreement (usually a 3-year term), and that buy Web Direct (on a credit card) or via a CSP partner, you will no longer be able to buy new Microsoft Teams Rooms Standard or Premium licences; for all new rooms, you will have to use either Teams Room Basic or Pro licences. Once your existing licence term expires for your existing licences, you must make the shift to Teams Pro (or down grade to basic).
Whilst the cost increase will frustrate many users that buy Teams Room Standard today, the price for Teams Room Pro is still very much in line with how much, and the way in which the other providers like Zoom and Cisco also charge for their Room licenses. Microsoft have added a plethora of new features to Teams and Teams Room over the past few years and these price increases are there to support these and future enhancements.
Mix and match – it is also possible, if you wany/need to mix Pro and Basic licenses but bear in mind that the functionality will be different for the different rooms which users will find confusing especially if they use any of the advanced meeting features listed above. might be confusing. More importantly, the management and admin experience will also be different for the Rooms. Remember this is a tenant level limit of 25 Basic Rooms/devices.
For users / owners of Surface Headphones 2+ (for Business), Microsoft are rolling out a new firmware update which enables the devices to be Microsoft Teams® certified using native Bluetooth® without a dongle.
This means users of Surface Headphones 2+ will be able to depend on reliable connections during calls and interact with intuitive touch control with the convenience of not having to worry about the dongle – something which will improve productivity and ease of use for employees that (like me) often navigate different workspaces and devices for hybrid work and everyday life.
This is made possible by Microsoft leveraging the improvement in Bluetooth connectivity directly via the Surface companion app for Windows and Mac desktop clients.
Specific other vendor devices will, in the future, also get firmware updates to support native Bluetooth stack certification support.
For more information about Surface Headphones, you can check out the Microsoft product pages here.