Loop to be front and centre in your Teams Meetings

Image of Loop Components in various places.

Microsoft Teams will soon prompt meeting organisers of recurring meetings to create a Microsoft Loop workspace for sharing and collaborating on meeting content and actions.

What is Microsoft Loop?

Microsoft Loop is a transformative co-creation experience that brings together teams, content and tasks across your tools and devices. Loop combines a powerful and flexible canvas with portable components that move freely and stay coordinated across applications — enabling teams to think, plan, and create together.

It is made up of workspaces, pages, and components and it totally transforms the way you work so you can think, plan, and create together. On the Loop homepage, you can access all your existing workspaces and create new ones. In a Loop workspace, you can bring everything you need for your project together in one place. To kick off a workspace, Loop can even do the searching for you, making it easy to add existing project-related information and organize it into pages. You can continue adding to your workspace as your project evolves and organize it the way you want. Loop pages are flexible canvases where you can react, comment, and build on each other’s ideas using different flexible and re-usable components.

Why use Loop for Meetings?

Most recurring meetings lose the focus of what their purpose is. Questions such as “What is the meeting about”, “Has anyone got the agenda”, “Was there a meeting last week”, “did anyone take any notes”.

As such, recurring meetings is the perfect place for Loop, since it helps everyone, plan, organise and review your Teams meetings. For recurring meetings, Loop is all about ensuring we keep and share all our meeting content into a central, durable workspace to enable ongoing collaboration over time (rather than a static agenda that becomes out of date and it hard to update) with separate files being shared via email or chat.

This starts with a Collaborative and dynamnic agenda, (which means it can be amended overtime) and as a recurring meeting series continues, additional content shared in a collaborative note space which keeps the meeting up-to-date for everyone whether they can attend or not. We can also track and keep up-to-date tasks and actions which also (wait for it) sync with our ToDo or Planner Tasks, list making it easy to keep in sync.

Since these are sharable components, its also easy to copy a link to the collaborative notes and share them in other apps too like email, but unlike static text, the loop component is still live and can be updated from anywhere – like magic.

Whilst Collaborative Notes in Teams have been there a while, many still “just” use the agenda field since Loop is tucked away further down the meeting pane.

What is great about the way Microsoft are integrating Loop further into Teams is that after the first meeting in the series ends, organisers will be shown a prompt allowing them to have Teams create a Loop workspace after first allowing them to review and confirm workspace members as well as the shared content.

How it works

After the first meeting in the series ends, organisers will be shown a prompt allowing them to have Teams create a Loop workspace after first allowing them to review and confirm workspace members as well as the shared content.After confirmation, a Loop workspace will be created, invites will be sent to the meeting members, and the shared content will be linked in a Loop workspace.

As the group shares more content in a meeting series, as the teams “chat” over weeks or months, all this new content will be added automatically to the meeting workspace. Workspace members can also add other content to the workspace and can reconfigure the order of content in the left navigation pane of the Loop app.

Note: At launch, Microsoft have said that this feature will be enabled for meeting series with 3-50 invitees, but will increase this later.

This new auto-loop experience will be rolling during June and July 2024.

Rolling out in Outlook: “Follow a meeting” and keep up to date.

Update: Follow is a new meeting response (RSVP) option that is now rolling out in Teams and Outlook (new and on the web) that goes beyond the traditional Accept, Tentative and Decline choices. This is designed to help people who typically have a high number of meeting requests and those that typically have conflicting meetings each day with lots of “un-decided” or “maybe” meetings.

New: “Follow” a meeting (Outlook)

I personally think this is a really powerful feature and it’s one of the features I have been most excited about since I first saw the Copilot teaser videos last March. When we respond as “maybe”, organisers are left confused as to who is joining their meetings or not making it hard to plan. For everyone else also trying to get your time, it’s hard to see what you meeting you are attending when you have lots of non-RSVP’d or “maybe” meetings.

With this feature, invitees will be able to inform meeting organisers that they are unable to attend the meeting but notifies them that they want to “stay informed” by following. This is major update to the yes (accept), maybe (tentative), and no (decline) responses we have traditional responses like Accept, Tentative, and Decline.

Note: Follow a Meeting will initially be available only for Outlook on the Web, the "new" Outlook and within Teams. It will roll out to other platforms including mobile "later".

How “following a meeting” works

One this feature is available; you’ll see a new meeting response option in meeting invites (and for existing meeting series). There are three stages to this.

  • You choose to follow a meeting you can’t / won’t attend. You see a new meeting RSVP option called Follow and choose this rather than “maybe / tentative”.
  • Informing Organisers – when you receive a meeting invite you are not able to attend but need to keep up to speed on, you will be able to respond with the new “Follow” option. They are also prompted to “record the meeting” in Teams when there are people following a meeting.
Image (c) Microsoft
  • Free up your Time: When you “Follow” a meeting, Outlook updates the entry in your calendar, marking it as free – allowing you (and others) to see the correct entry in your diary without seeing handfuls of meeting clashes or tentative responses. This means you can better prioritise your time, while still retaining access to the meeting(s) you follow.
  • Stay Informed: When you choose to “Follow” a meeting, the meeting organiser receives a notification asking them to record the Teams meeting. When the meeting is over, you (and anyone else following the meeting) automatically receive the “post-meeting recap”.
NOTE: Initially, "Follow" responses are only available in new Outlook for Windows and Outlook on the web. If the meeting organiser is using either of these versions of Outlook, they will see your Follow response. Anyone using the classic Outlook client in Windows, Outlook for Mac, or Outlook on Mobile, will see the "Follow" response as Tentative.

If you have a Copilot license, you will also be able to use Copilot to recap the meeting you missed, asked questions and more.

The process above is illustrated in diagram below (courtesy of Microsoft).

Follow a Meeting – Illustrated!

Image (c) Microsoft

When will the Follow a Meeting feature be released?

Microsoft has started to roll this out today (May 7th 2024) and expect to complete by late May/June 2024 with General Availability to everyone by late June / July.

Be warned though… as this rolls out, the meeting use of this feature is not consistent or present in all your tools. For example, its currently (8th May 2024), only available on Outlook on the Web and the new Outlook Desktop Client. Not on mobile client, “old Outlook” or Teams.

You can read more by referring to the official Microsoft 365 Roadmap here.

Microsoft have support page about the new feature here.

Microsoft Teams to be “split” from new Office 365 subscriptions.

Microsoft is separating Teams from Office 365 globally after agreeing to split this in EMEA to after EU competition regulators started to investigate Microsoft’s market share growth (since teams was bundled with Office 365), following a complaint from one of their rivals – Slack in 2020.

Microsoft said that the unified move to make the change global will “ensure clarity for customers“.

This will impact all new customers and give existing customers the option to split Teams or keep it in their subscription should they wish!

When does this change take effect?

This change came into affect (1st April) and affects how new customers buy Microsoft 365/Office 365 and Teams moving forwards for net new customers. In short, this means that net new M365 or O365 subscriptions will no longer include Teams and this application will need to be added on separately. The new skus are being created as we speak and will be available shortly.

Note: I have been told that while this was announced from 1st April, the hard stop will be actually be 30th June which is end of Microsoft FY24 Fiscal.

Why are Microsoft making this change?

Microsoft have issued a full brief on this which you can access here, but in short, they have said the following:

"Last year Microsoft updated the way Microsoft 365, Office 365, and Teams were licensed in the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland in response to concerns raised with the European Commission. Now we're announcing our plan to extend that approach worldwide as globally consistent licensing reduces customer confusion and streamlines decision making.

...Microsoft is introducing a new lineup of commercial Microsoft 365 and Office 365 suites that don't include Teams in regions outside the EEA and Switzerland, and a new standalone Teams offering for Enterprise customers in those regions.

We're also ending the sale of net-new subscriptions to existing Microsoft 365 E3/E5 and Office 365 E1/E3/E5 Enterprise SKUs with Teams across all channels: volume licensing (VL), Cloud Solution Provider (CSP), and Web Direct. All new Microsoft 365 and Office 365 Enterprise customers in regions outside the EEA and Switzerland will need to choose from new offers for that region. Existing customers in these regions who wish to continue using suites to which they have already subscribed can do so (including renewal, upsell, and license adds.

What about existing customers?

Microsoft have said they are stopping the new sale of subscriptions to existing Microsoft 365 E3/E5 and Office 365 E1/E3/E5 Enterprise SKUs with Teams across all channels: volume licensing (VL), Cloud Solution Provider (CSP), and Web Direct.

This means that all new Microsoft 365 and Office 365 Enterprise customers in regions outside the EEA and Switzerland will need to choose from new offers for that region.

Existing customers in these regions who wish to continue using suites to which they have already subscribed can do so (including renewal, upsell, and license adds).

How will prices be affected?

Microsoft will be publishing updated SKUs and pricing in the coming few days which you’ll be able to get from you Microsoft licensing partner.

There will also be a net price increase in pricing as a result for new customers (I see this as a stealth tax) due to the separation, but for existing customers (renewing) there is no price change.

Pricing example..

  • Microsoft 365 E3 (with Teams): £33.10 RRP
  • Microsoft 365 E3 + Teams Enterprise: £31.10 + 4.30 = £35.30

So here you can see an increase of £2.20pupm, which is circa £26k (RRP) for a 1,000 seat organisation.

Cisco and Microsoft: Simplifying Enterprise Collaboration.

In early 2023, Cisco and Microsoft joined forces to deliver a better user collaboration and meeting experience for their customers.

This partnership enables Cisco’s Webex video devices to connect to Microsoft Teams meeting services. This collaboration aims to provide customers with simplified and accelerated interoperability options when using Cisco Webex Teams and Webex Meetings solutions.

This was a major announcement at the time, as traditionally Cisco had gone head-to-head with Microsoft competing against Teams with their Webex offering. Times have changed and the vision they had is now a reality and I’m really excited to be able to show this off in our new Client Experience Centre in London.

Collaboration spaces that are agile and innovative.

Post COVID-19 office workplaces are different to what we had before, and organisations are investing heavily in creating workspaces and meeting spaces that are designed for the hybrid way we all work. Every organisation I work with is following new guidelines, rethinking, and creating spaces that are more innovative and agile than ever before.

People are at the forefront of shaping the way work is performed, and they need the right spaces and collaboration technologies to get work done even faster. These tools must work seamlessly together to be impactful in enabling teamwork that leads to better results, higher productivity, and engaged employees. Above all every space and the technology within them needs to work not just with in person meetings but accepting the fact that at least one meeting attendee will be remote ant that not every organisation uses the same collaboration platform, (Microsoft Teams, Cisco Webex, Zoom etc.), and some use more than one).

Cisco and Microsoft raise the bar in cross collaboration.

For the past year (almost), we have seen almost all of Cisco’s meeting devices become certified on Teams, but it doesn’t stop here.

Cisco and Microsoft have been working on refining the way cross join works between their Webex platform and Microsoft Teams to create a seamless meeting experience regardless of what platform you join from. This is not only good from working with other organisations that don’t use the same meeting platform as you, but also internally where some departments or regions may use different meeting platforms. Cisco and Microsoft’s approach enables an enhanced direct guest join capability from each other’s meeting/video endpoint their respective meeting service. In the case of Cisco, their need meeting endpoints which are certified on Teams have the ability to natively run both Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams at the same time and switch in real time to the relevant platform without any user intervention.

There are several benefits to this partnership approach and are designed to meet the customer wherever they are on their investment, migration or interoperability need:

1. Simplified Collaboration with Cross Join: The partnership between Cisco and Microsoft simplifies the collaboration experience for users. It enables users to connect and collaborate with teammates, partners, and customers seamlessly using WebRTC (or Cloud Video Interop (CVI). Cisco offer both native meetings on Teams and Webex whilst still providing the ability to access all Microsoft Teams Rooms (MTR) features along with a full experience for Webex meetings with one touch join. Today, only Cisco devices can do this.

2. Interoperability beyond just meeting join: Users can see the presence status (available, busy, away, or offline) of their contacts within both platforms and can share content (there are some limitations) and also chat between both platforms.

3. Leading Sustainability: Organisations with an existing investment in Cisco Webex technology that want to retain their investment in Cisco Webex whilst also wishing to invest/support Microsoft Teams either within their environment or to improve collaboration with their customers. Cisco hardware has environmental sensors which can monitor air quality, room temperature, ambient noise and light and use up to 70% less power than previous generations of room kit. The Cisco Control Hub software also provides a great job of providing end to end analysis and trends of the data from these sensors not only across their meeting room technologies but also across their network infrastructure.

4. Enhanced User Experience: This capability leverages multiple methods of interoperability along with true cross join between Cisco Webex and Microsoft Teams delivers a seamless and enhanced user experience – reducing IT support effort, reducing meeting join friction and resulting in effortless collaboration and more engaged employees. This will presence status sharing and native in platform content sharing is also a game changer.

5. Sensors and Analytics: Cisco Webex devices, along with other network products from Cisco, have various features that improve the user experience. For example, Cisco Room kit has integrated sensors that can sense how many people are in a room and adjust the lighting and temperature accordingly. Room analytics can also provide insights into how meeting spaces are used, such as the number of attendees, the length of the meeting, and the level of engagement. Cisco Thousand Eyes is a service that monitors the performance of the network, internet and SaaS services such as Webex and Microsoft Teams. It gives a comprehensive view of the network path, enabling IT teams to proactively detect and fix issues that affect collaboration. In August 2023, Thousand Eyes Endpoint Agents for Cisco Room OS devices was launched.

6. Competitive hardware pricing: Whilst Cisco is a premium brand, organisations can get extremely aggressive and competitive pricing for Cisco Collaboration devices, especially if they are already invested in other technologies. Working with your Cisco partner there is very competitive pricing, and, in our experience, Cisco pricing is comparable to all other main manufacturers in the market.

Come and see live demos.

On the 25th of January, we (Cisilion), are hosting an in-person event in our new London Client Experience Centre where will be showcasing the Cisco & Microsoft Better Together story and will have expert speakers and tech leads from Cisilion, Cisco and Microsoft.

You can register here to secure your spot.

Read more:

Teams meetings, webinars and Townhalls. What to use when.

We are in the digital age of virtual and hybrid collaboration, where the lines between physical and virtual meetings are increasingly blurred. Meeting platforms like Microsoft Teams have evolved a lot during the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond and now different meeting style experiences based on the type of meeting, update, and interaction needed.

Microsoft provide different variants of their meetings which are designed to suite the different needs and format of the event.

For simplicity Microsoft bring this all together into the “New Meeting” category. Each category has subtle differences, including features. capacity changes and controls.

In this article, I explore the nuances of meetings, webinars, and town halls—three distinct formats that cater to different virtual event needs. From interactive team discussions to large-scale presentations, each format offers unique features and considerations. We dip into the key differences, planning strategies, and how to leverage Microsoft Teams to create engaging and effective virtual experiences for your organisation.


Meetings in Teams are what most of us will be used to for daily stand ups, client calls, remote or hybrid meetings. Teams Meetings can be scheduled in Outlook or Teams and can accommodate up to 1,000 people and include audio, video, application and screen sharing and even coauthoring. With Teams Meetings, articipants can join directly from the calendar invitation (Teams or Outlook) or via the Join meeting link or call in via audio if available.

Channel meetings are also available, which allow everyone in a particular Team or Channel within a Team to see and join the meeting.

Meetings are best suited for situations where participants need to interact with each other via voice or chat and where multiple people may be presenting.


Teams Webinars are structured meetings that support robust registration management, are highly customisable and provide an event-oriented default meeting options (rather than a meeting style).

Webinars are two-way interactive virtual events where presenters deliver information to attendees. They provide extra control for an organizer over the conversation and participants.

Webinars are best suited for situations where presenters and participants have clear roles.

Key features of Teams webinars include:

  • Supports up to 2,000 attendees and allows organisers to gather registration data from attendees before the event. This can also include webinar wait lists, registration restrictions and auto follow up.
  • Manage the following features attendees use for interaction during webinars:
    • Chat: You can set chat to be on for everyone, off for everyone, or on for everyone but anonymous users.
    • Q&A: You can manage which organisers can turn on Q&A for meetings and webinars.
    • Manage attendees’ view with different layouts
    • Brand the webinar experience.
  • Use RTMP-in to stream third party content directly into the webinar.
  • Create a green room for webinar presenters to handout before going live.

Town Halls

Town Hall meetings in Teams are best suited for situations where a limited number of presenters are presenting to a large group of attendees and direct interaction via chat or voice conversation isn’t needed or required. Attendees do not use their cameras and mics, but instead can access a chat based Q&A to engage with presenters and organisers.

With Town Halls, customers can host various types of internal as well as external events including company-wide town halls, all hands, global team meetings, internal broadcasts, fireside chats, and more.

Town Halls enable organisations to extend their reach to scale their message and connect with audiences around the world; create professionally produced, studio-quality events that deliver a more dynamic experience; and structure and manage audience engagement to maximise participation and maintain focus on the event.

Key features of Teams Townhalls include:

  • Supports up to 20,000 attendees
  • Provides real time reporting and analysis of the meeting with rich insights.
  • Enhanced controls and customisations for a professionally produced, studio-quality events that deliver a more dynamic experience.
  • Supports Microsoft eCDN and third-party streaming services.
  • Allows creating green rooms for presenters to handout and chat before going live.
  • Supports video on demand tools for recap, watch later, rewind etc.
  • Full event or corporate branding.


Teams offers different customisations of meeting style based on the purpose / intent of the enagement.

For example, if you want to have a meeting where everyone can interact with each other, then a Teams meeting would be a good option.

If you want to have a structured meeting with clear roles for presenters and participants, and like the option of a registration page, pre meeting comms and engagement reports, then a webinar is be a better option.

If you want to have a meeting where a limited number of presenters are presenting to a large group of attendees and direct interaction via chat or voice conversation isn’t needed, then a town hall would be the best option. This is good for organisational wide updates or broadcast style scenarios.

Meet “Meet” in Teams

“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.

The Meet App in Teams. Image (c) Microsoft

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”.

Pinning the new Meet app.

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.

Microsoft YouTube summary of Meet in Teams

Hope you find this useful. I love it and wish it was a default installed experience.

What do you think…?

Microsoft launches Teams Town Hall – Replaces Live Events

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”.

Teams Town Hall | Image (c) Microsoft

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.

Getting Started with Teams Town Hall

To help customers get started with Teams Town Hall, Microsoft are offering technical guidance and support resources including on demand and instructor-led training, and FastTrack onboarding assistance for eligible subscriptions.

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.

Microsoft Mesh to enter public preview in October

Microsoft Mesh Image Example

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 Example | Image (c) Microsoft
Microsoft Mesh Example | Image (c) Microsoft

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.

Teams Meetings now support animated backgrounds

Teams Animated Background

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 Backgrounds in 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.

Teams Animated Backgrounds

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.

How to use Intelligent Meeting recap in Teams

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.

Intelligent Meeting Recap in Teams Premium

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.

Spatial Audio brings next generation audio to Teams

Decorate logo

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.
  • This is Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 107783.

What else is on the Microsoft 365 roadmap?

New features are added or annouced weekly with new ones coming for the collective MVP community and user feedback. The Microsoft 365 Roadmap can be accessed here. https://microsoft.com/en-gb/microsoft-365

Collaborative meeting notes now available in Teams

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.

Collaborative meeting notes in Teams

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 Notes Button 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.

Read more.

This update is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 101509

Cisco Board Pro….. now runs Microsoft Teams

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.

Cisco Board Pro offers advanced AI-powered collaboration features that can now be used in Microsoft Teams meetings for the first time. Organisations can join feature-rich, back-to-back Teams and Webex meetings on the same device from the Teams Rooms home screen – with no reboot or reconfiguration required.

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.

Cisco Board Pro

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.


Surface Hub 2S – the next generation.

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.

Teams Rooms on Windows will ship on the next generation Surface Hub 2S


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.

“Front Row” | Hub 2S | Teams Room on Windows

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.

More information

Microsoft say in their blog that more information will be released later this year…

New Microsoft Teams client is faster, more efficient and smarter

New Teams Client

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.

Toggle for "Try the new Teams"
Toggle for the New Teams Client Preview

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

“The new app is built on a foundation of speed, performance, flexibility, and intelligence—delivering up to two times faster performance while using 50 percent less memory so you can save time and collaborate more efficiently. We have also streamlined the user experience so that it is simpler to use and easier to find everything in one place….These enhancements also provide the foundation for game-changing new AI-powered experiences, such as Copilot for Microsoft Teams, announced earlier this month.”

Jeff Teper | President of Collaborative Apps and Platforms | Microsoft
Team Client Performance updates (old vs new)

UI Changes

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 []

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 [ 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).

Toggle for "Try the new Teams"
Toggle for the New Teams Client Preview

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

New Microsoft Teams Client will be economically streamlined and AI infused!

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.

The new version of Teams is a complete rewrite of the application, and in internal tests, is claimed to run at twice the speed whilst using 50 percent less memory, less CPU power, and in return be more battery efficient life than the current version. Microsoft had previously contacted their intent to move towards Webview2 technology from the the current Electron version and will also leverage React rather than JavaScript.

New Teams client performance vs old.

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.

Read more?

Source : The Verge Article

What is Teams Premium

What is Teams Premium?

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

Teams Premium
Host and attend Teams Meetings✔️✔️
Experience Teams’ standard look and feel✔️✔️
Use standard & custom meeting backgrounds at user level✔️✔️
Read live captions during meetings✔️✔️
Customise meeting templates for your company✔️
Add company branding to meeting lobbies✔️
Customise meeting backgrounds for your company✔️
Customise Together mode scenes for your company✔️
Read live translated captions during meetings✔️
Translate post-meeting transcriptions (coming soon)✔️
Turn on real-time data storage✔️
Turn on eCDN for Live Events✔️

Webinars and Premium events

Teams Premium provides an advanced webinar experience for organisers, presenters and attendees.

Teams Premium
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.

Teams Premium
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✔️

Meetings Reporting

Teams Premium
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✔️

Virtual Appointments

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.

Teams Premium
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 Desk Camera 4K – hands-on review.

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

Cisco Webex 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.

Webex Video Controls (in app).

Device Management

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.   

This isn’t your everyday webcam.  

Microsoft may have a solution to solve the Hybrid Hangover

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.

Microsoft Places – Video: Microsoft

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.

Image: (c) Microsoft

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.
Mock-up of Microsoft Places – Image (c) Microsoft

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.

Microsoft Places – Image (c) Microsoft

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.

  • Accenture
  • Appspace
  • CBRE
  • Cisco (coming soon with DNA Spaces)
  • Conseco
  • EY
  • Honeywell
  • Johnson Controls
  • Swift Connect and
  • Many more


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.

Microsoft Presenter + Review

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.
Pairing the Presenter + in Windows 11
  • 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.
Walk through of set up and tutorial of Presenter +

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.

Customising the buttons on Presenter + using the Accessory Control 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.

Benefits of Presenter +
Image: Microsoft

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.