10 New Updates to Microsoft Teams | December 2021

By: Core BTS | December 14, 2021

Microsoft isn’t waiting for the new year to start rolling out new Microsoft Teams features. This month is stacked with Teams Meeting enhancements to ensure a better user experience when organizing and participating in meetings (and to make a stronger case to compete with other meeting providers). In this first of many blog updates, we will highlight new General Availability features and explain how they benefit your day-to-day work.

1. Co-organizer Meeting Role 

Meeting organizers will now be able to share control by assigning the new “Co-organizer” role to people they invite. Co-organizers will have most of the capabilities of the organizer, including management of Meeting Options. Before this change, the meeting organizer was the only participant able to make changes to meeting options to disable or enable meeting features. This change will allow the meeting organizer to delegate meeting management to a co-organizer. This will help the meeting organizer to focus and stick to the meeting agenda when running the meeting.

Co-organizers will be displayed as additional organizers on the meeting roster, and they will have most of the capabilities of an organizer in the meeting.

Co-organizers can do the following:

  • Access and change meeting options
  • Bypass the lobby in the meeting
  • Admit people from the lobby during a meeting
  • Lock the meeting
  • Present content like a presenter role
  • Change another participant’s meeting role
  • End the meeting for all

Co-organizers cannot do the following:

  • Remove or change the Organizer role
  • View and download attendance reports
  • Manage the meeting recording
  • Edit the meeting invitation
  • Create and manage breakout rooms

2. Introducing Background Effects on Web  

When you use Teams on the web, you can either blur your background or replace it entirely with the images provided in your video meeting or call. Before this change, the users that attended meetings from the browser couldn’t add a custom background image. Now, if you want to add your own background image, it must be 1920 x 1080 pixels and saved as a PNG.  

Note: Blurring or replacing your background might not prevent sensitive information from being visible to other people in the call or meeting. I have had this issue with my office and people seeing my bearded dragon terrariums in the background.

3. Video Filters

Before joining a meeting, you can use filters to subtly adjust lighting levels and smooth out facial features to customize your appearance. This can help meeting participants look their best before joining the video call. I have lighting issues in my office because my windows are behind me, so the quality of the video is reduced due to the lighting. (See image above for an example.)

4. Mute Notifications During Meetings         

Users will be able to mute notifications before meetings to improve focus. A user can choose to mute notifications for all meetings or on a per meeting basis. This feature will ensure that the organizer, presenter, or participant of the meeting can focus on the meeting and not on notifications. I’m grateful for this feature because I get too many notifications in meetings, and my busy light flashes and makes sounds while I’m presenting.

5. View Switcher           

The new view switcher in the top bar of a Teams meeting allows participants to control how they prefer to see the meeting content. Choose between Together mode, Focus, Gallery at top, and Full screen. This feature gives the participant more options on how they would like to view the meeting.

6. Pin Your Own Video in Teams Meetings   

Currently, users can pin video feeds to increase the size of the desired video on their own screen. Now, the Microsoft Teams team has expanded the ability for users to pin their own video on the stage as well. This way, users can also see their own video in the increased size on their screen.

7. Hide Your Own Video in Teams Meetings

Currently, the user’s video is displayed at the bottom right corner of the meeting screen. This feature allows users to hide their own video during a meeting. This will help reduce distractions during the call while still having your video available for other participants. This feature can give you more focus on the meeting content the speakers or other participants are discussing, rather than looking down at your video feed the entire meeting.

8. Domain Customization for Webinar Communications    

When webinar emails are sent to attendees, both the sender’s name and email domain will now reflect the tenant’s name, making it easier for attendees to recognize the sender – improving opens and click-throughs. Before this change, the webinar communications to speakers, attendees, and possible attendees were sent from noreply@teams.registration.microsoft.com. It was impersonal and gave recipients no idea who sent it. Now, that email will come from your defined domain on your Microsoft 365 environment. Example: noreply@teams.registration.YOURDOMAIN.com

9. Automated Webinars Invite           

When webinars are set up and scheduled, the webinar invite is now automatically added to the attendee’s calendar. This is a great added feature that will add your webinar to your calendar instead of attaching it to the “Your Seat is Reserved” email. It will save you time and the pain of forgetting to download the .ics file on your calendar.

10. Transcription for 1:1 Calls   

Transcription captures the text version of your Call and saves it for later use. This can be enabled via the control bar within the Call window. This technology is available on Teams meetings today. The transcription feature will give users audio transcribing for their 1:1 Teams Calls. That means that when you call someone on Teams, you will be able to enable transcription that will capture your call and create a text version to save for later.

In Conclusion

The feature deployment of Microsoft 365 Platform comes in many waves, across multiple tenants, and in different phases. Microsoft has many phased release cycles for their environments. The features are more for the enterprise environment and the governance tenants may vary on the release. You can access the full Microsoft 365 Roadmap here.

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Core BTS is an award-winning IT consulting firm and managed service provider dedicated to problem solving.

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