Welcome back to another round of up Microsoft Teams news!

In more general news but somewhat Teams related, Microsoft continues to shed the “Office” moniker from their line up of products by announcing that Office 365 Groups will become Microsoft 365 Groups. Another interesting change is Office 365 Business and Office 365 ProPlus will both become Microsoft 365 Apps while using “for business” and “for enterprise” to distinguish them.

In some interesting news, the NFL has announced they will be using Microsoft Teams to make their selections during the 2020 draft. Very interesting solution and no doubt a great story for Microsoft.

Road Map Update

Increase in the number of simultaneous videos in Teams meetings

Since Teams first debuted 3 years ago, the number of active video streams has been limited to four. Finally added to the road map last week, this will be increased to 9 active videos streams in a “Brady Bunch” or “Hollywood Squares” format with more streams on the way. The four active streams has been a glaring limitation in comparison to other solutions like Zoom. It’ll be exciting to see this released in the coming weeks.

3 x 3 video stream view (image from Microsoft)

Assign a policy package to a batch of Teams users

Rolling out now, this feature will enable administrators to use Teams PowerShell cmdlets to assign policies to groups of users. Instead of writing a script to cycle through a list of users to assign policies, you will be able to define a group of users and run one command to apply a policy to that group. This will eliminate errors where remote PowerShell sessions time-out in the middle of scripts. Read more about the commands in this Docs article section Assign a policy to a batch of users.

Update default Teams meeting policy to enforce lobby in meetings for external users

Most likely in response to increased scrutiny on meeting security, Microsoft is changing the default meeting policy to automatically enforce waiting in the lobby for all external users, including those joining via dial-in or audio conferencing. However, this only applies to the org-wide policy where administrators have not modified the policy from its default settings. If you have created custom policies, here are some of the policy settings I recommend reviewing:

  • Let anonymous people start a meeting – prevents people who have dialed-in from starting a meeting before an authenticated person has joined
  • Automatically admit people – prevents unauthenticated users from automatically joining a meeting (both dial-in and using a Teams client)
  • Allow dial-in users to bypass the lobby – only configurable if automatically admit people isn’t set to Everyone
Meeting policy settings to prevent anonymous users from joining automatically

Breakout Room Functionality

Another Zoom compete feature is the ability for breakout rooms. If you’re not familiar with this concept, it allows for taking meeting participants and breaking them out into smaller meetings, like table discussions. When the smaller group portion of the meeting in completed, everyone rejoins the main meeting. The user voice for this feature received a much anticipated update that this feature has been prioritized for release. No doubt this is coming from increased usage in the education sector where teachers could have a group lecture, sends students to smaller meetings to discuss topics, then bring them back to the main lecture.

Tip of the Week

With the increase of video streams coming to meetings, Principal Consultant Sean Boss on LinkedIn shared a great tip of how to disable incoming video streams if your system starts to struggle handling that much video.

Turn off incoming video

Training

Microsoft Mechanic’s YouTube channel has released a playlist of videos with tips on working remotely. This is a great playlist of tips, and the Mechanics YouTube channel is also full of other great videos for admins as well as users.

Microsoft Security Architect Matt Soseman also has a great YouTube playlist on Security & Compliance in Microsoft Teams. Matt is a fantastic speaker and lecturer and is well-versed in all things Teams and security.

Questions or comments? If so, drop me a note below or find me on Twitter or LinkedIn to discuss further.

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