Hello Readers, I hope you’re well.
It’s a new month and Microsoft has added a load more features to Microsoft Teams. This is the June 2019 edition of what’s new. While this is focused on whats new for June, some of the features are still not fully released (as of 20th July). You will no doubt start seeing some of all of them soon. I’ve added some commentary and pictures where possible.
Without further ado, lets jump right in.
1. Teams is coming to Office 365 ProPlus
Microsoft now includes the Teams desktop app in Office 365 ProPlus, Business and Business Premium SKUs. This means that when you install Office ProPlus, Teams is installed by default. It’s a bizarre move to only include that in non-Enterprise SKUs. For those that don’t want this to happen, Microsoft has included guidance on how to exclude it from the installation.
2. Information Barriers
This is sometimes referred to as an ethical wall or similar. This is where you can create a barrier between users in different parts of a business. Information barriers allow you to limit which individuals can communicate with each other in Teams. Such as insulating the exec team from the lower ranks. Or creating a divide between two operating companies or divisions.
Information barrier features are in public preview currently. When they hit GA you’ll need the following licensing for users:
- Microsoft 365 E5
- Office 365 E5
- Office 365 Advanced Compliance
- Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance
There is a lengthy process to enabling Information barriers. Fortunately there is a decent amount of info on the Docs site.
- Information barriers (Preview)
- Define information barrier policies (Preview)
- Attributes for information barrier policies (Preview)
- Troubleshooting information barriers (Preview)
- Edit information barrier policies (Preview)
I blogged about Announcements, Message Reactions & Polls. Pretty self explanatory. Basically you can post a message to a channel that stands out with huge bold text and a background.
4. Increased limit for a group chat
Microsoft keeps increasing limits in Teams. I’ve seen increases to number of Teams (I think), number of channels in a team, number of members in a Team (to 5,000) among others. This month, Microsoft has increased the limit on a group chat top 100. In my opinion, that’s not a group. That’s a team. If they did it, someone asked for it. I’m not sure what the use case is, but it is good that Microsoft is able to push the boundaries.
5. Manage the discovery of Private Teams
Privacy settings for Skye for Business Persistent Chat
- Open – Anyone can search and find the room and they can immediately start reading posts and posting to it. Open rooms didn’t have memberships as such.
- Closed – Non-members can search and find the room and see a list of members. You need to ask permission (from a manager) to join before you can read/write posts.
- Secret – Non-members can’t search and find or see members. The room is invisible unless you’re a member.
Privacy settings in Microsoft Teams are quite similar
- Public team – Anyone can search and join as a member without approval
- Discoverable Private team – This is a private team, but you can search for and find it. Discoverable teams are included in the list of suggested teams and search results in the teams gallery. You must be given permission to join by a team owner.
- Non-Discoverable Private Team – This is a private team, but it is totally invisible. You must be given permission to join by a team owner.
I haven’t seen this in the desktop client yet. The only thing you can currently do is change a team from public to private.
But it is now available in the mobile client.
Hit the ellipsis and edit team
Privacy & Discoverability
Choose your settings and save
6. Interop now available in Office 365 Government GCC
Microsoft staggers the release of certain features, first starting with non-government customers.
Interoperability between Skype for Business and Teams is now available for Office 365 Government GCC customers. Learn more about how to use this functionality here.
…in addition to “normal” business customers.
7. Microsoft Teams auto-updates will have default capabilities to significantly decrease network bandwidth use
Less of a feature and more of a back end improvement that users won’t notice. The Teams desktop app updates automatically throughout the day. You might notice a message at the top stating that updates have been installed or similar. From time to time, the app even restarts with a big update. Microsoft made a back end change to help updates consume less bandwidth.
We are making improvements to the update process of the Teams desktop app to help you provide the latest capabilities to your users while significantly reducing the impact on your network bandwidth. These improvements are turned on by default for all users and there is no action required from admins. These changes will start rolling out on July 9th.
8. New GitHub updates for Microsoft Teams
Teams integrates with a lot of first and third party services. Microsoft purchased GitHub a while back and has wasted no time making improvements. The tab experience gives your devs a great place to interact with projects on GitHub. They’ve now released even tighter integration including message extensions and bot interactions.
One of Teams’ most loved integrations has gotten even better! While the GitHub app in Teams already supports a tab experience, developers and IT professionals can now enjoy multiple new iterations of the integration via a new Messaging Extension, Bot, and personal app capabilities, making it easier to collaborate and leverage the integration.
9. Azure Pipelines for Microsoft Teams to help you automate
With Azure pipelines you can set up subscriptions for releases, approvals and completed builds and get notifications in a Teams channel. You can also approve releases in the channel using both the desktop and mobile app.
In June we launched the Teams app for Azure pipelines. Azure pipelines allows you to automate customer builds and deployments, so you can spend less time with the nuts and bolts and more time being creative.
10. Single toolbar for controls in meetings & calling help reduce clutter on your screen
This is a big one for me. I always thought it was strange having call controls and share tray on the bottom and additional functionality including chat, settings and participants on the top.
Microsoft moved all the controls to a single toolbar and changed (and improved) the design of the bar while they were at it.
The old call control bar had round individual buttons.
This has changed to a single bar with all the controls and a menu ellipses for extra features and controls.
Teams is always improving the users’ experience and reducing clutter in meetings and calls. The session controls will now be unified into one toolbar at the bottom of the screen. This will affect Windows, Mac, and web clients. There is no impact for mobile or Microsoft Teams Room (MTR) devices.
11. Video Support in Chrome Meetings
Edge (old) is still the best browser to use for Teams if you want to log in as another user in addition to your default user in the desktop app. Or if you are on a shared PC and just want to access Teams without installing the full desktop client. Edge can be used for almost everything, including calling.
Chrome can be used for general browsing and collaboration and supports audio for internal/federated calls between users and in meetings. Chrome now supports video between internal and federated users and in meetings.
The great news is that Edge Chromium also supports video in meetings and in chat.
While joining Teams Meetings on the Chrome browser, you can now share your own video and receive video of others.
12. New Teams for Healthcare resources to help you enhance patient experiences
Microsoft Teams works great for virtually any type of business. Some business have very specialised requirements and Teams can be extended using built in integrations with first and 3rd party apps and with connectors. One such business type is healthcare. Microsoft is working closely with specialist developers and integrators to add capability that healthcare orgs need.
This past month, Microsoft Teams was at HIMSS Europe, where we demonstrated how clinicians and staff can use Teams to coordinate care and connect instantly on a secure platform. Recently, we’ve partnered with HIPAA One to help healthcare organisations understand how Teams enables HIPAA compliance. Check out the whitepaper and other new healthcare resources in this blog.
I attended a healthcare event with some presenters from Microsoft Corp and the stuff that’s coming is truly game changing.
One such update that isn’t included in the June update announcement, but is targeted specifically at Healthcare is urgent messages. I blogged about this recently.
13. Exciting Teams for Education Updates for teachers students and parents
As I stated above, Teams can work well for any business type given a bit of thought. Microsoft released an education experience soon after launch.
In my day I would attend class and the teacher would verbally give us our assignment or maybe write it on the chalk board. I had to write it down on paper on a notepad in my Trapper Keeper. Then make sure I had the school text book I needed to do the assignment with me. Then I would do the assignment, again, on paper and file it in my Trapper Keeper. I would then hand it in to the teacher and they would take it somewhere to grade it. Somehow record the grade and hand it back eventually with the markups.
You won’t be surprised to know that all of this can be done in Teams. There are logins and experiences for both teachers (and faculty) and students that can handle everything. Parents aren’t left out either. Total game changer. I can’t wait for my kids’ schools to start using Teams.
This month, we announced some big updates coming to Teams for Education that will make it simpler and more comprehensive than ever before, saving teachers time when creating new Teams, communicating with parents and students, and grading assignments.
- Visual graphic tiles that represent each one of your teams
- New gradebook makes it easy to view the grades and average scores across every assignment in a given course
Soon, you will be able to send weekly email updates to your students’ parents or guardians with their child’s progress. IT admins can get ready for this feature today by onboarding to the new Parent and Guardian sync from Microsoft School Data Sync.
Learn more about these updates here.
And that’s it for now.
Check out the Microsoft post right here – What’s New in Microsoft Teams | June 2019
Remember, you can help make Teams better for everyone. If you think of something, submit a new idea on UserVoice or vote on an existing one.