Hello Readers, Hope you’re well.

Microsoft is working very hard on getting MTR on Android to feature parity with MTR on Windows. A year ago Android was way behind Windows. Now they are getting closer to allignment. With this latest update coming in March, there will only be a couple of big things. Multi-camera and content camera. My gut feeling is they are inexorably linked, so if/when those two features come, they could come at similar times.

MTR on Android 2023 update 1

Message Centre Summary

This update introduces several new features for Teams Rooms on Android that improve the meeting join, content sharing, and hybrid collaboration experiences.

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 119621119620, and 119622

When this will happen:

Roll out to production starts early March 2023 and is expected to be completed by April. Note that there can be a delay between when features are released by Microsoft and when they become available on a device model and make. If an update isn’t available on your device, check with your device manufacturer for information on when it might become available.

Included in this update

  • Join Teams meeting with ID
  • Single tap ad-hoc meetings – e.g. Meet Now
  • HDMI connect auto share controls
  • HDMI audio share
  • Front row layout
  • Meeting chat in Gallery, Large gallery, and Together mode
  • Collaborative annotations 
  • Teams Premium watermark-enabled meetings support
  • Room reservation extension – Pro license required

The features

Join Teams meeting with ID

This is the same as it is on MTR on Windows. You’ll have a dedicated button for joining a Teams meeting using a meeting ID and passcode. Personally I think proximity join is easier. But it’s an ask from customers. And it is available on Windows. Windows will have Join a Zoom meeting with an ID and passcode any time now. Android will probably get that too over time for doing ad-hoc direct guest join.

On the touch console or FoR display hit Join with an ID and enter the details to join

Single tap ad-hoc meetings 

This is a pretty big one. Up until now tapping Meet on an Android MTR fired up the search box so you could find someone to start a meeting with. Now the Meet button is a “meet now” and starts an ad-hoc meeting. From there you can get yourself ready by adding content or starting a whiteboard, then add participants as needed. Just like Windows, it pops up an add participants/meeting info box that you can’t get rid of until you call someone. If you have a touch screen you can just hit the X.

HDMI connect auto share controls

This is a pretty big deal and I am hoping this will come to Windows too. Before this feature, as soon as you plug a laptop into the HDMI, it starts presenting. This happens even when the system is not in a meeting.

This is a big problem for some. Some use 3rd party add-on hardware like Barco ClickShare or Mersive Solstice as wired/wireless sharing devices. Others plug in, in-room PCs and leave them on. Microsoft always said this was “by design” and removed the friction of sharing to the in-room display. i.e. if you have an HDMI cable connected to an in-room display and just plug in a laptop it will start sharing. The screen has no intelligence to say don’t do it. The only control you have is in Windows by hitting ALT+P to bring up “projection settings”.

On Windows MTR there was a control to prevent auto sharing, but this only pertained to meetings. It meant that while in a meeting if you plug in a laptop you have to hit the share button to start the share. However, if the PC was already plugged in before the meeting started, it would have been sharing. So will continue to share when the meeting starts. So this didn’t solve the customer ask.

Finally, on Android there is an admin setting that prevents auto sharing in and out of a meeting. You now have to hit the share button to start sharing even if the device is already plugged in.

If you disable the above setting. When you plug in a laptop you have to hit the share button to start sharing.

Outside a meeting – hit the share button

Inside a meeting – open the share tray and choose Connected Device

HDMI audio share

Another big feature I am asked about 11 times a day. It’s here, stop asking (wink). Not sure why this one was missing, but since HDMI sharing was launched on MTRoA you haven’t had the ability to share audio along with the HDMI. This meant that if you had media with sound you were out of luck. Now you can choose when you hit the share tray in a meeting whether you want to share system audio.

There is also an admin setting to disable system audio sharing. 

With this feature disabled you will see a warning that it has been disabled when you open the share tray

You can also disable HDMI content sharing completely. Maybe you are only using the system as a collaboration or whiteboarding solution and you just don’t have or want an HDMI cable on the table. You can disable HDMI sharing so it isn’t even an option. The share button disappears from the home screen on both the FoR display and touch controller. And you won’t see it in the share tray during a meeting.

Front row 

Front Row is just a layout. But for those that want it, you will be able to choose Front Row as a layout.

Which gives you that “Front Row” of people at the bottom and the chat on the right of the content stage.

You can also enable Front Row as the default layout in Teams Admin Settings. So if you have a Front Row enabled room you can launch straight in to Front Row at meeting start.

Meeting chat in Gallery, Large gallery, and Together mode

And because you can now see the chat rail on the right of Front Row, you can now add the chat rail in any layout. Just toggle it on

And it appears on the right

Collaborative annotations 

This is one you may not even know is an option. There is something called Collaborative Annotations in Teams. If you share your screen in a Teams meeting, then hover at the top you will see some share options. One that looks like a pen is collaborative annotations.

This might be an awful name, but it is a cool feature. It basically turns your screen share into a whiteboard canvas. You will get some whiteboard buttons on top

And if you are meeting with someone with a touch screen, they can play along and start drawing too

Teams Premium watermark-enabled meetings support

Firstly, the meeting organiser needs the Teams Premium license to use this. But if you have it, you can now enable watermarking on content and/or video in meeting options when you organise the meeting. When you’re in a meeting there will be a watermark of the email address of the organiser. This can discourage screen capture. And if shared, can help trace the meeting and who shared it.

Room reservation extension

This only works if you have a Microsoft Teams Room Pro license. And since you will be discouraging the use of Basic in production, this applies to you. If you have Pro, you will be able to extend the reservation from the three dots pop up menu

Then extend in 15 minute to 1 hour increments. Assuming there is space after your meeting is scheduled to end.

The feature can also be enabled and disabled in Teams Admin settings

Wrap up

Another huge update from the Microsoft Product Group to try and catch Android up to Windows. There’s only a couple of things left and they are essentially at parity for now. As I said above there is just Content Camera and multi camera support remaining before Android is at current parity.

Thanks for reading