Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Microsoft Teams Roadmap - Calling, Conference Recording & More

Today, Microsoft published the much-anticipated Roadmap for many of the features that were discussed during various sessions at Microsoft Ignite 2017. While the Roadmap does provide general guidance, and it can be helpful for many reasons, always remember that actual GA delivery is subject to change due to QA Testing, or other unforeseen circumstances. Diving straight in...

The announcement broke down the various features and capabilities by a few key areas: Messaging, Meetings, and Calling.

Messaging


While Messaging was not really the focus of some of the bigger announcements at Ignite, there are a still a few cool features that we can expect to be delivered soon. The following features are targeted for delivery in Q1 of 2018:
  • Hide Chat
  • Share Chat
  • Mute Chat
  • Messaging Policies
  • Messaging Retention Policies (the ability to retain for a finite time)
These are small features, but great for organizing your work environment within Teams, and creating a more neat and orderly Chat work space.

There are more components to the Roadmap for Messaging, but I will defer to Microsoft's official announcement (See Below) for those remaining items. I am excited to get to the Meeting and Calling stuff!

Meetings


In my opinion, the evolution of Meetings within Teams provided for some the bigger and more impressive announcements at Microsoft Ignite. Taking a look at this image provided by Microsoft in their Roadmap announcement today, we can see that there are some very exciting new features coming to the Teams client as early as Q4 2017 (tentatively):
























What's slated for Q4?

  • Audio Conferencing in 90+ countries
  • Anonymous Join
  • Interactive Troubleshooting
  • Lobby Support
  • Mute Other Participants
  • Application Sharing
  • Give & Take Control in Sharing
  • Support for meetings in Edge and Chrome browsers
  • Enable Call Quality Analytics
What's slated for end of quarter, Q2 CY2018?
  • Broadcast Meetings
  • Cloud Recording
  • Federated Meetings - Yes, you read that word correctly: FEDERATED.
  • Large Meeting Support (~250 participants)
  • Lobby for PSTN Callers
  • Outlook meeting schedule from other platforms (OWA, mobile, Mac)
  • PSTN Fallback
  • PowerPoint Load and Share
  • Whiteboard and Meeting Notes
  • Enable VTC Interop Services*
  • Skype Room Systems Support*
  • Surface Hub Support
  • Trio 1 Touch Teams Meeting Join*
  • User-Level Meeting Policy
  • eDiscovery enhancements
*Dependent on 3rd Party

As you can see, the Engineering team will be VERY busy over the next several months!

Calling


Finally, we come to the all-important PSTN capabilities within the Teams client. I was very happy to see that we should see this capabilities by the end of CY2017! Again - grain of salt - emphasis place on the word 'should', and of course the Roadmap is always subject to change. Let's take a look at the Roadmap for Calling:





















The above image is a bit more...involved! There is a LOT coming, and this Roadmap will be very important when it comes to planning out strategy with your internal organization or clients. Let's start with what we can expect before the end of CY2017:

Enterprise Calling Features for Q4 CY2017:
  • Blind Transfer
  • Call Blocking
  • Call Forwarding
  • Hold
  • Multi-call Handling
  • Sim Ring
  • Caller ID Masking
  • Speed Dial
  • e911 Support
  • Extension Dialing
  • Translate user input to standard format phone #
  • Suggested Contacts
  • Voicemail
  • Enable Existing Calling Plan Support
Skype for Business Interop & Federation for Q4 CY2017:
  • Skype for Business Online - Teams Calling
  • Teams Interop Policies
Platform & Device Support for Q4 CY2017:
  • Windows, Mac, Edge, iOS, Android
  • TTY Support
IT Pro Capabilities for Q4 CY2017
  • Skype for Business Online - Teams Interop Policies
  • Call Quality Diagnostic Portal
Now, what can we tentatively expect by the end of quarter for Q2 CY2018? It gets pretty exciting:

Enterprise Calling Features for Q2 CY2018:
  • Boss & Delegate Support
  • Call Queues
  • Consultative & Safe Transfer
  • Do Not Disturb breaththrough
  • Distinctive Ringing
  • 1:1 to Group Call Escalation with Teams, Skype for Business, and PSTN Participants
  • Forward to Group
  • Org Auto Attendant
  • Transfer to PSTN Call
  • Hybrid Connection to Teams
  • Out of Office Support
Skype for Business Interop & Federation for Q2 CY2018:
  • Call Support between Teams & Skype Consumer

Platform & Device Support for Q2 CY2018:
  • Support for existing certified SIP Phones*
  • USB HID
IT Pro Capabilities for Q2 CY2018:
  • eDiscovery enhancements
Finally, what will the Calling landscape look like by the end of CY2018 (Q4)? The plan is for these additional Enterprise Voice-like features to be added in to Teams:

Enterprise Calling Features for Q2 CY2018:
  • Call Park
  • Group Call Pickup
  • Location-based routing (LBR)
  • Shared Line Appearance
*Dependent on 3rd Party

Well, this is pretty exciting stuff! Check out the official Roadmap announcement on the TechCommunity here: https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/Microsoft-Teams-Blog/Roadmap-for-Skype-for-Business-capabilities-coming-to-Microsoft/ba-p/119636/jump-to/first-unread-message

Keep your eye out for some of this awesomeness to start hitting your Teams client this quarter!





Wednesday, October 18, 2017

A Re-Branding: Introducing the #TeamsRecap


Well, I finally did it. The #Skype4BRecap has been officially renamed to the #TeamsRecap! As you can see from the image above, I have even embraced the purple.

Admittedly, I struggled with whether or not to do this, as Skype for Business Server 2019 is still slated for H2 2018, per the latest from Ignite, and Skype for Business Online will still be around for some time. However, I came to the realization that when it comes to Skype for Business Server 2019, a LOT can happen between now and the actual release. AND, there is very clear marketing message that Microsoft is pushing 150% with Teams. SO, I decided that with much of my future content probably shifting more and more toward Teams, this was likely the right move.

At any rate, the show is still the same for now: same me, same format, same hat, etc. Again, though, this is for now. I am mulling over changing up a couple things, maybe just a bit, but time will tell with those. In the meantime, I have the latest episode of the #TeamsRecap published to YouTube, and ready to watch! Get caught up on what's new with the Skype UG (HINT: International locations may be in our future!), and get a good recap of all the Teams news from Microsoft Ignite:


Don't forget to Re-Tweet or Share on LinkedIn if you enjoy the show, or find it helpful/amusing!

Josh

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Microsoft Teams & Skype for Business Specific Conference in the US?

On the heels of Microsoft Ignite, and right after UC Day UK just wrapped up in the UK, a small group of individuals would LOVE to know your interest level on bringing a smaller community-based event back onto the scene - one specifically focused on Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams content (Microsoft UC, or IC now). Of course, if the interest level is there, we could actually see something amazing like this come back, in the spirit of what was once the Lync Conference (just led by Community members, rather than Microsoft).

This would be a US-based initiative, much like UC Day UK (now renamed to Evolve Conference) is in the UK. For a brief 1-day period, a poll is being conducted on Twitter to gauge the interest level:



Please, follow this link and take the 2 seconds that it takes to respond: 


OH, and spread the word, get as many people as you can within the greater North American area to respond with their honest feedback! With the right community-backing, a conference that is more tailored to the industry that we all work in and love could become a reality. Wouldn't that be freakin' incredible! 

ALSO, if you see this AFTER the poll closes, please reply in the Comments below and share your thoughts on whether or not you would go for this.

Ok, enough reading. GO! Vote! ;-)


Friday, September 22, 2017

How-To Video: PSTN Conferencing (Public Preview) in Microsoft Teams

In the final days before Microsoft Ignite, it appears that the Product Team has quietly gifted us with a brand new Public Preview feature: PSTN Conferencing in Microsoft Teams!

Please note, to be able to take advantage of this feature, you need to be licensed for PSTN Conferencing within Skype for Business Online. If you are not properly licensed for PSTN Conferencing, you simply won't see the Dialin Conferencing information in the Meeting Details.

The below video is an brief introduction to this feature, and how to use it. Keep in mind, the PSTN Conferencing settings that have been setup in Skype for Business Online appear to be what is carried over for Teams.


I hope that the above video was helpful in getting you started with Microsoft Teams meetings that have greater capabilities!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Video: Setup & Implement Guest Access in Microsoft Teams

For those of you that did not hear about the long-awaited arrival of Guest Access in Microsoft Teams, I have a two part process that I want you to follow for getting caught up to speed:

  1. Crawl out from the rock that you are living under
  2. Watch the below How-To video!



This video briefly walks through four main components of the Guest Access experience that you will get you working with external guests in Teams. 

  • Enable Guest Access for your Office 365 Tenant
  • Invite a guest to your Team
  • Accept and join a Team as a guest
  • Switching between accounts in Teams
I hope that the video was enlightening and helpful! If you are looking for a brief walkthrough that you can read, and that gives more details on what can and cannot be done as a guest, visit Matt Landis' blog post here:

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Edit Word, Excel, PowerPoint Files in Microsoft Teams

The ability to upload, view, and have contextual chat conversations around various Office document types within Microsoft Teams has been great. To me, however, the inability to edit documents within Teams, especially Microsoft Office documents, was quite undesirable.

























To edit Word, Excel, or PowerPoint documents in Teams previously, you had to click on the "Edit" button while viewing the document, and then either edit it in the full Office app, or the Office Online version of the app.

Today, I noticed that the ability to edit Word, Excel and PowerPoint documents directly within Teams has been added, much to my excitement! Note, I have verified that this works for Word, Excel, and PowerPoint file types as of the time of this blog post. However, I am not sure about others. I verified that it does not work for Visio drawings, but if it ever does, that would be freakin' sweet!

Check out my video below going over this simple, but very welcome, change to working with Office files within Teams.




Monday, August 7, 2017

Cloud PBX Rebranding to Microsoft Phone System & Early Ignite Observations

The upcoming Session Catalog for Microsoft Ignite has given quite a bit of insight into some upcoming changes or direction for the Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams communities well ahead of the conference itself. While I comb through the list of available sessions to start putting my own Ignite agenda together, there a few things that stood out to me that I thought were worth calling out.

Cloud PBX & PSTN Calling get Name Refreshes

It seems not too long ago that Cloud PBX and PSTN Calling were introduced. As a matter of fact, with less than 10 countries currently available for PSTN Calling today, it seems crazy that a re-name of these services would possibly be in the works. However, a session titled, "Is Voice in the cloud right for you?" (Session BRK2038) suggests that this is indeed the case.

Based on the details of this session, we see that Microsoft apparently intends to rebrand Cloud PBX to "Microsoft's Phone System", and PSTN Calling will get remodeled with "Calling Plan". I know, I was thinking the same thing: Couldn't the Marketing team have thought of anything a bit less...obvious...and a bit more...catchy? ;-) At any rate, like it or hate it, that is what shows up for this session as of the date of this blog post, so don't get too much more attached to "Cloud PBX" or "PSTN Calling". I know it will definitely take some work for me to adjust...

A New Portal: The Networking Portal

Based on session "Network Planning for Real Time Communications with the Networking Portal (Session BRK2031), it would appear that a new portal is in the works. The Networking Portal appears to be built around RTC traffic for both Skype for Business and Teams. Check out the below excerpt from the session description:

"In this session we introduce our newly created Networking Portal - an essential piece of Planning and Operating any Real Time Communications environment, whether running Teams, Skype for Business or both. It will help organize your networking data centrally, such as subnets per location, users per location, etc. It allows import and export of Call Quality Dashboard Sites data and Call Analytics, making it easier to maintain that information. It is also the central point for your Bandwidth Calculations for both Teams and Skype for Business."

This looks like a very intriguing new tool to learn about, and I am really hoping that it will fit nicely into my Ignite schedule.

Teams & Skype for Business Getting Pretty Cozy

When you go to the Session Catalog on the Microsoft Ignite site, you can enter search terms to narrow down the hundreds of available sessions. As of right now, searching for "Teams" narrows down the list to 51 session. Some of these sessions are very strictly built around getting to know Teams better. Some are listed because they are more general Office 365 sessions that include Teams in the description. The resounding theme I am seeing, though, is that MANY of these sessions focus in on both Teams AND Skype for Business, grouping them together in many ways that really make you wonder what the story of these two products will look like after Ignite.

The below sessions all just a small sample of the sessions that I observed this with, and if you visit their links, you might start to observe the same behavior. I would be very interested in hearing your thoughts after checking them out as well:


So, those are some of my initial thoughts and observations about what is in store for us at Ignite in regards to Skype for Business and Teams. What are some of your observations?!