Microsoft 365 Updates: March 2021

microsoft-365-updates-march-2021

AMT’s Monthly Microsoft 365 Updates keep you up to date with new features and important announcements from Microsoft. Microsoft 365 has a continuous roll-out of changes. We filter out the announcements that we think will be most relevant to our customers and send them out in an easily digestible form. Here are the Microsoft 365 March updates.

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SharePoint

SharePoint events web part will display event images

SharePoint page authors who use the Events web part can enable an option to show event images within the web part. When enabled, each Event shown in the web part will display the image used in the title area of the Event page.

Events web part new setting

SharePoint page analytics

This new SharePoint Page Analytics feature will introduce analytics for SharePoint pages and news posts. You’ll be able to see the number of viewers on all SharePoint pages in addition to seeing information about how users interact with your page or news post.

Additional information

Focus mode for SharePoint modern pages

Your SharePoint page authors and viewers will now be able to clean their field of vision and focus on page content by clicking the Expand content button on the command bar to hide the site header, site navigation, and global navigation bar.  

This larger content viewing pane in Focus mode will continue as viewers navigate and select other links to open pages within the same site.

  • The larger content viewing pane will not continue when viewers select links to pages outside of the site, even if they are within a hub site.

Teams

Teams: Transfer calls between devices

After joining a Teams call on one device, users will be able to join the same call on a second device. For example; going from desktop to a mobile device or even to another desktop. Additionally, they will be able to transfer a call from one device to a second device, in the same call, if there is a need to share content from the second device.

Option to join Teams call from another device.

Option to join from second device

Teams will provide two options: Add this device, and Transfer to this device.

New personal wellbeing insights coming to Insights App in Teams

The Insights app in Teams will introduce a new Home page that provides time-relevant suggestions and access to new wellbeing focused experiences, such as:

  • Virtual commute: users can schedule a virtual commute to help them wrap up their tasks from today, prepare for tomorrow’s activities, and mindfully disconnect from work.
  • Praise: users can schedule reminders to send praise to their top collaborators and build a habit of sharing gratitude.
  • Reflect: users can schedule reminders to check in with themselves emotionally and save and reference their personal reflection history.

New personal insights come to Insights app

More updates are coming later this year, including guided meditations from Headspace that will be integrated into the virtual commute as well as the Home tab to help you mindfully disconnect from work in the evening, relax your mind before a big meeting, or find focus before starting an important project.

Microsoft Teams: AI assisted poll creation for Teams meeting presenters

Using the same AI features that have been in Forms since 2018, Microsoft are minimising the time and effort required to create polls for Teams meetings. They appear in the Polls tab of the meeting.

Forms can make suggestions to meeting presenters such as:

  • Specific polls based upon the title of the meeting
  • Specific polls based upon those that they have previously created
  • Suggested multiple-choice answers based on new poll questions

After the meeting, meeting presenters can evaluate responses in the meeting tab; export responses to an Excel workbook; or review responses on the web in the Forms app. 

Meeting Reactions in Teams Meetings

In a Teams meeting, participants can choose from four different reaction types – like, heart, applause, and laugh – and send it to meeting attendees from the new reactions and raise hand flyout in the control bar.

Meeting participants will see the reaction displayed over their position.

Reactions over positions

When content is shared, the reactions will float over the content. This applies to Desktop, Window, PowerPoint, and Whiteboard sharing. 

Reactions in PowerPoint

Announcing Teams PowerShell Module 2.0

The release has many new features, fixes and breaking changes. The main ones are: 

  1. Microsoft have simplified the administrator experience by having Connect-MicrosoftTeams as the single command to login and manage all aspects of Teams and Skype for Business online. This means New-CsOnlineSession is no longer required to login and manage Skype for Business Online.
  2. New-CsOnlineSession has been replaced with Connect-MicrosoftTeams.  This will require a minor update from your side and make changes as documented here.
  3. Long running scripts are supported natively in the module. Administrators don’t have to explicitly call Enable-CsOnlineSessionForReconnection to run long running scripts. 

Teams: Voice-enabled channels (Collaborative Calling)

You will be able to configure call queues differently in a way that will allow the members of a channel to be automatically synchronized and set as the agents for the call queue. After configuring, a new Calls tab will be available in the Teams desktop client for members of the channel. The new Calls tab will provide a dedicated call history for agents of the call queue showing;

  • Opt-in status of cohort agents.
  • Call queue’s shared voicemail (if configured).

This feature will not affect existing call queues and new call queues can continue to be configured using the current configuration settings.

Supervised chats for Teams private chats

Supervised Chat blocks restricted users from starting new chats unless an appropriate supervisor is present. When chat supervision is enabled, supervisors aren’t allowed to leave chats and other participants aren’t allowed to remove them ensuring that all chats are properly supervised.

This feature can be enabled in any environment, but it is ideal for educational institutions who want to ensure that students can only chat when an educator is present. To get the most from supervised chat, each user in your environment needs to be assigned a specific chat permission role.

Viva

Viva Connections for Microsoft Teams desktop clients

Microsoft Viva brings communications, knowledge, learning, resources, and insights together into an integrated experience. Viva Connections is one of four modules designed to integrate employee experiences across core Microsoft 365 apps. 

Viva Connections for Teams allows you to incorporate your organisation’s brand and identity directly in Teams and makes it easier for your users to collaborate on shared resources.

Viva Connections experience

WhiteBoard

Microsoft Whiteboard now available on Android

Whiteboard for Android lets users draw or write naturally with ink, collaborate and communicate their thoughts better with text and sticky notes. It also enhances teamwork by allowing all team members to edit the canvas in real time, no matter where they are.