Microsoft 365 Feature Roundup April 2021

Every few months I round up some of the key feature announcements from Microsoft 365 in a quick and to the point fashion.

Where possible I list the scheduled release date, however, these are subject to change, and often do.

  • If I state a release date as “Available”, then I have personally seen the feature in wild.
  • If the release date has past, it means I haven’t seen the feature in the wild myself – it may have been released, but equally, it may also have been delayed 🙂

Let’s get started.

Teams Meetings

Teams Outlook add-in

Release Date: Available

  • Start a Teams ad-hoc meeting directly from Outlook using ‘Meet Now’
  • Manage meeting settings directly

Webinars in Teams Meetings

Release Date: Rollout starting late April 2021

  • Registration page with email confirmation for registrants
  • Reporting for registration and attendance
  • Licence – O365 or E365 E3/E5/A3/A5/Business Standard/Business Premium

Teams Meetings Dynamic View

Release Date: Mid May

  • Audio participants smaller to make more room for video participants​
  • Shared content larger, while more participants visible
  • Dock the participant gallery to the top of your screen

PowerPoint Standout Mode

Release Date: Early May

  • Overlay a video feed on the presentation with ‘Standout mode’
  • Video feed superimposed onto the foreground of the content being shared

PowerPoint Slide Translation in Teams

Release Date: Early May

  • Meeting attendees can live translate presentation content into a language of their choice while in private view

Multiple meeting spotlights

Release Date: Early May

  • Spotlight up to 7 participants

Teams meeting related content and recap

Release Date: By Early April

Related content surfaces:

  • Email
  • OneDrive docs
  • SharePoint docs

Post Meeting Recap provides a central location to access:

  • Meeting recording
  • Transcript
  • Meeting notes
  • Chat

More control for participant mute

Release Date: Early April

Manage mute on a per participant basis, toggle between:

  • Don’t allow to unmute
  • Allow to unmute

Previously this could only be managed on a per meeting basis and participants had to raise their hand to request unmute.

Prevent sharing video in Teams meetings

Release Date: Early May

  • Prevent meeting attendees from turning their camera on during a meeting

Org-wide meeting backgrounds

Release Date: In preview now

  • Publish backgrounds for use by end users in meetings
  • Advanced Communications license required

Meeting backgrounds on mobile devices

  • Background blur
  • Background replacement

Share to rooms from iOS or Android Teams app

  • Wirelessly share the content of your mobile device in a Teams Room without needing to first set up a meeting
  • Using Bluetooth, users can broadcast their screen and cast content stored locally on their device

Join a meeting with digital meeting ID

Release Date: Early May

  • Join a Microsoft Teams meeting by entering a digital ID
  • Different ID from Conference dial-in ID 🤔

Anonymous presenters in Teams Live Events

Release Date: Mid April

  • Schedule an anonymous presenter when scheduling the live event – This must be managed when scheduling
  • The anonymous presenter must use the Teams desktop app

Separate window experience for live events

Release Date: Early May

  • Producers will manage a live event in a separate Teams window

Teams Chat

Supervised Chat for Teams private chats

Release Date: Early May

  • Restrict users from starting new chats unless a supervisor is present
  • Supervisors aren’t allowed to leave chats and other participants aren’t allowed to remove them
  • Ideal for educational institutions
  • Limitations are only applied to new private chats that are created after supervised chat has been fully enabled

More emojis 😎

Release Date: Late May

  • From 85 to more than 800!!!
  • Improved access with:
    • Keyboard search
    • Category selector
    • Short code filter

Create tasks from Teams chats or channel posts

Release Date: Early May

  • Create a task from chat and channel

Teams Calling

Improved Calls App

Release Date: By end of April

  • Provides a single view for:
    • Contacts
    • Voicemail
    • Calling history
  • Quick access to forwarding and device
    management
  • Search names and numbers

Call Merge

Release Date: Late March

  • Merge active 1:1 call into another 1:1 or group call
  • Applies to Teams VOIP calls and PSTN calls

Transfer calls between devices

Release Date: Available

  • Transfer an ongoing VoIP, PSTN or Group call between Teams devices
  • Add a second device to the same call

1:1 Call recording policy introduction

Release Date: Mid April

  • Currently, 1:1 Call recording is controlled by the -CsTeamsMeetingPolicy / AllowCloudRecording attribute.
  • After this change, it will be controlled by the -CsTeamsCallingPolicy / allowCloudRecordingForCalls attribute.
  • By default, this new policy attribute will be set to false, so 1:1 call recording will not work unless you change this attribute to true

Operator Connect

Release Date: Public Preview Mid May

  • Telco/Operator direct integration in Teams:
  • Enabled with almost no configuration required
  • Telephone numbers, once acquired are available for assignment

New Zealand Calling Plans

  • NZ will soon have access to Microsoft Calling Plans

Branch office survivability for Teams

Release Date: Available

  • PSTN resiliency when Teams is unavailable
  • Requires a supported Session Border Controllers (SBC):
    • AudioCodes
    • Oracle
    • Ribbon Communications
    • TE-SYSTEMS

 

Teams Other

Accounts

Release Date: Available

  • Org and account switching now has its own menu
  • Add personal accounts in Team desktop

Correct Answer choice in Teams Meeting Forms Polls

  • Correct Answer choices in Microsoft Forms Polls within Teams

Teams for your personal life banners

  • Microsoft will show a banner in the activity feed informing users they can use Teams for personal 🤔
  • If you have disabled the ability to add additional accounts, users will not see the banner
  • You can submit a help ticket to Microsoft to have your tenant excluded from the banners. This will not limit your user’s ability to add a personal, work or school account to the Teams app.

Improvements for Teams Approvals app

Release Date: Templates: Mid May

Teams admins and owners can create an approval template from:

  • Out-of-the-box templates
  • From scratch templates

Release Date: Adobe Sign: Mid April

  • Support Adobe Sign digital signatures

Manage Out of Office in Teams

Release Date: Early May

  • Manage an out of office message from within Microsoft Teams desktop/web
  • Syncs with Outlook calendar, presence, and contact card information

History menu in Teams

Release Date: Available

  • Navigation history
  • Displays recently visited locations within Teams

New Cortana voice assistance regions in Teams Mobile

Release Date: By early June

Cortana voice assistance for iOS and Android for users with their phone region set to:

  • Australia
  • Canada
  • India
  • United Kingdom

Mobile optimised network data usage

Release Date: Mid March

  • Limited to 500 kbps on average depending on modalities in use

Guest access on by default

Release Date: Available

  • Teams guest access is now on by default
  • 😮?

 

Exchange

New Exchange admin center general availability

Release Date: Late April

  • Previously in Preview, now GA
  • New features:
    • Tenant-to-tenant migration
    • Automated G-Suite migration

Outlook on the Web calendar board view

Board view allows you to combine:

  • Calendar
  • Tasks
  • Goals
  • Flagged emails
  • Files

Request/Release workflow for quarantined messages

Release Date: Early April

  • Configure end user access to messages quarantined by:
    • Exchange Online Protection (EOP) anti-spam
    • Microsoft defender for office 365 (MDO) anti-phishing anti-malware
    • Microsoft defender for office 365 (MDO) safe attachment policies
  • End users will have a process to request message release
  • Previously, users had to manually ask an admin to release messages

Email Quarantine

Release Date: Rollout early May

  • End user spam notifications will include a one-time deep-link to the quarantine portal.
  • We are adding a deep-link in the end user spam notification to the quarantine console present in the security and compliance center.

Access delegate mailboxes from Outlook mobile

  • Add and remove delegates from Outlook for iOS and Android.
  • Access Delegates mailboxes

Organisation logos in Outlook for iOS and Android

  • Display the organisation logo defined within Azure Active Directory
  • Show in the left-hand navigation area and while composing messages and calendar events.
  • Help users differentiate their work accounts from their personal accounts
  • Requires 2 or more accounts to be added in the app

SharePoint

Create Power BI Reports from Lists

Release Date: Early May

  • Create business intelligence reports in Power BI using your list schema and data

New SharePoint site templates

Release Date: Late April

  • New scenario-based site templates

OneDrive

Exclude specific files from OneDrive sync

Release Date: Available

  • Prevent the OneDrive sync app from uploading specific files to OneDrive or SharePoint
  • The change is visible to end users via a new excluded icon
  • Managed using Group Policy admx/adml templates

Other/General

Version management for Office installs

  • Available for Office installations configured to use Monthly Enterprise Channel
  • Allows:
    • Roll back to a previous version
    • Skip an upcoming version (one version at a time)

SfB Retirement Reminders

  • May 15, 2021 – Skype for Business Online Connector (PS Module)
  • July 31, 2021 – Skype for Business Online

Past Feature Roundups

 

 

 

 

 

Andrew Morpethhttps://ucgeek.co/author/amorpeth/
Andrew is a Modern Workplace Consultant specialising in Microsoft technologies based in Auckland, New Zealand; Andrew is a Director and Professional Services Manager at Lucidity Cloud Services and a Microsoft MVP.

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Andrew Morpethhttps://ucgeek.co/author/amorpeth/
Andrew is a Modern Workplace Consultant specialising in Microsoft technologies based in Auckland, New Zealand; Andrew is a Director and Professional Services Manager at Lucidity Cloud Services and a Microsoft MVP.

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