Microsoft Teams Room Admin Portal Tour

This video does exactly what it says on the tin! I created this snapshot of the tools available in the Microsoft Teams Admin Console to share with anyone who was new to this topic.

Without access to Microsoft Teams Room (MTR) kit it’s sometimes difficult to visualise what you can do from the admin portal, so sit back and enjoy a 5 minute tour.

If you want to learn more about managing Microsoft Teams Rooms, check out the Microsoft Documentation.

Note: The video above provides an an overview of what’s available with Standard Teams Room licensing. There is also a Premium SKU that signs a MTR up to Microsoft’s own comprehensive monitoring service. The details of which can be found here.

Microsoft Teams Meeting Recordings and OneDrive

As you may already be aware the shift from “classic” Stream to “new” Stream, which uses OneDrive for Private Teams Meetings (Channel Meetings use SharePoint) has been in the pipeline since last year. If you are unfamiliar with this change, go to this document to learn more about the architectural impact and roll out schedule. Even if you opted out of the initial roll out to OneDrive it currently looks like you will be migrated from July 2021.

Why make the change?

Once a recording is stored in OneDrive (or SharePoint) a large number of benefits are unlocked and these are listed on the web page I’ve highlighted above. To give you a taster I’ve put together the 2 minute video below, which shows how to add a retention label to a recording and how to share it with an external user. The nice thing about having recordings in OneDrive and SharePoint is that these files are managed by the same Microsoft 365 tools that you are already using for other content such as Office documents.

Note: At the time of this post there are some gaps, check out the roadmap. One thing you should be aware of is that it’s not currently possible to block the download of video files if they have been shared. A reference is provided here. If this is a problem you will probably need to review your meetings polices and SharePoint/OneDrive sharing permissions.

The following links provide a good source of additional information about “new” Stream:

Classic Stream functionality compared to new Stream, including roadmap

Add your ideas and vote for features on this Stream ideas section of the forum

Permissions or role based access to videos with new Stream

March 2021 Blog – The Next Phase For the New Version of Stream

Using Cortana to schedule Microsoft Teams Meetings

Who likes scheduling meetings? Does it burn time? Would you like someone to do it for you?

If the answer is yes to the above questions, then maybe it’s time to revisit Cortana. This has been around for a while but in case you aren’t aware Cortana provides an AI scheduling service. If you’ve not used it before it’s worth taking a look as it works! All you need to do is to register and configure your profile settings. You should be up and running in minutes and the link you need is:

Scheduler – Easy meeting scheduling (

I’ve also provided a 2 minute overview below that should help you get started.

Tip: Using the service is really intuitive but the one small piece of education needed for some attendees is to ensure they know to reply to Cortana and not directly back to you during the scheduling experience. I’ve previously used something like the example below in the email body:

“I’m going to ask Cortana to schedule our meeting, be sure to reply back to her (and not me) during the scheduling process”.

Microsoft Teams Channel Calendars

Microsoft Teams Channel Calendars provide a simple way to track meetings for a specific channel community. Entries are also integrated into personal calendars so individuals always have a single source of truth for their daily schedules.

If Teams have external Guests assigned to them, they won’t unfortunately be able to access the Channel Calendar tab. Although they will receive an invite for any meeting scheduled and it will appear in their personal Teams and Outlook calendars.

Check out this short overview demonstration to get yourself started:

Note: As is the case with meetings created directly within the channel, when you schedule using your Channel Calendar you can also invite people inside and outside of your organisation who are not part of the Team.

Microsoft Teams In-Meeting Polls using Forms

I created the video demo shared in this post to show that’s it’s really easy to add in-meeting polls to Microsoft Teams meetings using Forms. Consider this a top tip!

The polls can be created ahead of time and support anonymous responses if desired. I think this capability is really useful for anyone who wants to solicit specific feedback from their meeting attendees. If required, each Poll can be downloaded as an Excel spreadsheet.

Learn About Microsoft Teams Breakout Rooms in 5 Minutes

The Breakout Room feature in Microsoft Teams has recently been rolled out. I’ve created the ~ 5 minute video below as a short introduction.

Breakout Rooms allow meeting participants to be divided into groups and added to separate “sub-meetings” that are linked to the main meeting. This allows members of each breakout to work together for a period of time before returning to the main meeting.

For reference, the Microsoft General Availability announcement can be found here.

Enhancing Video Engagement in Teams Meetings

As you may have already have seen I’ve previously posted a couple of videos about using OBS for Live Events. If not, then check out “Network Device Interface and Microsoft Teams” and “Top Tip – Teams Live Events External Production” to learn more.

We never stop learning! During a team meeting last week my esteemed colleague Chris Haley shared how OBS (there are other encoders available) can be used to enhance presenter engagement during a Microsoft Teams Meeting. Our team then spent a couple of hours having some fun with the Technology. I’ve captured the end result below. Check this out!

If you followed this year’s Ignite announcements, then you will have already heard about the new Custom Layouts feature, which I think will probably wrap what I showed during the video directly into Teams. Even so, I still think tools like OBS will allow professional presenters to remain creative and bring even more engagement into their virtual deliveries.

If you are interested in building the meeting experience I showed above I’ve listed some high level steps below. The good news is that no GBPs were spent during the creation process and it is surprisingly easy to set up!

  1. Make sure you have a second Monitor connected to your PC/Laptop.
  2. Configure a green screen background for your webcam. I used chromacam. Just search for it on the web.
  3. Then use it to configure a Green background for your selected webcam.
  4. If you don’t have OBS studio download it. It’s free.
  5. Follow the configuration steps in above video.

Using Microsoft Teams and Bookings to enable Virtual Appointments

One side effect of the Covid-19 pandemic is that a huge amount of customer interactions in businesses and society have moved online. Assuming the technology holds up, I expect there to a place moving forward for virtual appointments across a whole diverse range of business types, ranging from healthcare to financial services.

Microsoft 365 Bookings is an application designed to help customers create and manage virtual appointments using Microsoft Teams. It comes in two flavours, a web portal and a Microsoft Teams application experience. The Teams App provides a sub set of the functionality that’s exposed in the web interface but is a great tool to use for the scheduling experience.

Any change made in either Teams or the Web is reflected in the other interface. As you might expect the Staff and Calendar components are tightly integrated into AAD and Exchange respectively.

I recently created this overview for one of the engagements I’ve been working on. Hopefully it will be of interest:

To learn more about Microsoft Bookings, check out the documentation.

Network Device Interface and Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams has recently added support for Network Device Interface (NDI), which is a LAN based IP Video broadcast technology. You can learn more about the mechanics of NDI here.

The first use cases I’ve started to see for NDI in Teams revolve around providing and consuming content to/from third party encoders to assist with the production of Live Events. For example, a Live Event producer can pull individual video streams out of a Teams meeting and add them as discrete sources within an encoder (such as OBS), then stream these into a Live Event broadcast.

This is really useful as it provides an easy way to insert additional video production content into a Town Hall or Broadcast event.

NDI support in the Microsoft Teams client is controlled via an admin policy. Refer to the Microsoft Docs if you want to learn more.

If you want to run through an introduction on producing Live Events with an external encoder, check out my previous post: Teams Live Events External Production.

Microsoft Teams Channel Meetings – Before During and After

In a previous blog I provided an an example of the Microsoft Teams Meeting Lifecycle for a private internal meeting. In this post I’m sharing some video content I’ve created for a Channel Meeting scenario.

In addition to the Meeting Lifecycle, some of the key points this demonstration highlights are: Multi-Factor Authentication and Terms of Use applied to Guest Access, Integrated App Experiences and the Richer Meeting Privileges afforded to Guest users.