Microsoft Ignite Updates Explained

Klarinet Solutions virtually hosts Tech Talks for our clients and partners, discussing various topics around Microsoft 365 and the modern digital workplace. In our most recent Tech Talk, Michelle Willard, Digital Workplace Consultant at Klarinet Solutions, led the 2021 Microsoft Ignite Conference’s main discussion. This year Microsoft Ignite took place on March 2-4, 2021. Through this virtual conference, there were various announcements and feature updates, especially for Microsoft Team. This article will review the Ignite Conference and break down the updates that pertain to Microsoft Teams, Power Platform, SharePoint, and even Microsoft Mesh. Let us get started:

Microsoft TeamsMicrosoft Viva Review 

Microsoft recently launched the start of a new Microsoft Teams-based workforce integration system. Overall, Microsoft Viva is an integrated employee experience platform (EXP) designed to uplift your employees and remote teams to be their best. Viva brings together Connections, Insights, Topics, and Learning within the flow of everyday work with the intention of empowering employees to be productive, learn new skills, and feel connected to their organization, all from their homes. Here is a quick breakdown of the four main Viva features:

  • Viva Connections – Keeps everyone informed, connected, and inspired with personalized dashboards and other features that replicate the in-house experience.
  • Viva Insights – Gives leaders, managers, data-driven executives privacy protected insights on users that help the organization work smart and move in the right direction
  • Viva Topics – Opens up time by leveraging AI and making it easy for people to find information, handle other resources, and put knowledge to work
  • Viva Learning – Brings internal education, training modules, and skills-building app at the forefront of your workforce and promotes continual career development and learning.

Microsoft Viva is a big deal for organizations who have chosen to retain their work-from-home processes or transition to hybrid working strategies. If you are interested in learning how to fully leverage Microsoft Viva, we break down Microsoft Viva’s – Key Features, Timelines, and Pricing – Microsoft Viva in Teams.

Microsoft Teams Meeting Enhancement 

New Teams features are available to empower presenters, deliver content more professionally, and offer meeting participants dynamic experiences to keep participants more engaged. Here are five new exciting Teams video meeting enhancements that will be available soon.

1. Dynamic View – Coming Soon

Presenters can filter through different meeting presentation views. This will allow the presenter to arrange their chatbox, presentation view, and meeting participants for optimal presentation etiquette.

2. View Switcher – Coming Soon

With this feature, users can take control and tailor the meeting view. The dynamic view will switch your view to give you the best experience. However, if you prefer another view, you can move it around as you see fit. View Switcher will be available for you to access on the top left of your screen.

3. Presenter Mode – Coming Soon

Microsoft Teams is taking digital presentations to a new level and bringing back the in-person feeling by bringing presenters seamlessly into the screen. Three new options are coming soon:

  • Standout shows the speaker’s video feed in front of the shared content.
  • Reporter displays content as a visual aid above the speaker’s shoulder.
  • Side-by-side frames the presenter’s video feed alongside their content as they present.

4. PowerPoint Live in Teams – Generally Available Now

Presenters often share their desktops in virtual meetings; however, this often prevents the audience from being able to interact with presentation content. With PowerPoint Live in Teams, presenters can now deliver more inclusive experiences and lead meetings more confidently with notes, slides, meeting chat, and participants all in a single view. Also, you can have a more interactive exchange with other presenters who want to take control or speak in a meeting. Attendees can personalize their experience by privately flickering through content at their own pace or using the high-contrast mode to make content more accessible. Find a friend and begin to play around with PowerPoint Live in Teams.

5. Live Reactions – Coming Soon

Live Reactions are displayed more holistically and socially. Whenever meeting participants react, you can see it slowly arise on the bottom of the presenter’s screen or team meeting.

More Teams Meeting Controls

  • Invite Only – Coming This Month

Invite-only meeting controls help ensure that invitations are not forwarded, and only intended participants join a meeting.

  • Disabled Attendee video and chat controls – Coming May

This Teams feature limits potential disruptions and allows the host to turn off the cameras across the board. Additionally, hosts can control who and how users communicate within team meeting chats.

  • End-to-end encryption for 1:1 Teams calls – GA for Commercial Customer Coming Soon

Teams will provide end-to-end encryption for organizations to help users meet their security and compliance requirements by providing an option to conduct sensitive virtual conversations. For example, hosting an executive call discussing confidential passwords or sensitive product information. With this feature, you will have the ability to run these Team meetings with End-to-End Encryption.

New Teams Management Capabilities

  • Remote Device Provisioning – Coming Soon

With this feature, you will be able to set up teams’ on Android devices remotely from the Teams admin center. Instead, once the Mac address is added to the Teams admin center, technicians just need to install a device and connect to a network to gain access.

  • Real-time Telemetry – Coming First Half of 2021

If you are experiencing a bad meeting view or video resolution, you can quickly see what is going on in real-time by going to your Teams Admin Center – Meeting Report. This report will explain the issue and whether it’s a network loss, video jitter, or something else.

  • App Risk Evaluation – Coming Soon

Administrators who have decided to pull apps within Teams, you now have this ability to run a risk test on the apps you plan to include within your system. Overall security, potential threats, and compliance needs will be reviewed to ensure they follow your organization’s standards.

Additional Microsoft Teams Updates

Microsoft Teams Connect – Coming Soon

Microsoft Teams Connect is for those administrators who have partners, customers, suppliers, or other guests and need access to your Teams environment. You will have the capability of sharing specific channels with guests who are outside or inside (someone not in your team/department) of your organization.  This feature will appear in the guests’ Team environment. This will give admins granular control to validate and manage how guest users access your teams’ data and information. Meanwhile, guests will have the ability to collaboratively chat, join meetings, and participate in app building and document co-authoring. Administrators will also be able to only add guests to a single channel instead of an entire team. Microsoft Teams Connect is currently in private preview and will be available for public preview and general availability later this year.

Microsoft Teams Connect

Microsoft Teams Webinar – Coming This Month

There is a good possibility that customers will longer need to rely on Zoom for mass meetings or public facing webinars.  The Teams Webinar experience will provide (1) attendee registration form with email confirmations, (2) 1,000 participant webinars with moderation controls and interactive features, (3) 20,000 attendee view-only broadcasts, and (4) attendee reporting list and analytics. As we navigate through remote and hybrid work environments, most organizations will rely on mass virtual conference meeting capabilities like this.

2021 Microsoft Ignite - Teams Webinar

Teams Mobile Experience Enhancements – Generally Available Now

If you are leveraging Teams on your mobile device, you will see several improvements to Teams Mobile Experience Enhancements. First, you will see better access to files stored in Teams while offline. Secondly, there will be a search experience upgrade with built-in suggestions and content displayed. But most importantly, you will have the opportunity to pin chats, trim GIFs, leverage user-friendly chat options, and access tons of new emojis.  2021 Microsoft Ignite - Teams Mobile App Enhancements

SharePoint Online

SharePoint App Bar – Generally Available Now

Another intuitive feature that is beginning to be rolled out in tenants is the SharePoint App Bar. The app bar will feature a link back to your home site, as well as link to your recent and followed sites, news from your sites, and recommended sites. Ultimately, this feature will allow you to carry an app bar wherever you go within your intranet. You will find this tool on the left side of your SharePoint home page.

SharePoint App Bar

Microsoft Power Platform

  • Power Fx – Coming Soon

Power Fx is an open-source new programming language, low code solution, and based on Microsoft Excel. This is meant for average developers who are looking to build awesome apps and workflows without the headache of needing to understand tedious code.

  • Power Automate for Desktop – Generally Available Now

Power Automate for Desktop will be generally available within Windows 10 for users starting March 2021. With this new release users can now:

    1. Automate seamlessly with the drag and drop designer
    2. Start with hundreds of prebuilt web automation
    3. Create flows that validate on their own
    4. Monitor flows easily with centralized logs
    5. Record your desktop view and web actions in a single flow
  • Power BI Premium – Coming April 2021

The Power BI Premium tool includes architectural updates for performance, stability, and security. Power BI Premium enables analysts and business data users to create, manage, and analyze business intelligence (BI) reporting. For enterprises and IT admins, Power BI Premium offers major improvements in governance and scale with features like Microsoft-owned resource management, utilization metrics, autoscale, and integrated security.

Power Platform

Microsoft Mesh

New Mixed-Reality Platform – Coming Soon

Microsoft really blew its audience back with the announcement of its new mixed-reality platform, Microsoft Mesh. This platform powers collaborative experiences with a feeling of being anywhere and physically present with one another even when they are not. People can virtually interact with 3D content or engage with one another through Mesh-enabled apps across any platform or device – including Microsoft HoloLens, virtual reality (VR) headsets, smartphones, tablets, or PCs.  Microsoft Mesh can be used to collaborate in-person, train together from anywhere or design business solutions. Microsoft Mesh is also designed to connect people across various devices and platforms as they engage with mixed reality, enabling them to participate and create as one through immersive experiences. Users will be able to connect as avatars or as holographic versions of themselves, build an ordinary understanding with shared 3D content, and leverage a common identity across platforms, all powered by the enterprise-grade security of the Azure cloud.

Looking to Enable These Microsoft 365 Updates Across Your Organization?

Microsoft Office 365 has become a full suite of collaboration, intelligence, and productivity tools. Nonetheless, the abundance of built-in applications and consistent updates can make it overwhelming when deciding what tool to use and what strategy is best. Here at Klarinet Solutions, we are eliminating the difficulties that come with adopting, governing, and managing a modern Microsoft 365 environment. We make work simple, intuitive and get you to leverage the right Microsoft 365 tools at the right time, for the right reason. Feel free to contact us and get advice from one of our digital workplace experts on any Microsoft Ignite Update or other modern workplace concerns you may have.

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