Your Weekly Microsoft 365 News

What’s new in Microsoft Teams in June

We’ve covered all the big new Teams announcements over the last few weeks, including Large Gallery support (aka 7×7 view) on episode 34, when Emily Kirby from Microsoft joined us to talk about the feature.

Microsoft Teams 7x7

However, in Microsoft’s latest Teams announcements, there are a few useful nuggets that escaped the roadmap and other announcements:

  • Priority notifications will remain part of Teams – originally planned to become and E3+ feature, but made available to all customer for free until mid-2020, Microsoft have decided to keep this functionality for free in all versions on an ongoing basis.
  • Surface Hub gets new features – The latest Teams client for Surface Hub brings the new 3×3 gallery view to the Surface Hub as the headline feature. In addition, Surface Hub also gets the ability to make and receive PSTN calls and via “Meet Now”, you can call externally federated Teams and Skype users.
  • Cisco and Avaya join Microsoft’s list of certified Direct Routing vendors. If you have purchased Cisco CUBE SBCs, to connect your Cisco Unified Call Manager System to other PBXs, then you will be able to connect 1000-Series and 4000-series devices to Microsoft Teams. Avaya was also announced as being certified, but as of today, the official documentation doesn’t state which models.
  • A little more detail on Breakout Rooms has been released – Microsoft now state that the breakout room functionality, announced early in June, will:
    • Allow meeting organizers to assign participants into rooms, either automatically or prompting them to join
    • Allow complementary functionality to allow participants to request the organizer to join, and allow organizers to jump between breakout rooms
    • Allow organizers to make announcements to breakout rooms
    • Allow organizers to recall all participants back to the main meeting at any time
    • And share any content worked on back to the main meeting.
  • Teams Phone Edition gets new featuresA number of new useful features come in the latest firmware update for Teams phones this week:
    • A new people app – effectively the directory on a desk phone is now included
    • The Practical 365 Podcast: Ep 36 – Special Guest Tony Redmond on Office 365 for IT Pros 2021
    • During meetings people can use Live Captions and “Raise Hand” on the phone
    • When transferring a call (often performed with the dedicated transfer button) you’ll now see a list of recent contacts
    • You can pair, via Bluetooth, your phone to your PC using a new “Manage Devices” option, allowing the phone to automatically lock and unlock with the PC
    • Automatic dismissal of rate my call and call ended screens
    • And finally, interoperability allowing calling to Skype Consumer accounts.
  • You can read Microsoft’s round up, covering all the existing news we discussed in detail in the previous podcasts – and these new announcements here.

The 2021 version of Office 365 for IT Pros has been released

Office 365 for IT Pros book

We reviewed last year’s edition of Office 365 for IT Pros and it’s a book that comes highly recommended by Practical 365. This year’s edition comes with a long-list of updates, including re-writes of some content, and new chapters covering areas like adoption that have become even more important over the last few years.

Tony Redmond, lead author of the book, joins us on the show today to discuss what life is like without visiting conferences, and tells us more about the book.

In the interview Tony talks about the major changes in this edition and what happens with the book and each edition over the course of it’s life. Tony also explains how the writing team, which also includes Paul Robichaux, Jauan Carlos Gonzalez, Stale Hanse, Brian Desmond, Gustavo Velez and Vasil Michev use Microsoft 365 to organize the content and work together.

We also asked Tony to explain the value of a book like this – similar to a living Exchange Inside Out volume – in the context of so many blogs, articles and improved Microsoft documentation.

You can buy the latest edition, which includes updates until July 2021. Tony recommends getting the ePub version over the version on Amazon, as it enables quicker and easier access to regular updates.

Microsoft launch the public preview of unattended scripts for Exchange Online PowerShell v2

Many IT professionals – including writers on the site, Ingo and Vasil, have long been awaiting a secure way to use modern authentication – including MFA protected accounts – to run scripts against Exchange Online.

The new functionality released into preview this week is aimed at allowing the ability to run non-interactive scripts – I.e. those that don’t require a user to sign-in or accept an MFA prompt.

This uses the new “Secure App Model” where you register your application with Azure AD, then connect to Exchange Online using the new Exchange Online PowerShell V2 module to connect using certificate-based authentication.Fellow MVP and Practical 365 writer has a great intro article, over on the Quadrotech Blog here, showing you how you can start using this functionality.

Read more about the new functionality from Microsoft over on the Exchange Team Blog.

The Android Enterprise Security Configuration framework, for Intune has been released

In episode 33, we talked about how the Android “Device Administrator” mode for Intune management is being deprecated and will be removed, in line with Google announcing the move to the Android Enterprise Model.

To help organizations understand how they should use Android Enterprise, Microsoft have released guidance on how to use the different type of profiles available, including the “Work Profile”, typically for personal devices that need a clear separation between work and personal data, and the fully managed device configuration, recommended for corporate owned and managed devices.

The aim of the framework is to help IT administrators and architects decide upon the right model to use when designing and deploying Intune for their Android estate:

You can read the article, by Ross Smith IV (who joined us on last week’s show) here.

Interesting announcements on the Roadmap and Message Center

Teams to retire support for Android 4.4 on August 1st 2020

  • Microsoft will no longer support updates or provide support for Teams running on older Android devices, running version 4.4 or earlier.
    • The latest version of the client that will be compatible is and will continue to run for the next two months, but no further updates will be made available.

Large Gallery view begins rollout and will include Mac, iOS and Android

  • As mentioned in episode 34 the new functionality for 7×7 meetings was scheduled to arrive in June in the “preview” mode for Teams – which is still absent in the current client.
    • This has moved slightly out to July, but is rolling out now.
    • The interesting item that we didn’t get confirmation on dates for is support for mobile clients, which is set to be available in production by the end of August

Additional information Tasks in Teams is set to roll out with more details available as to what this means:

Tasks in Teams info
  • Microsoft previously announced that Tasks would be the central location for seeing Planner and ToDo items within Teams.
    • What this actually means is that the Planner application will be updated and renamed
    • First, this will be renamed to “Tasks by Planner and To Do” with a new logo
    • After “a few months”, this will then be renamed to just “Tasks”.
    • Expect to see this in July with completion scheduled for August (a slip from June and mid-July, respectively)

Microsoft transition the Dynamics 365, Power Automate and Power Apps admin centers to the Power Platform Admin Center

  • As of this week, the Dynamics 365 and respective Power Apps and Power Automate admin centers become deprecated and the Dynamics 365 admin center will be disabled on the 31st July
    • However, the admin center links remain within the new portal, redirecting you back to the legacy portals, so keep an eye on your tenant to see if the change scheduled in the message center rolls out as quickly as suggested in your tenant.

SharePoint adds UX improvements for content editors

  • If your organization maintains an intranet then ease of use is key, for non-technical users who spend a lot of time creating, editing and curating communications.
    • A simple-sounding addition, but one with a big impact is a new feature for SharePoint Online launching this month for making it easier to add images to the canvas.
    • Users will now be able to drag and drop, or copy and paste images directly into webparts, rather than upload and select images.
    • Read more about this here.
    • Available this month (July 2020)

Planner gets functionality for app-based sharing of tasks and plans in the mobile apps

  • Heavy users of To Do will no-doubt be familiar with the ability to share task lists easily in the mobile apps.
    • Similar functionality is coming to iOS and Android Planner clients allowing users to share a link to either an individual task, or the plan itself.
    • Available this month (July 2020)

Office 365 ATP: Customization for Quarantine Notification and Alerts

  • For you tenant, you can customize components to quarantine notifications and alerts:
    • organization logo
    • custom display name
    • custom disclaimer
    • Available this month (July 2020)

About the Author

Steve Goodman

Technology Writer and Chief Editor for AV Content at Practical 365, focused on Microsoft 365. A 12-time Microsoft MVP, author of several technology books and regular Microsoft conference speaker. Steve works at Advania in the UK as Field Chief Technology Officer, advising business and IT on the best way to get the most from Microsoft Cloud technology.

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