On the show this week, I’m joined by new Microsoft MVP and Practical 365 writer, Mike Weaver as co-host since Paul Robichaux is away this week, and of course Mike does a sterling job providing perspective on the week’s news alongside myself. Later in the episode though, Paul dropped in for our chat with Microsoft’s Greg Taylor – who is back on the technical side of Microsoft Exchange Online working on solving one of today’s most important issues – getting rid of Basic Authentication.
Plus as always in addition to the latest news in the world of Microsoft 365 we’ve got the most important Message Center updates and what’s up and coming in the Roadmap…
New in Microsoft Teams
If you’ve deployed Microsoft Teams Rooms and have been following Microsoft’s vision for transforming meetings, then the latest updates will be extremely interesting. Multi-screen dynamic view – so video feeds, dynamically laid out and resized across two screens is rolling out now. The specific MTR features include the ability to show multiple spotlighted people, pinning meeting participants on the room display, controls for large meetings, chat bubbles showing on the MTR, the ability to lock the meeting, presenter mode support – and ad-hoc casting.
Teams Phone devices get more of a makeover – Microsoft suggest that they are getting a modern makeover, but to be fair – Microsoft Teams Phones are pretty modern anyway. Controls to make it easy to transfer a phone call in Teams from the desk phone to a mobile, a new “Walkie Talkie” mode – or as Mike suggests – could be used as an intercom feature – and additional “Better Together” features for mute/unmute of the phone from the desktop client.
On top of these features – Microsoft have crossed off more features on people’s most wanted list. Quoted replies to messages have arrived, make it easier in a Teams chat to quote the message you meant to reply to and avoid confusion. 1-1 transcription and recording of calls, the ability to restart a live event and a new feature making it easier for people to present from PowerPoint into Microsoft Teams – a button in the top right of the PowerPoint app will begin sharing the PowerPoint deck in PowerPoint Live.
New in Microsoft 365 productivity apps
The new Whiteboard has arrived
We discuss how whiteboarding has to change in a modern hybrid workplace – when people are remote in meetings, whilst there are features like Content Camera – a.k.a the magic whiteboard – which help remote attendees see what you are drawing, they aren’t good for collaboration. As a remote attendee, explaining to the person in front of a physical whiteboard that you want that circle just a little bigger isn’t going to be a fun experience. And the existing Whiteboard app is great if you are adept with a pen on a Surface Hub or a tablet, but not so great on a desktop PC. The new whiteboard improves the existing experience by using the concept of a whiteboard but adapting it to easy use on multiple device factors; so if you are just using a keyboard and mouse it is still useful and you’ll look professional.
Planner features improve to better manage tasks
Mike Weaver in particular is pleased to see new feature to allow you to move tasks between Planner boards outside of a single Microsoft 365 Group. This is useful for folks like Mike who work across many teams and need to move tasks around, often resorting to copying and pasting data. And Planner also gets recommendations. That’s not simply “a Planner board that maybe might be interesting, but in particular stuff that’s relevant, like plans where you’ve been assigned a task.
…and Yammer gets Facebook-style nested replies to threads
Yammer is a little like Teams – with features like quoted replies arriving some time after people first asked for them in Teams and Yammer only just getting nested replies to message threads. This is certainly useful and something I’ll use. I do wonder whether Teams adoption and Teams features have made Yammer slightly less relevant than it could have been, as features like this that differentiate the experience and are more in-line with social networks are a long overdue necessity. However congratulations to the Yammer group on delivering this – in threads I’m posting in at work today, this feature will certainly be useful and I’m sure it will be for others.
New Exchange On-Premises features, and changes to Exchange Online on the way
The September 2021 quarterly updates arrive with changes plus new features
Ever had to try and remember /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms? Ever spelt it wrong? I have – in fact I did as I wrote it then, accidentally writing Exchagne and spelling license the British way, licence. Good news. No longer do you need to remember that switch.
Instead, you’ll need to remember two new switches. /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms_DiagnosticDataON and /IAcceptExchangeServerLicenseTerms_DiagnosticDataOFF.
As I say on the show – it’s a pity we can’t, given that the person running the installer probably isn’t able to actually accept Microsoft’s license terms on behalf of the business, dispense with the switch, and perhaps pick a default for the diagnostic data (off, maybe?). But – realistically, how many Exchange installations are you doing these days?
In much better news, Microsoft introduce the new Microsoft Exchange Emergency Mitigation Service which requires an additional pre-requisites installation (the IIS URL Rewrite module v2) installed, and connectivity to https://officeclient.microsoft/getexchangemitigations from the Exchange Server. It connects on an hourly basis and if there is mitigations, Exchange will download and apply them. Read more about the new feature on Microsoft Docs (linked above) or on the Exchange Team blog.
Exchange Online Unlimited Archives are no longer quite so unlimited
A problem perhaps for you further down the line – Microsoft will be removing the word “unlimited” from the auto-expanding archive features and setting a limit of 1.5TB – so a combined total of 1.6TB including the 100GB primary mailbox.
I discuss this with Mike, as working at Quadrotech in the past, he’s been aware of some large legacy archive migrations, as have I working with clients. I’ve heard of mailboxes reaching nearly a terabyte – and also seen customers with large archives totally several hundred gigabytes, but don’t routinely see archives of that size.
Often as customers move to Microsoft 365, there’s a good opportunity to stop filling mailboxes with the types of items that consume lots of space, like attachments, too. If you aren’t making use of what was once known as “modern attachments” and have been around for so long, they aren’t “modern” anymore – then re-think this. A move to Microsoft 365 is supposed to reduce email traffic where possible, and change the way conversations are had, using the right tool for the right job. This should result in mailbox growth slowing down, and therefore a limit of 1.5TB shouldn’t be a problem, even for your current “big users” of email.
You’ll find this in the message center, under MC288051
Autodiscover might have an implementation flaw affecting some clients
I won’t rewrite the post I published the other day – but in summary, credential theft is a massive problem, DNS-based discovery protocols are ripe for abuse anyway and you should solve the underlying problem by moving to Modern Authentication (or Hybrid Modern Auth on prem), or better still Modern Auth with MFA, or even better move to Passwordless.
You’ll probably know Greg Taylor from his Exchange Client Access leadership, more recently as PMM for Exchange and he’s now responsible for helping kill off Basic Authentication (or as you might know it, legacy authentication) in Exchange Online.
Microsoft’s Greg Taylor joins us to talk Exchange + Basic Authentication
The death of basic authentication was originally planned for last year, but Microsoft pushed this out due to COVID and customers simply not having enough time, given the situation, to get ready. On the show, Greg talks us through the new timelines, and what Microsoft are doing on their side to begin switching things off.
You can read more about this on the Exchange Team blog in the Basic Authentication and Exchange Online – September 2021 Update – Microsoft Tech Community
Key Message Center and Roadmap updates
Finally on the show today we ran through some of the most important message center and roadmap updates that didn’t make this week’s top stories:
- Content Camera in Teams Desktop is aimed not at the “magic whiteboard” use case, though it can be used for that – it’s helping primarily for scenarios such as being able to use a document camera mounted over a document to project to an audience. This is useful for scenarios like remote learning, in particular and is rolling out right now.
- Hardware support for AJA and Blackmagic devices allows SDI-based output of individual meeting video streams in a similar way to NDI. This is expected to be fully rolled out by mid-October, and we expect a follow-up from Microsoft soon to clarify exactly which devices are compatible.
- Viva Learning will move to general availability late October, completing by mid-November. Preview customers will move to the full free version which includes access to full content libraries in Microsoft Learn, and 125 LinkedIn Learning content courses. For additional features and functionality, premium licenses will be be required, and for preview customers – user data will be deleted if you don’t move to a free trial or add premium licenses within 3 days of GA in early November.
- Pin your video… or hide your video – in two Roadmap updates, you’ll first of all be able to pin your own video on a meeting, and maybe use Teams like a big mirror in the meeting (if you want!). If you don’t like staring at yourself – then you can choose to hide your video whilst keeping the camera on. Both arrive next month in November.
- Teams on VDI gets additional features including application screen sharing on Citrix environments, this December, and live captions on Azure Virtual Desktop and VMware.
- Outlook on Android becomes your own, personal PA. Like Outlook on iOS, the ability to dictate email messages should have arrived. Checking on a new install, it’s not there just yet on my Android device though – but I look forward to testing it.
Join us in two weeks’ time for the next show – and keep following Practical 365 for more real-world advice on implementing Microsoft 365 technologies.