Microsoft Teams Connect shared channels is rolling out to public preview

If you’ve read Tony Redmond’s article on Diving into the Details of Teams Shared Channels, then you might be getting rather excited about when you’ll be able to begin getting some experience with Shared Channels and evaluating whether it’s something you’ll deploy. The great news is that Teams Connect Shared Channels is rolling out to Public Preview.

On the podcast, we talked about how Teams Shared Channels is designed to be most useful – primarily for multi-person relationships on both sides of a company partnership, where one side is typically the owner of that relationship; an example could be bringing in a marketing agency to work with your marketing team and needing a place for 20-30 external people to regularly and consistently work together with your team in your tenant, without them needing to constantly switch tenants.

Teams Connect Shared Channels rolls out to preview

Teams Meeting Room Device News

Firstly, Operator Connect Mobile has been announced. This is really interesting if you’ve encountered the fork in the road for Teams Voice where someone asks, “but if we’re giving everyone mobile phones, why do they need two numbers?”. Whilst that makes a lot of sense, mobiles aren’t always great in an office environment or in the home office. This new feature, delivered with certain operator connect partners, enables a single SIM-enabled number to be used for both Teams calls and mobile phones.

Single SIM-enabled Number for Teams calls, Mobile & Desk Phones

Operator Connect Mobile – a single SIM enabled number for Teams calling and mobile0

Whilst we’ve covered most of these on Practical 365 and on the podcast before, Microsoft have announced the roll-out of several new meeting features aimed at hybrid work. This includes further roll-out for intelligent speakers – to non-US customers – which will be especially useful for those who’ve deployed meeting rooms with this capability but haven’t been able to actually use the intelligent speaker functionality yet.

Elevating hybrid experiences with Microsoft Teams Rooms and Teams devices

And the Surface Hub 2 Smart Camera launches as an add-on for improving the Microsoft Teams Rooms experience, when using a Surface Hub 2, much better. This isn’t the Intelligent Camera feature announced at the last Ignite conference, but it appears highly likely that this $799 add-on camera is equipped to support it in the future. At launch, this provides automatic re-framing to focus on speakers by detecting faces and automatic tilt compensation for improving the experience due to having the camera on the top of the Surface Hub 2.

Whilst older generation cameras that support person tracking have been around for some time, the face detection AI model is probably the bigger indicator that this could support Intelligent Cameras in the future; as there’s certainly a big difference between older vendor cameras that see the movement in a room and frame or frame based on indicated voice position; the face detection model loaded into the camera itself, via an AI co-processor, could be thought of as a first step down this road.

Microsoft launches the Surface Hub 2 Smart Camera

Third-party add-in support for Every Meeting Online

Less important for Teams admins but certainly more useful if you are an Exchange Online house but use a different meeting solution today. Every Meeting Online is a useful feature if you want meeting invites to have a meeting link created by default; enabling this will mean that supported client-side add-ins, such as Zoom, will automatically be leveraged by Outlook when a user creates a meeting.

How to enable third-party support for every meeting online

Upcoming changes to license re-assignment in Exchange Online

And finally, Exchange Online gets some changes to license re-assignment that are fairly unlikely to affect you, but you should be aware of. This change affects what happens when you remove a user license, then re-assign it after 30 days, in particular in cases where you off-board the mailbox back to on-premises.

Changes to license re-assignment in Exchange Online

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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