Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Microsoft Inspire 2022

At Inspire 2022 Microsoft announced the following features for Microsoft Teams. 

See this article for more information on all these new features:

Microsoft Inspire 2022: Innovations coming to Teams

Other exiting news from Inspire includes:

From enabling hybrid work to creating collaborative experiences—here’s what’s new in Microsoft 365

Microsoft Cloud for Sovereignty: The most flexible and comprehensive solution for digital sovereignty

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

Ignite 2021 - BRK205 - Prepare for the future of calling with Microsoft Teams Phone

Presented by: Scott Van Vliet and Daniela Chocron

Session summary: Out of necessity, most organizations have made investments in their virtual meetings solutions over the past 18 months, yet many still need to modernize their calling solutions. At the same time, the telephony space is experiencing tectonic shifts, including a move to IP-based calling. Come learn how Teams Phone provides both a modern calling experience for users, and an easy-to-manage solution that Admins can equip their organizations with.

My Notes:

A "phone" has many forms - desk phone, computer, Teams display and mobile phone, but the main concept is the same quick, spontaneous and straight forward connections. Some 80 million people are currently using Teams to make phone calls. Since VoIP calls between organizations are increasing it is apparent that you need a system featuring federation to make calls, chat or use video or screen sharing in calls.

Announcing a first-party voice channel for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service.

More on this in the session BRK234: Introducing Voice Channel for Dynamics 365 Customer Service

There are already 8 Contact Center solutions certified with Microsoft Teams and another 12 in the works, and two of them are also "made in Sweden"! 

Music on hold will soon be available for VoIP calls both during consult and transfer scenarios, and Location based bandwidth controls is also soon to be released.

Channels are a place in Teams where work gets done, and that is why Voice enabled channels makes a lot of sense, like a natural "group call pickup" group.

New Teams Displays form factors such as Yealink deskVision AIO24 with a 24-inch screen are coming.

The SIP Gateway that will allow you to use older legacy SIP phones is due in November 2021.

In addition to Direct Routing and Calling Plans, Operator Connect was released in September.

Finally we can stop misplacing dongles everywhere.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Ignite 2021 - BRK201 - Office: The universal interactive canvas for all creators

Presented by: Wangui McKelvey

Session summary: Creators of every kind want to create and collaborate easily and in real time. Microsoft Loop brings boundary-less creation and collaboration to life. Microsoft Editor is business-aware, helping you find, create, and share ideas and content more seamlessly than ever before. Clipchamp empowers everyone to create beautiful, professional-looking videos. Come see how we are reimagining Office and bringing together the best of human creation, collaboration, and cloud-powered AI.

My Notes:

Office is more than just Word, Execl, PowerPoint - Teams is part of Office as well. The times are changing and Office as well to become more collaborative. A great summary of the presentation by Wangui can be found here: Microsoft Office—Transforming for the hybrid world

Seven new features and also the agenda of this session

New in Office

PowerPoint Live have changed how we present in Teams. Microsoft’s Cameo feature in PowerPoint will allow you to integrate your Teams camera feed into your presentation. Speaker coach in Microsoft Teams will be available in early 2022, but you can use speaker coach in PowerPoint already today.

The three elements of Loop: 

  • Loop Components - Atomic units of productivity
  • Loop Pages - Brings components, links, task and collaborates together
  • Loop Workspaces - Bring everything important to your project in a shared space

Loop will eventually be available in many Office clients but coming first to Teams and Outlook. Demos of the loop components Voting table and Status tracker were in the session.

In the loop.

Context IQ takes AI-based suggestions for writing in Microsoft 365 to the next level. It will predict your words and suggest documents and email addresses of collaborators in real-time as you write.

Clipchamp - a new member of this Office family - helps you create videos with confidence.

A new experience in will help you find content in Office Online easier.

A nice demo of the Recording studio in PowerPoint.

Thursday, November 4, 2021

Ignite 2021 - OD108 - Microsoft Viva Learning is now available: What you need to know

Presented by: John Mighell and Saurabh Gaur

Session summary: Viva Learning brings learning into the flow of work. But what does that mean? Join us for a breakdown of key Viva Learning features, integrations, capabilities, and future roadmap as we celebrate the public availability of this highly anticipated new Viva product.

My Notes:

Viva Learning Overview

Three main pillars of Viva Learning

General availability details

Viva Learning is already in your tenant



  • Cornerstone on Demand
  • SABA
  • SAP SuccessFactors (talked about the integration in this session)
  • + others coming soon

3rd party learning providers

  • Pluralsight
  • edX
  • Coursera
  • Udemy
  • Skillsoft (talked about learning in the flow of work)
  • and more...

    ...and coming soon...
  • Harward Business Publishing
  • edcast
  • Udacity
  • OpenSesame

Product demo

The Viva Learning app with the Personal progress section

  • Courses can be filtered by duration
  • See the status of courses recommended by you
  • Viva Learning as a message extension
  • The admin section in the app
  • How to add SharePoint content to Viva Learning


Future Roadmap

Lots of good things coming to Viva Learning


Announcement blog post:

Licensing and pricing:

Viva Learning Webinar:

Ignite 2021 - OD103 - What's new in Microsoft Teams management and security

Presented by: Ronit Ben Sheffer and John Gruszczyk

Session summary: We will be sharing some of the latest updates across Teams management and security, including several new capabilities that can help you better manage and protect your Teams collaboration environment.

My Notes:

What's new in Teams Security in the last year

The features in black are already launched
and the ones in blue are being announced now at Ignite.

What's new in Teams manageability

Teams Admin Center UI

  • Interface improvements (the left navigation bar)
  • Teams admin center search
  • Home page customization
  • Export data

The external access settings recently changed

A search function is coming to the Admin center

App Management

  • Admin app discovery (categories in the store)
  • User requests for apps (a counter of how many users requested)
  • Setup policy enhancements (assign to group)

Many types of devices that need to be managed

Device Management

  • New device types support (Surface hub, SIP phones)
  • Monitor and manage device health
  • Workspace management (define "rooms" with multiple devices)
  • Scoped Teams device Administration role (Administrative Units scoped by locations)
  • Device managed services (

Reporting and Analytics

  • Device analytics dashboard (health, utilization, and performance)
  • Device management alerts (send to channel or via webhook)
  • Realtime telemetry for meetings (demo in this session)
  • Priority accounts collaboration experience monitoring

The coming Device analytics dashboard

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Ignite 2021 - BRK202 - Microsoft Teams: Thrive with hybrid work

Presented by: Nicole Herskowitz

Session summary: Many organizations are wondering "What is our path forward?" as we enter the hybrid work era. A big part of that answer is Microsoft Teams. Join us for a session that explores the upcoming landscape for Microsoft Teams, as we outline why Microsoft Teams is the place to be for hybrid work.


My Notes: 

Nicole started with describing how she looks - to be inclusive. The agenda will revolve around three main concepts: Connect, Collaborate and Context.


Connect (on your terms)

Microsoft Teams is where 250 million people come to work, and currently some 80 million people are also Teams phone users. Post-pandemic 70% of workers want flexible remote work options to continue and 65% also want more in-person time with their teams. So, workers want flexibility of where and how they work, and that is where hybrid work enabled by Microsoft Teams comes in.


Microsoft recently added

Mesh for Microsoft Teams will enable 2D and 3D meeting experiences with personal avatars. Immersive spaces will resemble physical spaces such as conference rooms, design canters and networking lounges. These meeting spaces will work well with your existing laptop or phone but will also be open for virtual reality headsets. Mesh will enter preview in the first half of 2022. For more information: Mesh for Microsoft Teams aims to make collaboration in the ‘metaverse’ personal and fun

The 2D version of Mesh with an Avatar - or "foreground blur" as I call it.

Meeting improvements

  • Ordering of raised hands
  • Mute notifications
  • Hide your own video stream
  • Roles in the meeting invite
  • The menu in Teams mobile meetings improved


Conference Rooms / Microsoft Teams Rooms

Today only 8% of the 90 million conference rooms in the world are video enabled. Microsoft Teams Rooms are designed for the people NOT in the room, meetings should be inclusive.

Intelligent Speakers - Speakers that recognize who is talking.

Intelligent Cameras - Camera  that recognize people

  • AI powered speaker tracking
  • Multiple video streams
  • People recognition

Teams Rooms are now available on Surface Hub, and soon Surface Hubs will be manageable from the Teams Admin center. Hotdesking on Teams displays are coming soon to various hardware.

Intelligent cameras will know who is in the room and add them to the roster.


Collaborate (new Teams innovations that help you work better together)

85% of business decision makers regularly collaborate with customers, partners and vendors.


Teams connect features (coming in preview early 2022)

  • Shared channels for internal / external users and teams
  • Add people in Teams via phone number or personal email



  • Green room - a virtual backstage
  • Bring presenter on screen (and off screen)
  • Co-organizer for webinars is now Generally Available
  • QnA for webinars now in preview
  • Integration with Dynamics 365
  • Integration of Cvent and Teams (November 2021)


Chat improvements

  • Reactions now have 800 new 3D emojis
  • Drafts on Teams mobile
  • Peoples time zone visible in contact cards
  • Delayed delivery of messages
  • Compact setting to see more messages
Delayed delivery

Teams phone

  • Dynamics 365 customer service is expanded into the Microsoft all-in-one contact center
  • Connected Contact Center Program - testing of Contact Centers on top of Teams phone
  • Operator Connect is now Generally Available - 22 global operator partners in >50 countries


Context (task switching is one of the most draining things we do nowadays)

  • Dynamics 365 + Teams integrations - chats and calls inside of Dynamics 365
  • Send a record as a Loop component
  • Teams + Azure Communication Services (APIs and SDKs) - create custom web portals connected to Teams (coming in December 2021)
  • Power Virtual Agents - build bots for common scenarios
  • Embed Teams chat in power apps
  • The Power BI app for Teams is now Generally Available


Demos of several Teams (Meeting) Apps

  • SAP
  • Atlassian - Jira
  • ServiceNow virtual agent
  • Custom built mobile app

For more info: Stay in the flow of workwith new collaborative apps for Microsoft Teams

An improved Teams app store with app categories is coming in November 2021, Admins can now purchase 3rd party App subscriptions via invoice billing.


Customer demos / testimonials of

  • Teams Rooms systems
  • Teams Realwear integration
  • Video from drones into Teams

Sunday, October 31, 2021

About the Viva-connections-desktop.ps1 script

When deploying Viva Connections according to the "Add the Viva Connections desktop app to Microsoft Teams" article, we eventually need to use a script referred to as the "VivaConnections for Teams desktop" script.

This script will create the Microsoft Teams app that can be pinned for all users to access Viva Connections. The script itself is called "Viva-connections-desktop.ps1" and it comes with a "" file to explain the settings needed and asked for by the script. This article will illustrate some of these settings.


Some troubleshooting to start with 

When you run the script it will first ask you which SharePoint site you want to use for Viva Connections and next try to login to SharePoint Online PowerShell for the tenant where this SharePoint site resides (and yes, it works with MFA accounts as well). So the script needs to run by a user who has "SharePoint admin privileges in the tenant" and also have access to the site you want pin as the default landing experience in Teams. It might happen that the connection command "Connect-SPOService" gives you an error message stating, "The term ‘Connect-SPOService’ is not recognized as the name of a cmdlet, function, script file, or operable program."

This can be due to several reasons, but the most common I found is that there are multiple versions of the SharePoint Online PowerShell module installed on the computer. This is easy to check with the command

Get-Module -ListAvailable *SharePoint*

If you find multiple modules of SharePoint Online PowerShell try to remove them with Uninstall-Module, like:

Uninstall-Module -Name SharePointPnPPowerShellOnline

And even if that does not work, there is a good explanation and solution in this blog article: The term‘Connect-SPOService’ is not recognized

The reason why no SharePoint Online PowerShell module need to be installed is that the script installs it for you as one of the first things happening in the script with the command:

Install-Module -Name Microsoft.Online.SharePoint.PowerShell -MinimumVersion 16.0.20324.12000 -Force


Running the script

The "" file gives us the following guidance:

When you run this script, you will have to provide the following inputs:

1. **URL of the modern SharePoint Communication site** (starting with “https://”) that you want to be the landing experience for the app. It is highly recommended that this site be the [Homesite] of the tenant.

1. **Name:** The name of your app, as it should appear in Teams app bar

1. **App short description (80 characters):** A short description for your app which will appear in Teams app catalog

1. **App long description (4000 characters):** A long description for your app which will appear in Teams app catalog

1. **Privacy policy:** The privacy policy for custom Teams apps in your company (needs to start with https://). If you do not have a separate privacy policy, press Enter and the script will use the default SharePoint privacy policy from Microsoft.

1. **Terms of use:** The terms of use for custom Teams apps in your company (needs to start with https://). If you do not have separate terms of use, press Enter and the script will use the default SharePoint terms of use from Microsoft.

1. **Organization name:** Your organization name. This will be visible on the app page in Teams app catalog in “Created By” section.

1. **Organization website:** Your organization’s public website (needs to start with https://). This will be linked to your company’s app name on the app page in in Teams app catalog in “Created By” section.

1. **Icons:** You are required to provided two PNG icons which will be used to represent your app in Teams; a 192X192 pixel colored icon for Teams app catalog and a 32X32 pixel monochrome icon for Teams app bar.

Once you successfully provide the details, a Teams app manifest, which is a `.zip file`, will be created and saved on your device.

Viva-connections-desktop.ps1 in action.

Besides the numbering being off there are a few things that needs to be mentioned. As you can see from the example above you do not need to use any quotes ("") for the text in the short or long description. Any URL must start with https:// and you need to have two icons for the app ready to be uploaded, more information on the purpose and format of these can be found here: Create a Microsoft Teams app package

Another very important point is that you do not absolutely HAVE TO provide all these details to this script, it is perfectly fine to provide "placeholder information" and then just edit the manifest.json file inside the .zip file created by the script at a later time. Maybe you do not want to type a 4000-character long description of the app in a PowerShell window? Also, the script will give the first and only "static tab" in the app the name Portals- +the name you entered as the name of the app, in this example it would be "Portals-Viva Connections" so you probably want to edit the manifest file for that anyway.

The first tab default named to Portals-App Name.


From the example above the app created will look like this when being loaded into Teams:

The Viva Connections app being added to Teams.

I would like to end this article with the last advice from the "" file which I really agree with:

We highly recommend that you pin this app by default for users in your tenant so that they can easily access their company’s intranet resources without having to discover the app in Teams app catalog. See Manage your apps in the Microsoft Teams admin center article for more details.

Enjoy your new Viva Connections App!