Welcome to your monthly round-up of all the latest features and updates from Microsoft Teams and SharePoint. This month we bring you new pre-meeting and end of meeting notifications, improved search relevance, a new SharePoint Success Template, and live captions for 1:1 calls.

What’s New in Microsoft Teams – January 2021

New Pre-Join Experience and End of Meeting Notifications

Microsoft has recently updated the pre-join meeting experience for Teams. These updates include the easier discovery of audio, video, and device configurations before joining a new meeting. Previously, this was all managed by going to settings, saving you and your team prep time.

You will now receive notifications when five minutes are remaining in any scheduled meeting. This notification will appear at the top of your meeting screen, letting you know it’s time to wrap up any presentations or discussion. Ideal for those meetings that tend to run over allowing you to keep on top of your schedule. These notifications, will not end your meeting automatically, so don’t worry if questions run over.

New Languages Supported for Real-Time Translation

With current restrictions forcing conferences and events online, businesses are no longer talking to a local audience, they are talking to a global audience. With the in mind, Teams Live Events are now supporting real-time translation for more countries than ever before adding Japanese, Korean, French, Portuguese-Brazilian French-Canadian, Spanish, Spanish Mexican, Dutch, Italian, Mandarin, Swedish, Hindi-Indian, Russian to its lists of fifty countries.

Live Events Limit Increase Extended

Businesses are continuing to face disruption as current restrictions are extended across many parts of the world. In order to continue to support businesses who are unable to meet face to face, or take part in group training, education, and knowledge sharing Microsoft is extending their increased Live Event Attendee limit until June 30, 2021.

The Live Event limits until the 30th of June will remain as:

  • Event Support for up to 20,000 attendees
  • 50 events can be hosted simultaneously across a tenant
  • Duration of 16 hours per broadcast
Live Captions for 1:1 Calls

Previously only available for group meetings, Live Captions are now coming to 1-1 calls. Whether you are in a noisy environment or just missed what was said, live captions can make following along in calls easier. This function can be disabled by admins for an entire organisation or turned off by users if they find them to be distracting.

Improved Search Relevance

Rather than simply showing the most recent messages when you search for a message in Teams, Microsoft has introduced a new relevance model. This new model shows users what the platform has identified as the three most relevant messages.

Teams identify these messages based on a multitude of data points including, who you interact with, and what channels or teams you are most active on.

Allow Only Invited Users to Bypass the Lobby

Users can expect the introduction of a new lobby setting. Joining the current list of “Who can bypass lobby?” list, is “People I invite”. Once enabled, only participants directly invited by the meeting organiser can join the meeting directly. Everyone else is sent to the meeting lobby.

What’s new in SharePoint? – January 2021

Add pages, document libraries, or news directly from SharePoint into your Team Channel

Any team member can now utilise the SharePoint tab experience to pin, news, lists, a page, or a document library as a separate tab in their Teams Channel. Just go to the “+” button within any channel in Teams, select SharePoint and start pinning the resources that you think would benefit the collaboration between your team.

Updates to the SharePoint Site Header

Microsoft is making it easier to customise the header of your site. The default header for new sites will now be the compact header, instead of the standard header. Now when your site owners open the “Change the Look” panel, they will be greeted with some updated options including a minimal header that has a reduced height and has been designed to provide quick, visual, access to content and an extended header that includes options for background images with expanded site logo widths, and options for logo alignment.

New SharePoint Success template

The new “SharePoint Success” site template is a ready to deploy, highly customisable communication site, that helps your teams to create high-impact sites that meet your organisation’s goal. It’s available via the SharePoint Look Book. It comes pre-populated with some creative inspiration and training on how to create high quality, purposeful SharePoint sites.

Microsoft Lists adoption centre

In order to improve the employee experience and reduce the strain on your time, Microsoft has created adoption materials to help you, onboard employees, at scale.

For Microsoft Lists, they have created a quick start guide, an internal communication template, a lookbook, day in the life guides, adoption playbook, pointers to documentation and training as well as materials to build Lists champions programs within your organisation. You can find these resources here: adoption.microsoft.com

We hope this new feature breakdown was useful, and you can utilise some of the above features to improve useability and employee experience. We regularly share tips on how to make the most out of both Microsoft SharePoint and Teams on LinkedIn and Twitter, you can follow us here or you can subscribe to our monthly newsletter to get these tips directly in your inbox.