Microsoft Viva Sales

The Microsoft Viva suite not only provides employees with personalized, inclusive, encompassing, and engaging experiences, but it brings individuals, teams, leaders, managers, and customers together through streamlined processes, data-driven insights, alignment between outcomes and goals, and clear, focused communications. Microsoft Teams Viva Sales provides sellers with a new experience for customer relationship management (CRM) by reducing time spent on administrative duties thereby freeing up time that can be spent connecting and engaging with their customers.

Microsoft Viva Sales is the first Viva application that is designed for a specific role in a company — the sellers. To be successful as a seller, CRM tools are essential; however, these tools currently are standalone software packages that are independent of team-driven software, such as Microsoft Teams, that corporations utilize to bring their teams together for collaboration and updating of current news and events. Having to manually input information into both the CRM and collaborative software is not only time-consuming, but it also takes valuable time away from seller-customer relationship building, number of sales, and most importantly, delays closing of deals. Driven by AI, Viva Sales works seamlessly with Microsoft 365, Microsoft Teams, and Dynamics 365. Microsoft Viva Sales is the bridge between business and collaboration systems.

As with all businesses during the pandemic, sales forces have had to adapt to a digital workspace, marketing, pitching, and closing sales online. There has been a leap in adaptation for sales organizations and in this leap, the gaps and limitations in the tools that are provided to support sellers became very apparent. Microsoft has stepped up, once again, to address these limitations with Microsoft Viva Sales.

The greatest impact on sellers has been the increase in virtual meetings, chats, emails, and video conferences to not only close deals but to present and pitch their solutions. With the increase in time spent in virtual spaces, sellers globally identified that there is a great disconnect between manual data entry, processes, tools, and the ability to capture customer engagement data in productivity applications plus, alternating between different applications several times daily is ineffective and redundant.

Viva Sales: How the Sales Landscape is Changing

Currently, sellers must manually enter customer data into their CRM tool, a tedious and timely process, from one application to another. In line with the Microsoft Viva Suite of applications, Viva Sales brings all customer insights and data into one, centralized location. By pulling these details and insights (many of which would not be entered into the CRM) from Outlook, Microsoft Teams, and Office applications including Word, Excel, and PowerPoint, and centralizing it, the amount of time spent manually entering data can now be spent on creating, building, and fostering relationships with customers to achieve successful sales.

Viva Sales brings contextually correct, timely, and accurate information to the seller at the right time into everyday tools that they are already familiar with. Viva Sales optimizes and streamlines the selling process for your sales force, providing an improved sales experience for your teams. Viva Sales can be integrated with Salesforce CRM and Dynamics 365, and in the future, it will be integrable with any CRM system.

Viva Sales was designed for seller productivity and it:

  1. Delivers real-time business context from the CRM system of a seller in Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Outlook, thereby reducing the amount of time utilized in the search for relevant information;
  2. Connects your sales teams easily as it facilitates efficient collaboration with knowledge sharing which carries forward the momentum of the deals as it approaches sign-off and closing;
  3. Improves customer engagement with AI-powered insights that enhances the actions and decisions of the seller; and
  4. Boosts sales productivity by eliminating the need for manual CRM updates.

Viva Sale: How and What

  1. Eliminate redundancy: the duplicity of manually entering customer information in the CRM is now a process of the past. Viva Sales allows sellers to update their CRM data from Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Outlook, and it allows capturing of new contacts from meetings and emails straight into their CRM. Additionally, sellers can save emails directly from Microsoft Outlook into their CRM and they can see key customer insights, including previous activities, emails, and meetings. Viva Sales will sync customer data to Dynamics 365 and Salesforce CRM.
  2. Collaborate and close: sellers can search, share, track, and edit inline CRM entities across Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Outlook, making it efficient and easy to collaborate with colleagues on their teams. This is accomplished by leveraging Context IQ and rich contextual cards. With opportunities, contacts, and accounts at their fingertips, sellers can keep their sales team in the current flow as deals move forward while collaborating, exploring, and making better decisions.
  3. ­Leverage AI­-Powered Insights: communicate with customers in Microsoft Teams and the Sales Conversation Intelligence (SCI) will generate the information for follow-through with customers post-meeting. SCI will not only generate meeting summaries but will also track customer sentiment and produce a list of suggested actions for customer follow-up post-meeting. SCI will record, transcribe, and provide valuable insights, including sentiment analysis which will aid sellers to track customer sentiment about a specific topic, guide the conversation, and plan the best approach for the next conversation. With SCI, notetaking during meetings is eliminated, allowing sellers to focus on their conversation with their customers and building the important sales-customer relationship.

Viva Sales: Benefits and Features

With Viva Sales, sellers in your sales force will be able to:

  1. Login to their CRM system via Outlook;
  2. Create a new contact in their CRM system. If an email signature is present, the contact information will be prefilled;
  3. View account from within Outlook;
  4. View opportunity information from within Outlook; and
  5. Save emails from their CRM from within Outlook.

Within Teams and Outlook, sellers in your sales force will be able to collaborate with their colleagues on customer data. By utilizing the collaboration features, sellers will be able to:

  1. Copy account, contact, and opportunity information from Outlook;
  2. Share this information in Teams as a link. This link will unfurl into a rich preview card;
  3. Share in Teams chat CRM information by using the messaging extension; and
  4. Update CRM record information from Teams chat by using the rich preview cards.

Using intelligent Teams meeting insights, your sellers in your salesforce will be able to connect better with customers. Sellers will be able to focus on the sales cycle as meeting notetaking will become obsolete with the implementation of automated action items for customer follow-ups. Sellers can, with these insights, be able to:

  1. Access CRM information when scheduling a meeting from Outlook;
  2. Save meeting details from Outlook to their CRM; and
  3. Take advantage of the sales conversation intelligence which is the meeting insights including a detailed executive summary, action items to follow up on, and sentiment analysis.

When Viva Sales is integrated with Microsoft Teams, your sellers will be able to search a word or phrase to find parts of a conversation that they had with a customer during a Teams sales meeting. This is a powerful tool as this type of information can be critical with the closing of a deal. If a Microsoft Teams meeting is recorded and transcribed, then sellers can scan the recorded transcript to find key parts of a conversation.

Microsoft Ignite 2022: Microsoft Teams Announcements Part 2

As we continue with the Microsoft Teams Announcements from Ignite 2022, we can see from Microsoft Teams Announcements Part 1 the many new features affecting, which I term loosely, physical spaces. The reason why I term it this way is that we saw how new features and enhancements affected Meetings, Rooms and Devices, Microsoft Places, and the new offering of Microsoft Teams Premium. This article focuses on the new features and enhancements surrounding audio connections.

The very heart of Microsoft Teams is Chat and Collaboration, which are seeing many new features and enhancements, including:

  1. New Channel Experience: with a new layout available for all channel types, including shared channels, users will see the most recent posts at the top, easily catch up on conversations, pop-out posts to return to them later, and contribute to the discussions. There are new post types, important posts can be pinned for quick reference, and in the info pane, channel information such as shared files, channel members, and more, can be found. Channel headers can be customized with corporate branding or users can upload an image to reflect the personality of the team.
  2. Expanded Reactions: expanded reactions will allow Teams members to express themselves with over 800 emojis. Expanded Reactions are also available in Outlook.
  3. Suggested Replies in Group Chat: leveraging machine learning, replies are generated and suggested as a response in group chats. Reply by clicking on the suggestion to save time.
  4. Recommended People When Creating a New Message: leveraging AI, Teams chat will recommend colleagues based on previous collaborations to assist in initiating new conversations.
  5. Add People to a Group Chat with @mention: without having to navigate to the add-dialogue, new participants can be added to the chat with @mention while controlling how much of the history of the chat can be viewed by the new participant.
  6. Mention @everyone: with @everyone, a message can be sent to everyone in the group at the same time along with a notification.
  7. Delete Chat: without impacting participants in the same chat conversation, you can easily organize or remove chat conversations.
  8. Schedule Send: by right-clicking on the “send” button, the message can be scheduled for delivery similar to Outlook’s delivery delay. Viva Insights will suggest a schedule send suggestion should you be sending the message outside of the recipient’s work hours.
  9. Video Clip: participants can express themselves by recording and then sharing the clip by sending it to chat participants. Recipients can view a video clip and reply with one of their own.
  10. Work Hours and Location: by setting up a daily work location, colleagues will be able to see where you are working from, whether remote or onsite and can easily schedule in-person meetings. Any revisions in Teams or Outlook will automatically update in both apps.
  11. Loop Components in More Places: currently available in Teams Chat, loop components (pieces of content that stay synced across shared places) will be an integral part of Word for web, Outlook for Windows, and Whiteboard.

    Under the Insert menu in Word for web documents, add a new loop component such as a checklist, poll, or task list, thereby looping in the right people into the conversation within the context of the draft document, blog post, or white paper.

    A loop component can be copied and pasted into Whiteboard (for web, Teams, and desktop), bringing the conversation to where the project team is meeting and brainstorming. Teams chat conversations can be carried over to Outlook for the web, ensuring Teams chat members are in sync no matter which app they prefer.
  12. Sensitivity Labels and DLP in M365 Docs Coming to Loop Components in Teams Chat: set at the administrative level, sensitivity labels can flag content as Public or Confidential, and a watermark can be included to clearly communicate the sensitivity of the data. Data Loss Prevention (DLP) continually monitors and evaluates Loop components for flagged information and will automatically notify the user if they are working with sensitive data or content.

New features, enhancements, and additions surrounding the Phone and Contact Centre provide Microsoft Teams another method of communication for collaboration and these include:

  1. Teams Mobile Phone: previously known as “Operator Connect Mobile”, administrators through the Teams Admin Centre can assign one SIM-enabled number to a Teams Phone which can serve as the desk phone, Teams number, and mobile number. The benefits of a Teams Mobile Phone include the integration of Teams with the user’s native dialer, unified business communications, shared technological support and guaranteed call quality, and streamlined telecom policy management for mobile.
  2. CRM Browser Pop-Out­: with CRM integration, when a call queue agent answers a call, that customer record will automatically open. Specific users can be assigned this capability by Administrators whereby the metadata from an incoming call triggers a web page URL in the browser-based experience of the CRM provider.
  3. Management of Busy-On-Busy Settings: available in 2023, users will be able to manage their settings and set their preferences on how calls are routed when they are on a current call.
  4. Detailed Call History: a rich and comprehensive call history including access to call recording and transcriptions, how calls arrived, if calls were transferred, if calls were forwarded, and how calls were controlled once received.
  5. Federated Group Calling: video, screen sharing, and group Team calls can be made with federated colleagues without any PSTN usage charges.
  6. Teams Home Devices UI Updates and Performance Improvements: with the updated IP phone client, desk phone users will now have call hold, call transfer, and mute call.
  7. Digital Enhanced Cordless Telecommunications (DECT) Devices Integration with SIP Gateway: the integrated DECT devices with SIP gateway will allow frontline workers to communicate with their colleagues by using the Teams calling functionality on their DECT device.
  8. SIP Gateway Analog Telephones Support: on select analog phone models, the analog telephone adaptor (ATA) will support analog endpoint phones requiring PBX, such as elevator phones.
  9. SIP Gateway Overhead Paging Devices Support: Teams calling functionality will be available on ringers, speakers, and pagers in early 2023.
  10. Branch Office Survivability v2: in the event of an internet outage, Survivable Branch Appliance capabilities will allow users to use chat or call history plus use the dial pad in offline mode to dial outbound PSTN calls and, if the user is connected to the same network and SBA, and if the recipient has an associated phone number, VoIP calls will be routed to PSTN.

Collaboration in Microsoft Teams is being further enhanced with Collaborative Apps, including:

  1. Teams Live Share Canvas: this new package allows Teams members to use shared pens, laser pointers, highlighters, and cursors in Teams Live Share experiences with minimal code changes.
  2. Adaptive Card-Based Loop Components: still in the development stage, Adaptive Card-Based Loop Components will assist users to take action in the flow of their work.
  3. 1P & 3P Apps: independent software vendors (ISV) are continually developing collaborative apps to enhance collaboration within Microsoft Teams. These vendors include 3M where handwritten or drawn Post-It® Notes are surfaced and digitized, SAP, iHeartRadio will be the first music app in Teams where members can listen to music whilst working and share their favourite tunes, Brainstorm, Workplace from Meta which allows streaming from Teams meetings into Workplace groups, Workday, Zendesk, Survey Monkey, Thrive Global, ServiceNow, Priority Matrix, and Zoho.  

And finally, Microsoft Teams for Frontline Workers is seeing many new features and rollouts including:

  1. Viva Connections Pre-Configuration in F-SKUs: the pre-configured Viva Connections Dashboard will be pinned at the top for F-SKU users. By being pinned at the top, the simplified home site will provide the most relevant Dashboard cards, such as Shifts, Approvals, Tasks, and Top News where they are easily accessible for frontline workers.
  2. Team Shifts Connector for UKG Dimensions: the co-engineered Shifts connector provides real-time, bi-directional, and a single seamless interface for simplified scheduling and time management. Frontline workers will have the capability to view and accept open shifts, clock in and out, request time off, and much more.
  3. Walkie-Talkie Push-to-Talk on Honeywell Devices: with Walkie-Talkie Push-to-Talk (PTT) devices, the need to carry bulky and separate radios is a thing of the past. Partnered with Honeywell, these purpose-built and durable devices serve the distribution, transportation and logistics, healthcare, and retail environments and operate on cellular and Wi-Fi networks to deliver 24/7 coverage.
  4. Audience Targeting in Outlook: coming soon to Outlook, the frontline workforce can be segmented by location, job code, and department. With this capability, operational and corporate communications will reach their intended audiences.
  5. Approval APIs: leveraging flows, organizations can set up the Approvals app within the workflow of their users who will no longer need to go to the app to find, create, and respond to approval requests.

With the many new corporate and industry collaborations, features, enhancements, and premium offerings, Microsoft Teams strives purposefully forward with the goals of inclusivity, flexibility, and collaborative teamwork. Acknowledging the hybrid work environment and external customer bases, data and content are kept secure with sensitivity labels, watermarking, and automatic notifications when content is flagged as sensitive. Managing time, organizing daily tasks, and knowing when one is on shift is made easier for frontline workers with the updated Viva Connections Dashboard. Overall, Microsoft Teams is evolving to not only support Teams members with collaboration, but it is also providing the tools to be organized, secure, and efficient with daily, weekly, and monthly tasks.

Microsoft Ignite 2022: Microsoft Teams Announcements Part 1

If you thought Microsoft Teams has been an amazing app for team collaboration, then hang onto your seat because the announcements at Ignite 2022 for Microsoft Teams will blow your socks off! There are many new and exciting features coming with upgrades to many current ones that were announced for Meetings, Microsoft Teams Premium, Rooms and Devices, Microsoft Places, Chat and Collaboration, Phone and Contact Centre, Collaborative Apps, and Frontline Workers.

One of the most exciting new features for Microsoft Teams are mesh avatars. What are they? To enhance connection in our hybrid work environment, supporting collaboration in a virtual world, and making it feel like it is in person, mesh avatars provide users a metaverse experience with the ability to attend Microsoft Teams meetings without turning on the camera. Sound exciting? It definitely is! And, we will go into more detail in our article Microsoft Teams Mesh Avatars.

Mesh avatars are only one of the many features focused on the Meetings aspect of Microsoft Teams. Other enhancements and new features for Microsoft Teams meetings include:

  1. Excel Live: in a shared meeting window and in the meeting itself, attendees will be able to edit and interact with an Excel file without leaving the meeting screen or opening a separate file, and Excel does not even have to be running on your device. How cool is that?
  2. Collaborative Annotations in Teams Meetings: attendees will be able to type, draw and react directly to shared content during a Teams meeting by leveraging Whiteboard with its canvas and rich toolset.
  3. Cameo in PPT Live: a new PowerPoint Live experience that integrates your Microsoft Teams camera feed into your presentation. It is customizable and with PowerPoint Cameo, you can choose where and how you want to appear on your PowerPoint slides. Design recommendations are offered to maximize optimal viewing conditions.
  4. Together Mode Innovations: Assign Seats and Select Together Mode for Everyone: with Together mode, attendees in virtual Microsoft Teams meetings can feel more like they are meeting in the same room. Attendees can be assigned seats by meeting organizers and presenters, and in these seats, organizers and presenters can meet the attendees in the Together mode view, and by selecting the Together mode for everyone, every attendee and participant in the Teams meeting will have the same view.
  5. Microsoft Polls Innovations: engage your attendees so they become active participants in the meeting with Microsoft Polls. Keep the meeting momentum going from voting on decisions to ranking suggestions to voting on their favourite breakfast item.

A new SKU add-on is Microsoft Teams Premium, and greater detail is provided in our article Microsoft Ignite 2022 Microsoft Teams: Teams Premium, which provides better and enhanced meetings through:

  1. Meeting Guides: preset meeting options provide the organizer with the ability to easily set up meetings based on discussion topics and the audience.
  2. Custom Meeting Branding, Organizational Backgrounds at the Org level, Custom Together Mode Scenes: infuse and embody corporate branding in online meetings.
  3. Advanced Meeting Protection, Including Watermarking, E2E Encryptions, and Sensitivity Labels: sensitive content and discussions are safeguarded with E2E encryption, watermarking, sensitivity labels, and providing controls on who can record to protect information.
  4. Intelligent Recap: reduce meeting fatigue with the provision of personalized highlights that will help the user discover the most relevant and important information from meetings, including AI-generated tasks, auto-generated chapters, personalized timeline markers, and intelligent transcript search.
  5. Live Translation for Captions: break down language barriers and create an all-inclusive meeting environment with live translation and captioning of 40 spoken languages for attendees so they can participate and interact live during their meetings.
  6. Advanced Virtual Appointments: personalize the customer experience and drive operational excellence while conducting business-to-customer (B2C) engagements with the simplified queue view, virtual appointment app, custom waiting room, SMS reminders, mobile browser join, and analytics at the department-organizational level.
  7. Advanced Webinars: engage and deepen the connection with internal and external audiences during webinars with hosting capabilities including registration waitlist, manual approvals, automated email reminders, virtual green room, and managing what attendees can see.

To enhance the feeling of togetherness and provide lifelike engagement for remote participants, Microsoft Teams announced new devices and features related to Room and Devices. These include:

  1. Center-of-the-Room Intelligent Camera Form Factor: by being placed in the centre of the room, this 360˚ panoramic camera delivers multiple streams of videos. Each person in the room will appear in their video frame making it easy for each attendee to see each person. Remote attendees will be able to identify the speaker in the room with AI active speaker tracking and with face recognition, it will make it even easier to identify who is speaking.
  2. Cisco: releasing their first wave of devices for Microsoft Teams in 2023 as they become a Microsoft Teams Rooms Certified Devices partner.
  3. Signature Microsoft Teams Rooms: facing the display, in-room participants will see remote attendees across the table, at eye level, and appearing life-size. Background noise is suppressed with AI noise suppression while spatial audio will deliver clear and natural voices from remote attendees.
  4. IntelliFrame: whether in-room or remote, all attendees will have their own enhanced frame in the video gallery.
  5. Teams Displays: large 24” displays will have dual purposes of being used as standalone devices for Teams collaboration or they can be connected to the PC and used as a second monitor.
  6. Microsoft Presenter+: with a push of a button, this accessory empowers users to control meetings, present, and participate in meetings including focusing audience attention on key content, advancing slides, muting/unmuting voices, and raising their hands.
  7. Teams Video Enhancements: Video On/Off on Temas Peripherals, 2nd Video Stream with Content Camera from Logitech: physical content from your Teams meeting and calls can be seamlessly shared with all participants by tilting the camera. Ideal for virtual classrooms and hybrid work environments.
  8. Native Bluetooth for Microsoft Teams on the Surface Headphones 2+: skip the dongle with these Bluetooth headphones and effortlessly connect to collaborate during Teams meetings with a push of a button.

With the majority of corporations implementing a hybrid work environment, the use of space within a building and how it is used requires effective, productive, and intuitive planning. With Microsoft Places, coordinating who is in-room or remote, or both become more easily organized. Microsoft Places provides the technology and tools to maximize time, whether it is meeting colleagues in person by knowing when they will be on-site, booking a common space to work, or improving conference room usage. With Microsoft Places, maximizing space utilization, occupancy, and fluidity is simplified and provides managers with insights to help optimize the usage of these spaces.

So far, in this article, we have seen the many new features and upgrades to features in Microsoft Teams that surround how and where Teams members interact, whether remotely or in person. From Meetings, Rooms and Devices, and Microsoft Places, along with the new Microsoft Teams Premium, we proceed to Chat and Collaboration, Phone and Contact Centre, Collaborative Apps, and Frontline Workers in our next installment, Microsoft Teams Announcements Part 2.

Microsoft Ignite 2022: Microsoft Teams Premium

This year at Microsoft Ignite 2022, Microsoft announced its offering of a new SKU add-on for Microsoft Teams that rolls all the add-ons and costly multiple-point products into one package. The Microsoft Teams Premium package provides a better way to meet in our various work environments. Teams Premium redefines how meetings are organized and conducted, how meetings are presented with specialized devices, where teams members can meet whether in-person, virtual, or in a hybrid environment, how team members can chat and collaborate, how team members can easily access the contact information through the contact center while using a Teams mobile phone, how collaboration is improved with collaborative apps, and how frontline workers benefit from F-SKUs.

Microsoft Teams Premium: Meetings

Meeting Guides

With Meeting Guides, organizers can easily create, schedule, and track meetings with preset options, thereby saving time by negating the need to drill down through menus of options to customize for each meeting. Examples of preset meeting options, which can be customized and itemized by IT, include brainstorming meetings, client calls, and help desk calls. With preset meeting guides, leaders and managers have confidence that company policies and best practices are being followed.

Custom Meeting Branding

Company branding has now reached across and is available in Teams Premium. Customized branding includes company logos and colours that can be infused into the Teams lobby and the background of the meeting. These custom backgrounds are managed by IT at the organizational level, ensuring that corporate branding policies are adhered to. Custom scenes can be created for the Together mode with Teams Premium.

Advanced Meeting Protection

For presenters and attendees in meetings, it is not unusual to share content and knowledge, but many times the content, data, and knowledge may contain business-sensitive information which should not be freely shared during the conversation or screen-shared. With Teams Premium, there are new meeting options to help secure the data and screen grabs with watermarks as well as the capability to limit who can record the meeting.

For customers who require the most advanced security requirements, Microsoft Purview Information Protection sensitivity labels will automatically apply to relevant meeting options. By choosing the sensitivity label, protection is automatically applied across M365. Existing labels can be edited by compliance admins in the Security and Compliance Centre to enforce the meeting options that need to be applied to sensitivity labels when they are used for a meeting.

Intelligent Recap

With limited hours in a day, attending every meeting we are invited to is next to impossible. What do we do then? With Teams Premium, we can focus on what matters with AI-powered meetings. With the power of AI, intelligent recap acts like a virtual assistant who has attended the meetings on your behalf and will suggest relevant action items. With AI-generated tasks that are suggested during and after the meeting, action items will not be missed.

After a meeting, Intelligent Recap will automatically generate chapters for you to navigate with ease through recordings and help you understand the meeting content that was discussed. These automatically generated chapters will include insights (personalized timeline markers) such as when you left a meeting early, when your name was mentioned, or when there was a screen share.

Searching through transcripts is much more fluid and easier with AI assistance as speakers from the transcript are suggested, and these names are based on who you work most closely with.

Live Translation for Captions

In Microsoft Teams, captioning is available for meetings conducted in English, but with Teams Premium, not only are English captions available, but live translation captioning driven by AI overcomes the language barrier. With the ability to translate 40 spoken languages, live translation for captions provides your audience with immediate translation from English to their native language so they can participate and engage in real-time with other team members.

Advanced Virtual Appointments

Advanced Virtual Appointments in Teams Premium provides you the ability to manage the end-to-end experience for your customer’s appointment. Geared towards business-to-customer (B2C) engagement, Advanced Virtual Appointments help organizations drive operational excellence by providing a customized customer experience with:

  1. Virtual Appointments App and Simplified Queue View: with one app, schedule, manage, and track insights for appointments. Client status can easily be tracked and with one view of on-demand and scheduled appointments, they can easily be serviced.
  2. Custom Waiting Room: external attendees will experience a branded, first-class experience from the very start of joining the meeting.
  3. Department- and Organizational-Level Analytics: business insights with usage trends can be tracked, including key metrics like wait times and no-shows.
  4. SMS Reminders and Mobile Browser Join: without the need to download Teams, customers will receive a text reminder to join their virtual appointment, thereby decreasing the number of no-shows.

Microsoft Teams Premium: Advanced Webinars

Microsoft Teams Premium: Advanced Webinars

Taking the basic webinar functionalities in Microsoft Teams to a new level, Advanced Webinars will entice, engage, and communicate with your internal and external audience of up to 1,000 attendees.

  1. Registration Waitlist and Manual Approvals: by keeping the webinar registration open even after event capacity has been reached, additional people can register and be placed automatically on the waitlist. As spots come open, these registrants will automatically move to the pending approval state where the organizer can review each registrant’s information and manually approve or reject the registrant. To assist in planning and managing the event, the registration start and end times can be customized.
  2. Automated Reminder Emails: build anticipation and excitement by sending automated reminder emails to each approved registered attendee. Each email will have a custom-branded header, details of the webinar, and the link to join the event.
  3. Virtual Green Room: in a dedicated virtual green room that is a separate space from attendees, the host and other presenters can socialize, connect, review content before the event starts, monitor Q&A and chat, and manage attendee settings. On the other side of the virtual green room, attendees will be greeted with a welcome screen and have the opportunity to engage with presenters and each other through the use of chat and Q&A.
  4. Manage What Attendees See: keep the attendees focused and engaged by managing and curating what they see, such as the presenter, participants that are brought onto the screen, and shared content.

With Teams Premium, the capabilities of Microsoft Teams are elevated to a level of collaboration, communication, workflow, and streamlined process that have not been dreamt of before. Teams Premium brings many new ways to collaborate, share knowledge, and engage the audience in a world of virtual, in-person, internal, and external team members.

Microsoft Ignite 2022 – Microsoft Teams Mesh Avatar

At this year’s Ignite 2022, Microsoft announced an exciting new feature to Microsoft Teams, launching it fully into the metaverse world. Microsoft Teams Mesh Avatar will provide team members the ability to join team meetings as their avatars without turning on their cameras, create multiple versions of their avatars that reflect the different types of meetings they are attending, and express themselves with ease through a wide range of gestures and reactions.

Create Your Mesh Avatar

Microsoft Teams Mesh Avatars can be accessed and created in two different ways. These two ways are from:

  1. The Teams Home Screen:
    a. Select the three dots located above the Store icon on the left sidebar
    b. Launch the Search Bar
    c. Type in “Mesh Avatars” in the Search Bar
    d. Select the corresponding app; and
  2. Within the Teams Meeting:
    a. Select the three dots located in the top left bar and left of the Camera icon
    b. Choose “Effects and Avatars” in the right-hand column
    c. Select “Open Avatars App” at the top of Your Avatar section.

This is how simple and quick a Mesh Avatar can be created. Once created, the Mesh Avatar can be customized as one or several versions of the user.

Customizing Your Mesh Avatar

With the hybrid work environment, and the projection of generations to come working in a metaverse, inclusivity and social connection are requirements to encourage, develop, build, and sustain community, collaboration, and team relationships.

Customizing a Mesh Avatar is just as simple as creating one. Simply choose “Customize” from within the Mesh Avatar builder to begin the process. With hundreds of options to choose from under the categories of Figure, Hair, Makeup, and Wardrobe as indicated on the tabs, a team member can customize their avatar to represent themselves while reflecting their personality and personal statements.  

Joining a Teams Meeting as Your Mesh Avatar

Sometimes, we just don’t want to turn the camera on when we join a Teams meeting. Currently, we can upload a selfie or it remains as a blank outline of a portrait but either way, both are static versions of ourselves.

Now, with Mesh Avatar, team members can join a meeting without having to turn on their cameras by attending as their Mesh Avatar. To join a Teams meeting with your Mesh Avatar from within a meeting:

  1. Select the three dots located in the top bar to the left of the Camera icon
  2. Select “Effects and Avatars” from the drop-down menu
  3. Select “Avatars” in the right-hand column
  4. Choose the avatar that you want to use to represent you during this meeting
  5. Select “Avatar Backgrounds”
  6. Choose the avatar background that you would like to use in your meeting.

The Mesh Avatar that you have chosen will now appear in the meeting with the chosen avatar background without you having to turn on your camera.

React with Your Mesh Avatar

Just like you would react as if you were in person during a Teams Meeting, your Mesh Avatar can engage with team members through reactions, displaying a mood, and changing the camera angle to provide a different perspective. Microsoft Teams meetings can be fun, engaging, and personal with Mesh Avatars.

Another step towards working in a hybrid metaverse that engages team members, customizable Microsoft Teams Mesh Avatars provide team members the opportunity to present themselves sans camera while reflecting their personalities, uniqueness, attitudes, and individualities. Engaging, collaborating, discussing, and problem-solving in the metaverse world has never been more futuristic, entertaining, and convivial than it is with Teams Mesh Avatar.