3 recommended updates: Virtual breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams

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Version 20.10.22

Microsoft MVP Jasper Oosterveld on the release of virtual breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams, a change in storage location for Teams meeting recordings, and the new ‘My feed’ web part in SharePoint Online.

ShareGate’s easy-to-use SaaS tools enable organizations to achieve more than ever before with Microsoft cloud technologies. In our ongoing series, Jasper Oosterveld brings you up to speed on the latest and greatest from the world of Microsoft 365.

I hope you enjoyed my last update—where I discussed the introduction of Microsoft Teams templates, the ability to apply retention policies to Yammer messages, and the general availability release of SharePoint Syntex.

Let’s move on to the latest installment!


In this release, you’ll find my opinion on the release of virtual breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams, a change in storage location for Teams meeting recordings, and the new ‘My feed’ web part in SharePoint Online.

Without further ado, let’s take a closer look at three Microsoft 365 updates I think you should know about now.

Stay on top of all things Ignite 2020! Check out the ShareGate Takeaway for all the event news, announcements, and session recaps with analyses from the ShareGate team and Microsoft experts!

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Prepared with care by our team and 7 Azure and Microsoft 365 MVPs


Virtual breakout rooms in Microsoft Teams

Microsoft Teams is receiving (another) wonderful new update!

Imagine: You are organizing an online requirement workshop for a Microsoft Teams deployment, and you want to divide the attendees into multiple groups to work on different requirements (such as meetings, collaboration, and compliance).

Before, this was a huge undertaking and not an easy task. Microsoft to the rescue!

Meeting hosts can create breakout rooms to be used by meeting participants for smaller group discussion. They can assign participants to a room and call them back to the larger group when the breakout is complete.

Microsoft 365 Roadmap, Featured ID: 65332

Soon, you’ll be able to create a single meeting for everyone that can be split into divergent sessions for smaller group discussions.

image of jasper using breakout room feature in Teams.

Setting up one meeting for everyone.

Simply click on the new “Breakout Rooms” button and define your rooms:

image of new breakout room button in Teams.

Once the breakout rooms are created, all of your attendees are ready to go!

Below, you’ll find a useful summary of the breakout room features available to participants:

  • Join breakout rooms: Participants can join a breakout room from web, desktop, iOS/iPads, and Android mobiles/tablets. Note that organizers cannot move participants who joined via desk phone or Microsoft Teams device to a breakout room; they can stay in the main meeting as their breakout room.
  • Present in a breakout session: Participants join the breakout room as presenters, so they can present, share Microsoft Whiteboard, etc. freely.
  • Chat during the breakout session: Chat conversations and artifacts shared during the meeting are visible to all breakout room participants.
  • Hopping between rooms: Meeting participants cannot hop back to the main meeting or between rooms on their own. They must wait for the meeting organizer to pull them back to the main meeting.
  • Chats, files and recordings: Participants have access to artifacts, but only the organizer can access the links. If a link is shared by the meeting organizer, then the participants will be able to access it.
  • Multi-device join: Breakout rooms are not supported when a participant joins the same meeting with the same account from multiple devices.
  • Participants cannot:
    • Add others to a meeting chat
    • Copy meeting details
    • Nudge others to the meeting
    • Use “Call me back

And here is a similar overview of breakout room features available to the organizer:

  • Configure breakout room setup: Organizers can configure breakout room setup on the Teams desktop client.
  • Create breakout rooms: Breakout rooms can be created in both scheduled private meetings (including recurring) and private “Meet now” meetings. Organizers can create up to 50 breakout rooms in a single meeting.
  • Manage breakout rooms: Add, remove, or delete breakout rooms, and rename rooms to a title of your choice.
  • Reassign room participants: Reassign room participants from one room to another ahead of time, as well as once the breakout rooms are open.
  • Send an announcement: Create and broadcast an announcement that will show up as a meeting chat message in each breakout room.
  • Room transition: As an organizer, you can decide if participants are moved to the room automatically when you open the room, or if they need to click to confirm the move. The “auto-accept” setting can be configured for each individual meeting.
  • Hopping between rooms: Meeting organizers can manage rooms and hop between rooms freely.
  • Chats, files, and recordings: Only the organizer always has access to all breakout room and meeting artifacts.

The virtual breakout rooms are ideal for those in the education field, especially for schools that have transitioned to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. To be fair, a similar feature is available in Zoom. But I am happy to see Microsoft stepping up and providing the user base with this new update!

Good to know:

  • As an admin, it’s advised that you review and share the settings to ensure they’re set correctly for the organization and the users.
  • Where and when can I set up breakout rooms?
    • You can set up breakout rooms after you join the meeting as an organizer. You can bulk-create rooms at the start, or manually add or remove rooms.
    • You can set up breakout rooms from the Teams desktop client, but not via mobile or web.
    • Microsoft plans to enable the ability to set up breakout rooms before the meeting very soon.
  • When can I assign participants to a breakout room?
    • You can assign participants when you are setting up the rooms. You can do so manually before the room opens, or reassign participants to a different room while the room is open.
    • You can also auto-assign the participants to breakout rooms when you first set up the rooms in the meeting.
  • Start updating your user training and documentation, and prepare your employees by sending out a news post announcing this update and its benefits.

Microsoft is rolling out this update in mid-November 2020, and expects rollout to be completed by the end of November 2020.


Microsoft Teams meeting recordings saved to OneDrive and SharePoint

Microsoft Stream hasn’t seen much activity for a long, long time. Out of all possible updates, I have to admit: I did not see this one coming.

That said, after watching the Microsoft Ignite 2020 session recording, “The New Microsoft Stream: Vision, Strategy, & Roadmap”, I can see why they decided to change the storage location of meeting recordings to OneDrive and SharePoint.

Microsoft is changing the storage of meeting recordings from Stream to OneDrive and SharePoint.

Microsoft 365 Roadmap, Featured ID: 67138 Tweet this

This update solves one of the features I missed the most: external sharing.

The update also unlocks automatic retention policy application, GoLocal support, BYOK support for customers with improved transcription quality, speaker attribution, and transcript content search.

Good to know:

  • Non-channel meetings will be stored in the OneDrive of the person who clicked the record button in a special folder, labeled “Recordings”, that sits at the top of the recorder’s OneDrive. Channel meetings will be stored in a folder labeled “Recordings” under a folder named after the channel in the team’s document library.
  • All meeting invitees in non-channel meetings (except for external users) will automatically get a shared link to access the meeting recording. External users will need to be explicitly added to the shared list by the meeting organizer or the person that clicked the record button. For channel meetings, permissions will be inherited from the owners and members list in the channel.
  • Customers can opt in, opt out, or take no action regarding these changes. Changes in this communication will apply to customers who either opt in or take no action.
  • Tenant admins can opt in or opt out of OneDrive and SharePoint as the Teams meeting recording storage location via a Teams policy in PowerShell. Additionally, customers who wish to have captions for their meetings will need to enable transcript recording in Teams.
  • In Q1 CY2021, saving Teams meeting recordings to Microsoft Stream (Classic) will no longer be allowed. Precise dates will be communicated by Microsoft.
  • Start updating your user training and documentation, and prepare your employees by sending out a news post announcing this update and its benefits.

Below, you’ll find an overview of the timing of the update:

  • Mid-October (October 19, 2020): You can enable the Teams meeting policy to have meeting recordings saved to OneDrive and SharePoint instead of Microsoft Stream (Classic).
  • End of October (October 31, 2020): Meeting recordings in OneDrive and SharePoint will have support for English captions via the Teams transcription feature.
  • Early to mid-November (rolling out between November 1-15, 2020): All new Teams meeting recordings will be saved to OneDrive and SharePoint unless you delay this change by modifying your organization’s Teams meeting policies and explicitly setting them to “Stream”.
  • Q1 2021: No new meeting recordings can be saved to Microsoft Stream (Classic); all customers will automatically have meeting recordings saved to OneDrive and SharePoint even if they’ve changed their Teams meeting policies to “Stream”.

Want to learn more about this update? Check out the official Microsoft documentation on how to use OneDrive for Business and SharePoint or Stream for meeting recordings.


SharePoint Online: ‘My feed’ web part

We finish with a brand-new SharePoint Online web part! This always excites my SharePoint heart.

The ‘My feed’ web part will show a mix of content from across Microsoft 365 based on what is likely to be most relevant to the current user at any given time.

Make your page or site in SharePoint more dynamic and relevant to individual users by adding the My feed web part. The My feed web part will show a mix of content from across Microsoft 365, based on what’s likely to be most relevant to the current user at any given time.

Microsoft 365 Roadmap, Featured ID: 67148

Personalization is an important aspect of any successful intranet portal. I’m happy that Microsoft is providing their customers with another out-of-the-box web part that hooks into the importance of personalization.

Good to know:

  • Users will only see content that’s explicitly shared with them or that they have access to.
  • Check out the official Microsoft support documentation to learn more about how to use the My feed web part and how your feed is personal to you.
  • Start updating your user training and documentation, and prepare your employees by sending out a news post announcing this update and its benefits.

Microsoft is rolling out this update for Targeted Release customers in mid-October 2020. Standard release will start rolling out in late-October 2020, and should be completed in early November 2020.


Impact of Microsoft Ignite

We’re already starting to see the impact of Microsoft Ignite 2020. A lot of updates announced during the event are now making their way to our Microsoft 365 tenants.

If you didn’t manage to tune in live, don’t worry! I joined up with the ShareGate team (along with 7 other Microsoft MVPs) to put together the ShareGate Takeaway—your to-go recap of Microsoft Ignite 2020. We sat in on sessions, summarized the highlights, and analyzed the implications of this year’s announcements.

I’m already excited to see what updates I can share with you in November 2020!

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