3 recommended updates: "Together mode" video experience in Microsoft Teams

Image of blue background with yellow circles and Jasper Oosterveld's face inside a large yellow circle. Image of blue background with yellow circles and Jasper Oosterveld's face inside a large yellow circle.

Version 20.08.06

Microsoft MVP Jasper Oosterveld on the Together mode video experience in Microsoft Teams, improved image columns for SharePoint lists and libraries, and the ability to download SharePoint site usage data in Excel.

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 retirement of SharePoint 2010 workflows, new language-aware proofing in Microsoft Teams, and the ability to automatically block guest access to new OneDrive and SharePoint files until scans are complete.

Let's move on to the latest installment!


In this release, you'll find my opinion on the new Together mode video experience in Microsoft Teams, improved image columns for SharePoint lists and libraries, and the ability to download SharePoint site usage data in Excel.

Without further ado, let's take a closer look at the 3 recommended updates I think you should know about now.


Together mode video experience in Microsoft Teams

Last month, a bit out of the blue, Microsoft announced a lot of updates for Microsoft Teams. One of these updates is the Together mode video experience:

Together mode uses AI segmentation technology in meetings to digitally place participants in a shared background, making it feel like you're sitting in the same room with everyone else.

Microsoft 365 Roadmap, Featured ID: 65942

I'm going to be honest: When I first saw the Together mode announcement video, I thought it looked a bit ridiculous. But after letting it sit for a while—and reading about how the NBA is using Together mode to bring basketball fans courtside—I can see a use case for this new meeting experience.

For example, I can see Together mode being valuable for large meetings and brainstorm sessions. And I can also see a business case within the education area. In those contexts, this new meeting experience has the opportunity to shine and provide additional value.

To start using the new meeting experience (once Microsoft pushes the update to your tenant), you need to check the Turn on new meeting experience box in your settings menu:

Image of new settings in Teams.

Good to know:

  • Start updating your user training and documentation, and prepare your employees by sending out a news post announcing this update and its benefits

Unfortunately, the Microsoft 365 message center doesn't contain information about this update. The Microsoft 365 product roadmap mentions that roll-out will start during this quarter of the year—and looking at social media, it seems like most people have already received the update. Fingers crossed!


Improved image columns for SharePoint lists and libraries

SharePoint contains a column type called "Image" for displaying images as metadata for your list items or documents.

Unfortunately, adding a picture isn't user friendly at all. The content owner needs to upload the image, remember the URL, and then paste it in the Properties menu:

Image of old user experience for image columns.

Microsoft is introducing an awesome update that makes it a lot easier to add images.

Upload a new image—including mobile camera support. You can add a new Image column to lists and libraries. When creating or editing items in that list or library, you can upload an image for that list item or file.

Microsoft 365 Roadmap, Featured ID: 64872

Once an image column is added to a list or library, users can:

  • Add an image using the list or library form
  • View, replace, or remove the image when viewing the item or file properties in the form

When users are browsing the list on a mobile device, they'll be able to upload an image from the mobile device simply by taking a photo with their camera:

Image of mobile experience uploading an image.

Good to know:

  • List and library users will see a new column type called "Image" when adding new columns
  • Check out the Microsoft support documentation for more info on list and library content types and options
  • 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 feature to Targeted Release customers in early August 2020 and expects to be completed by mid- to end of August 2020.


Download SharePoint site usage data in Excel

Analytics features in SharePoint provide you with insights that are important for the current and future success of your SharePoint solutions. You spent valuable time and resources developing your SharePoint solutions; you need to know if and how those resources are being used so you can apply changes if needed.

Below, you can see an example of a SharePoint site's Site usage page:

Image of site usage analytics page.

Our regular readers have seen many analytics updates passing by. And now, I'm happy to announce another useful update: SharePoint site owners will see a new download button available on the Site usage page.

SharePoint site owners and members will be able to download their site's 90-day usage data in Excel.

Microsoft 365 Roadmap, Featured ID: 66395

This new button will let them download 90-days of site usage data in an Excel file, which will contain all site usage data that's available on the page.

Good to know:

Microsoft is rolling out this feature in early August 2020 and expects to be completed by the end of August 2020.


Reimagining remote work with Teams

Microsoft Teams has seen an incredible surge in usage in recent months as many people have transitioned to working from home.

This new situation has forced Microsoft to think about the reimagining of virtual collaboration for the future of work and learning—which led to last month's announcement of a wide array of valuable new features for Microsoft Teams.

In addition to Together mode, Microsoft also announced the following features for Teams:

  • Dynamic view: A set of enhancements to video meetings that uses AI to optimize how you see shared content and other participants
  • Video filters: Filters that allow you to adjust lighting levels and soften the camera focus
  • Live reactions: A shared feature with PowerPoint Live Presentations that allows audience members to provide non-verbal feedback using emojis
  • Chat bubbles: Instead of manually opening a chat window to view the chat screen, chats sent during a Teams meeting will appear on the screens of all meeting participants

These features are aimed at making our online meetings more efficient, productive, valuable, and hopefully less frustrating. Personally, I'm excited to start using these features in online customer meetings and workshops!

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