Microsoft 365 update for March 2020

I hope everyone is keeping safe and healthy during these uncertain times. Here’s a look at what’s been released or coming through the month of March 2020.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis management resources

In this month’s update:

SharePointmulti-lingual, branding on mobile app, root site swap, wiki notation, start page rollback, edit metadata in web parts, rich-text capabilities for column formatting

TeamsImproved audio quality, background blur for iOS, Bookings app, raise hands, noise suppression, multi-window, Teams offline, Teams membership increase, group chat increase, Teams & Skype calling/ chat interoperability

Teams (cont.)satin codec, business voice available in US, device management update, Shifts improvements, targeted comms in Shifts, workforce management integrations, RealWear headsets, Teams walkie talkie, collaboration bars, Poly phones

Power Appssharing for model-driven apps, AI Builder models GA, gateway management features, unified interface lookup filtering, command checker

Power AutomateUI flows GA, UI flows Feb 2020 update, Unattended Robotic Process Automation and AAD support, file attachments in approval flows, error handling/control logic UI flows

Power BIread/write XMLA endpoints, query diagnostics GA, Multi Geo Premium Capacities performance improvements, on-premises data gateway March 2020, desktop feature summary March 2020, new search experience, Power BI mobile, report export options

Power Virtual Agentswave 1 feature summary,  solution-aware flows, export bot’s conversation transcripts

Related Microsoft Personal & Family, Yammer in your inbox, view/edit improvements for files in Office mobile

SharePoint

Multi-lingual publishing in communication sites

New language settings have been added for communication sites in SharePoint. Once set you can translate pages, news and assign individuals as translators per language.

Translators get notified via email when there is a new default language page created or when an existing one is updated by the original content author. Translators are responsible for adding their language’s content. People visiting the site will automatically see pages and news in their preferred user language when available.

Multi-lingual publishing capabilities have been added for pages and news in communication sites.

Find out more:

Company branding now supported on SharePoint Mobile App

Company branding set in the O365 admin center will now take effect within the SharePoint mobile app. This change will also apply to both the iOS and Android versions of the SharePoint app.

Customize your theme in the Microsoft 365 admin center and have it reflected in the SharePoint mobile app for iOS and Android.

Find out more:

SharePoint root site swap restrictions lifted

The restrictions on the SharePoint root site swap are now gone! Meaning that the ability to swap the location of a SharePoint root site with another using the PowerShell cmdlet, Invoke-SPOSiteSwap is now available for everyone.

Previously this was only available to customers with 10,000 users or more.

Find out more:

Wiki notation

Wiki notation links are back for pages and news! Those familiar with the old wiki pages in classic SharePoint will be very happy to see the return of these bookmark style links.

Type [[ where you want a link to appear, and you’ll be able to select from a list of pages on your site. Or, you can enter a link by typing [[your link name | URL]].

Start typing [[ to create wiki notation links within pages and news.

Find out more:

Microsoft to pause/ revert the updated SharePoint start page experience

Microsoft have announced they are pausing and rolling back the updated SharePoint start page experience. Announced via the Message Center (post #192001), Microsoft said their internal metrics data indicated that users were not finding all their sites as easily with the updated experience as they were in the previous design of the page.

After April 1, 2020 all users who may have received the updated experience will revert back to the current experience.

Find out more:

Edit metadata from within the SharePoint Document Library and List View web parts

Soon you be able to open and edit file or list item properties directly from the document or list view web parts. Moving away from having to go to the list or library itself, just click on info or more under the item’s properties.

Edit metadata from within the SharePoint Document Library and List View web parts

Find out more:

Rich-text capabilities in the conditional formatting rule builder

Conditional formatting rules for SharePoint lists allows you to use if/ then logic to format rows and columns based on numerical values and dates and so on. You now will have more flexibility on how these attributes appear with the enhanced rich text editor – to bold, color, underline, etc. more closely to how you wish your text to appear.

 Conditional formatting rule builder with new rich-text capabilities.

Find out more:

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Teams

Improved audio quality for networks with high packet loss

Rolled out to Teams worldwide, you now will experience improved audio quality even with congested or lossy networks, poor WiFi or mobile data connection to you and I. Microsoft have introduced smarter jitter buffer logic, burst loss detection, and triggering of redundant transmissions to ensure smooth audio playback, even under high burst loss.

Find out more:

Background blur for iOS

Background blur is coming to iOS! Over the next few weeks this feature will be rolling out to iPhones and iPads.

Bookings app

The Bookings app allows you to schedule and take part in appointment’s with external people using Teams. With a single scheduling experience, you can create virtual appointments with external attendees easily. As an external attendee, you will receive an email invite with details of the appointment and a link to join. You can join via the web browser or the Teams mobile app.

The Bookings App in Teams will be available in the coming weeks.

The Bookings app in Teams allows you to schedule and take part in appointment’s with external people.

Find out more:

Raise hands feature in Teams meetings

Another update that has absolutely nothing to do with the popularity of Zoom, the new “raise hands” feature in Teams allows meeting attendees to identify that they wish to speak, making it easier to actively participate in large meetings.

Everyone will see a visual cue on the attendee’s video feed, as well as in the participant list, and can be sure to give them the room to participate in the conversation at hand.

The raise hand feature is coming to Teams meetings.

Find out more:

Noise suppression in Teams meetings

Real-time noise suppression in Teams automatically removes any unwanted background noise during meetings. This feature is coming soon to meetings and calls, but is generally available for recorded video content in Stream now.

Real-time noise suppression in Microsoft Teams.

Find out more:

Pop out Teams chats into multiple windows

You will now be able to pop out individual Teams chat conversations into a separate window, to help you streamline your workflow and more easily move between ongoing conversations.

Pop out Teams chats into multiple windows in Microsoft Teams.

Find out more:

Teams offline

Now you can open and access Teams even when you without internet access. Teams users will now be able to open Teams even when no network is available. You will be able to create and read messages, browse previously viewed channels, and to view calendar summaries.

Pinned chats, pinned channels, and recently visited chats and channels will always be available offline.

Teams is also optimized for low to poor performing networks, meaning users can still send messages with poor connectivity. If conditions are too poor to send a message, Teams will notify users of this and then save the message until the user has returned to a functioning network. 

Find out more:

Team membership increased to 10,000 users

Microsoft have increased the individual team membership from 5,000 to 10,000 users. This limit will start rolling out in April 2020. 

Find out more:

Group chat increased to 250 users

Coming soon, group chats will be able to accommodate up to 250 users allowing an ad-hoc discussion with colleagues you may not already share a Team with prior to a project starting in anger.

Find out more:

Teams & Skype Consumer chat and calling interoperability

Teams users will soon be able to find and communicate with users on the Skype consumer service, allowing businesses using Teams to engage with customers and colleagues on the iconic communications platform, across all clients including iOS and Android.

This new interoperability will allow Teams and Skype consumer users to chat and make calls using Voice over IP (VoIP) initiated by either client using an email address (phone number or Skype ID searches are not supported at this time.) For safety and security, Teams users can accept or decline first-time conversations with Skype users, and may block and unblock contacts.

This highly anticipated feature begins rolling out in Teams by the end of March. 

Find out more:

New Satin codec in Teams

The new Satin codec as part of Teams will deliver wideband audio with as little as 7 kbps. Although Wi-Fi and mobile data connections can deliver way faster speeds than this, Teams will continue to deliver the best audio experiences during periods of congestion and network handoffs without having to sacrifice video or screen sharing quality.

Find out more:

M365 Business Voice available in the US from April 1st

Business Voice, a cloud-based telephony system was launched in the UK and Canada for small and medium businesses back in November 2019.

Starting April 1st, Business Voice will be available to purchase in the U.S. for $20/user/mo. Business Voice will also be available form April 1 with a third-party calling plan will be available in over 70 countries.

Find out more:

Device management experience update

Administrators now have the ability to manage certified Microsoft Teams phones from the Microsoft Teams admin center. This will soon be extended for Microsoft Teams room devices and collaboration bars. Admins will be able to perform key actions such as update settings, restart devices, gather logs, review device call quality data, and more.

Find out more:

Capability improvements to Shifts

Microsoft have made changes to the Shifts experience for firstline managers and workers to free up time spent on administering the solution. Here’s an overview of what’s changed:

  • Schedule filtering: filter by team members or schedule groups, making it easier to manage large shift schedules
  • Recall shared schedule: recall single or multiple days of a shared schedule, in order to make any necessary changes
  • “Your shifts” view: quickly access shift information without scrolling through the entire team schedule

Targeted communications in the Shifts app

Soon you will be able to target messages to recipients who are on-shift based on their role and the shifts they are working. Users are automatically assigned to tags matching their schedule in the Shifts app in Teams, which allows for integration with major workforce management systems, including AMiON, JDA, and Kronos.

Targeted communications in the Shifts app in Microsoft Teams.

Find out more:

Kronos Workforce Central integration with Shifts

You can now integrate Kronos Workforce Central v.8.1 with Shifts for the viewing schedules, publishing and requesting open shifts, swapping shifts, requesting time off and offering shifts.

Find out more:

RealWear headset for hands-free Teams collaboration

RealWear, industry leader in head-mounted, ruggedized solutions is partnering with Microsoft Teams to support digital transformation in manufacturing and other industrial environments. This partnership brings together RealWear devices and Microsoft Teams to empower Firstline

Workers while keeping their hands free. Teams on RealWear devices will be available later this year.

RealWear headsets for Microsoft Teams.

Find out more:

Teams Walkie Talkie on the Samsung XCover Pro

Walkie Talkie is a new push to talk experience in Teams that enables clear voice communication over the cloud. The Galaxy XCover Pro with Microsoft Teams simplifies and empowers Firstline Workers and their organizations to communicate and collaborate using just one device and one platform.

The capability will be available in the Teams mobile app and integrate with the newly unveiled Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro, a device built for workers on the front lines of any industry. The XCover Pro will be available through Microsoft retail stores starting in mid-April, and Walkie Talkie in Teams will be available starting July 2020.

Teams Walkie Talkie on the Samsung XCover Pro.

Find out more:

Bose headsets for Teams

Bose are the latest company to have their own Teams device. The Bose Noise Cancellation 700 UC (NC700) will be Teams certified and available for purchase later this Spring.

Find out more:

Teams collaboration bars

Collaboration bars allow you to turn your focus rooms or smaller conference areas into collaborative meeting spaces. These video conferencing solutions attach to displays, TVs or touchscreens to deliver high-quality, collaborative video meetings.

Collaboration bars for Microsoft Teams.

Find out more:

Poly Teams phones

The Poly CCX Series are a range of native Teams phones to help users to transform the way they communicate. The series offers a range models to choose from, starting with the CCX400 and up to the CCX600. You can personalize yours with a headset that suits your style or use the traditional handset. 

Find out more:

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Power Apps

Sharing improvements for model-driven apps

Sharing model-driven apps has been streamlined into a single sharing panel so you can share apps without having to jump through several hoops to do so!

Sharing model-driven apps in Power Apps.

Find out more:

AI Builder models general availability

Six AI Builder models will move out of preview and reach general availability in April 2020. From April, the list of GA models will include:

  • Form processing – Read and save information from standard documents.
  • Key phrase extraction – Extract the key talking points from text.
  • Language detection – Identify the language being used in text.
  • Object detection – Recognize and count things in images.
  • Sentiment analysis – Analyze positive/negative sentiment in text.
  • Text recognition – Automatically process text from images.

Find out more:

New Gateway management features on Power Platform Admin Center

The Power Apps team have announced several enhancements to gateway management operations on Power Platform Admin center. An overview of the new features is listed below:

  • Gateway Member Status, State and Remove Operation
  • Gateway Cluster Status
  • Remove Gateway Clusters
  • Gateway Cluster Settings

Find out more:

Filtering improvements for lookups in Unified Interface

Several filtering improvements for lookups in Unified Interface will begin rolling out in March 2020.  These improvements include:

  • Web Client filtering
  • Unified Interface Filtering
  • Only my records filtering
  • Related records filtering
Unified Interface Filtering.

Find out more:

Command checker for model-driven apps

Command Checker is an in-app tool designed to help users understand why buttons are hidden or shown and what command will run upon click.

For each button on a given ribbon, the tool will show its calculated visibility status, the evaluation result of each enable/display rule attached to the button, and the command to be executed when clicked. 

Command checker for model-driven apps in Power Apps.

Find out more:

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Power Automate

UI flows enter GA

Announced previously at Microsoft Ignite 2019, robotic process automation has been in preview with the launch of UI flows. UL flows will be generally available from April 2.

Find out more:

UI flows February 2020 update

The February 2020 update for Power Automate UI flows is now available in preview. Here’s a summary of the new features:

  • Add support for International Input Method Editors (IMEs)
  • Improve reliability for international keyboard layouts and special key support
  • Enable user to opt in or out of coordinate-based playback fallback that expands the coverage of UI automation
  • Improve user experience on the designer for UI flows
    • The domain name and username are automatically populated in the UI flows connection card.
  • Bug fixes including:
    • Some international users were seeing an error (“Newtonsoft.Json.JsonSerializationException”) when running UI flows on machines with international locale setting.
    • Latest Microsoft Edge releases caused errors automating browsers with UI flows.

Find out more:

Unattended Robotic Process Automation and AAD support now available in preview for UI flows

The Power Automate team have announced the preview of unattended UI flows – flows that run without human supervision. This is best for scenarios such as processing invoices and entering them into a legacy application automatically.

When running unattended, Power Automate will securely sign into the device on your behalf, execute the UI flow actions onto the target applications then sign out of the device.

Power Automate already supported on-premises Active Directory (AD)-joined machines to run UI flows. With this release UI flows now support Azure Active Directory (AAD)-joined machines.

Find out more:

File attachments in approval flows

The Power Automate team are releasing the ability to pass files from a connector action to the Approvals action step, so that you can enjoy the peace of mind that comes with sharing just enough information that’s needed.

You can now attach files to an approval flow.

Find out more:

Error handling and control logic for UI flows

The Power Automate team have announced the availability of error handling and control logic for UI automation scripts.

Error handling allows you to add resilience and robustness to your UI flows by adding parallel branches of execution. Control logic allows you to use actions like condition, switch case and terminate actions directly within a UI flow.

Find out more:

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Power BI

Read/write XMLA endpoints in Power BI Premium public preview

The Power BI team have announced the public preview of read/write capabilities for the XMLA endpoint in Power BI Premium. The read/write capability now introduces many additional scenarios for dataset management, advanced semantic modeling, debugging, and monitoring.

Find out more:

Query Diagnostics General Availability

Query Diagnostics for Power Query has entered GA. Query Diagnostics is a powerful new feature that will allow you to determine what Power Query is doing during authoring and in some refresh workflows in Power BI Desktop.

Find out more:

Multi Geo Premium Capacities performance improvements

The Power BI team completed a global roll out of an improvement to Premium Capacities configured in remote locations (aka Multi Geo capacities).

Multi Geo capacities allow global organizations to remain compliant with data residency regulations that vary between geographies. Organizations can have their main Power BI region set to where their headquartered, and have reports served from remote geographies while ensuring data at rest remains bounded to the remote geography.

Performance Improvements for Multi Geo Premium Capacities.

Find out more:

On-premises data gateway March 2020 update

The Power BI team have announced the March update for the On-premises data gateway (version 3000.31.3).

Find out more:

Power BI Desktop March 2020 Feature Summary

The Power BI team have announced the release of several new features including new button actions, multi-column sort for tables, dual axis for line chart, a search for the filter pane, updates to decomposition tree, and much more!

Find out more:

A new, revamped search experience is coming to Power BI that allows users to search for reports, dashboards, apps, and workspaces from any page in the product.

New search experience in Power BI.

Find out more:

Power BI mobile updates

Several improvements have been introduced to the Power BI mobile experience including the Interactions Setting, which lets you configure how to interact with reports in Power BI mobile apps.

Find out more:

Export report to PDF, PPTX and PNG files using Power BI REST API (Preview)

An additional layer of capabilities for Power BI have been announced, allowing you to export a Power BI report by using a REST call, to the following file formats: PDF, PPTX (PowerPoint) and PNG.

Find out more:

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Power Virtual Agents

Power Virtual Agents feature summary Wave 1

In Wave 1, the Power Virtual Agent team’s initial focus was on increasing the reach of Power Virtual Agents through language and geo-expansion, enhancing authoring capabilities, and addressing key features for large enterprises like collaboration across multiple bot authors, bot lifecycle management and other admin experiences.

Find out more:

Power Virtual Agents solution-aware flows

All Power Automate flows created from Power Virtual Agents are now solution-aware and available to your bots right away.

With this update, Power Virtual Agents now automatically saves all flows into the Default Solution under Solutions tab instead of the My flows tab.

Power Automate flows created from Power Virtual Agents are now solution-aware.

Find out more:

View, export, and manage retention time of your bot conversation transcripts

Power Virtual Agents now enables you to view and export your bot’s conversation transcripts beyond 30 days by managing transcript retention time.

With this feature, you will be able to do the following from the Power Apps portal:

  • View bot’s conversation transcripts
  • Export bot’s conversation transcripts
  • Manage how long to keep the transcripts

Find out more:

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Related

Microsoft Personal & Family

March 2020 saw the announcement of Microsoft 365 Personal and Family moving away from O365 for individuals and families offering. Several name changes were also made to existing small- medium business and enterprise offerings.

Office 365 Business Essentials is now Microsoft 365 Business Basic; Office 365 Business Premium is now Microsoft 365 Business Standard; and Microsoft 365 Business is now Microsoft 365 Business Premium. Meanwhile, Office 365 Business and Office 365 ProPlus will be called Microsoft 365 Apps.

Find out more:

Yammer conversations in your inbox

Yammer emails in Outlook on the web enable users to interact with Yammer conversations, polls, and questions, and deliver praise. Now you can see the full Yammer thread and reply, like, vote, attach files, share GIFs, and even watch videos right from your inbox.

These features are now available to all Enterprise tenants with releases in Outlook for Windows, Outlook for Mac, and Outlook for iOS and Android coming next quarter.

Engage with Yammer conversations directly within your inbox.

Find out more:

View/edit improvements for files in Office mobile

You can now view and edit data in Excel in a simple, digestible card format, eliminating the need to span across columns that extend beyond the limits of the screen. Also new to Office mobile, PowerPoint Designer helps you create professional presentations with design, formatting, and iconography ideas for your content.

These features will be available in the next few months in the Office app for Android and iOS.

Find out more:

Resources

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