Using Microsoft Teams as a Walkie Talkie for Frontline Workers

There are an amazing number of great apps available to integrate into Microsoft Teams. Some of these apps are published by Microsoft and many more are third part integrations ranging from handy productivity tools to line of business apps surfaced in a users Teams console. One cool app that is now available is the Teams ‘Walkie Talkie’ app. ‘Walkie Talkie’, essentially brings Push to Talk (PTT) functionality to Teams. Among the many use cases for this app, allowing Frontline Workers to communicate efficiently and quickly is a great application of Teams functionality and something that many third party vendors are currently providing.

Deploy Walkie Talkie

To deploy Walkie Talkie, we can create an App Setup Policy and deploy to the users we want the app available to. We add it into the pinned apps and deploy the policy to whoever needs it.

Given a little time to replicate, when our user logs in, they’ll see the app available in their App bar.

Using Walkie Talkie

Using Walkie Talkie is very easy. Simply open the Walkie Talkie app and select that Teams Channel we want to talk in.

Now when we hit ‘Connect’ we simply push the button to talk!

We can see how many other users are connected and also perform our other Teams tasks while remaining connected.

While this functionality is pretty straightforward, the value it provides is pretty impressive. I can definitely see this being used to replace a lot of legacy third party PTT systems.

Microsoft Teams Meeting Recordings Moving to OneDrive and SharePoint

Microsoft Teams recordings are a great feature for when people miss meetings and need to catch up, or when they just need to review the content. We’ve used them in the past for technical demos and project handovers. Recordings were were, until now, saved into Microsoft Stream and available to view in the Stream app. This is changing in the near future.

Going forward, Teams recordings will be saved into OneDrive and SharePoint by default instead. For any Channel meetings, recordings will be stored in the appropriate SharePoint library and for regular, non-channel meetings, they will be saved in the OneDrive of the user who hits the record button.

The current schedule for this rollout as issued by the Microsoft Message Center is:

  • 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”

To delay this change until Q1 2020, you can run the below command in the Skype Online Management Shell (Yes it’s still around and very much needed to manage Teams, however it’s now installed as part of the Microsoft Teams PowerShell Module)

Set-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy -Identity Global -RecordingStorageMode "Stream"

The above command will allow you to defer this change to 2021 but not prevent it entirely.

For more information on the benefits of this change – and the limitations after moving, see the below Microsoft Article:

Turn off message preview for Teams notifications

With the extraordinary uptake of Teams in recent months, a lot of users are still finding their way around what they can and can’t do and how to customize their Teams client settings. One thing I’ve seen cause problems (particularly on screen shares during meetings) is the Teams notification message preview.

When sharing a screen through Teams or any other app, there’s always the possibility that something might pop up that not everyone should see. I’m always nervous when I see something like this pop up during a meeting screen share:

Sharing a single app can help to minimize this risk but it’s not always practical. It also doesn’t help when presenting a screen in person. Beginning in October 2020, Microsoft are rolling out the ability to turn off the message preview function to Teams clients. This will be available in the Teams client settings notifications section.

Teams notification settings

This is another great quality of life feature that users will enjoy. It may help prevent some embarrassing pop ups going forward. I’d also recommend looking at the focus-assist settings in Windows 10 to minimize notifications.