As teams are now more globally dispersed, virtual events have remained a constant to connect and bring people together regardless of where they are, while doing so at a lower cost and giving attendees flexibility, accessibility, and the ability to engage meaningfully. Over four years ago, Microsoft introduced Microsoft Teams Live Events, an experience to enable large-scale events across an organisation for people to join from anywhere and across any device. However, Teams Live Events was built on a different platform than the familiar Teams meeting experience that many of us know. Flotek wants you to know of the changes that has been made and the introduction of a new and improved teams communication tool.
Introducing Town halls in Microsoft Teams
A new experience to host and deliver large-scale, internal events to create connections across an organisation. Town halls will provide a one-to-many format with advanced production capabilities and a structured approach for attendee engagement. With town halls, customers can host various types of internal as well as external events including company-wide town halls, all hands, global team meetings, internal broadcasts, fireside chats, and more. Town halls in Microsoft Teams enable customers to extend their reach to scale their message and connect with audiences around the world; create professionally produced, studio-quality events that deliver a more dynamic experience; and structure and manage audience engagement to maximize participation and maintain focus on the event.
Town hall will replace Teams Live Events and be available for Office and Microsoft 365 customers1 and advanced capabilities in town hall will be available for Teams Premium customers. The new town hall experience will be generally available and start to roll out globally to commercial customers on October 5. Starting at launch, town hall will have an ongoing release of features to create parity with Teams Live Events functionality and will reach full feature parity ahead of Teams Live Events retirement in September 2024. For government customers, including GCC, GCC High, and DoD, the general availability date of town halls will be announced in the coming months.
Town hall capacity in Office and Microsoft 365 offerings1 will host up to 10,000 attendees and up to 20,000 attendees in Teams Premium.
Town hall in Office and Microsoft 365 offerings1 will support up to 15 events hosted simultaneously across a tenant and up to 50 concurrent events in Teams Premium.
As Town hall will be integrated as a part of the Teams meeting experience, events duration will be the same as meetings duration, which is up to 30 hours and will be the same for Office and Microsoft 365 offerings1 and Teams Premium.
Organisers can view real-time usage analytics for town halls in the Events Insights dashboard. The dashboard will show event usage information including attendee count, peak concurrency, session duration, geographic locations, and more.
Presenters and organisers can join together in the virtual green room to ensure preparation is seamless.
With the virtual green room, presenters have a separate, dedicated space separate from attendees where they can connect and talk live, stage content, do a quick briefing, and test run without disturbing attendees. In addition, presenters and organisers have a dedicated chat to leverage throughout the event that is not accessible for attendees.
While attendees join and wait for the event to start, they’re greeted with a welcome screen to inform them the event will start shortly and can engage with the presenters through Q&A. This functionality is the same as the existing green room experience in Teams Live Events and advanced webinars in Teams Premium.
Note, green will now also be available for all Teams meetings, webinars, and town halls, including both Office and Microsoft 365 offerings1 and Teams Premium.
Manage what attendees see
To keep attendees focused and more deeply engaged, organisers and presenters can manage their view so they only see shared content and participants brought on-screen. This enables organisers and presenters to bring other presenters both on and off the screen into an off-screen area and share relevant content for a more polished presentation. This also addresses one of our most highly requested features – to show more presenters on-screen with content. This new functionality enables up to seven presenters to be shown with content on the screen at any time.
Hide participant list
While organizers and presenters are able to access the people roster and see how many attendees have joined, attendees won’t have the people roster shown. In addition, as attendees join, their cameras and microphones are off by default.
Q&A enables organisers to easily moderate the conversation and provides a seamless way for attendees to ask questions and interact with the speakers.
Organisers can manage and moderate questions and answers as they flow in, choose which questions to publish or dismiss, and as answers are shared, the responses are threaded so they are easy to follow.
This helps organisers manage the flow of the discussion, highlight official answers, and reduce question overload and redundancy. It also allows organizers to pin conversations and the option to enable anonymous posting, so attendees can submit questions and discussions anonymously.
Q&A also allows everyone to engage with questions through reactions and to submit their own questions and comments. This functionality is the same as the existing Q&A experience in Teams Live Events and in Teams webinars. Q&A will support up to 10,000 attendees for Office and Microsoft 365 offerings1 and up to 20,000 attendees for Teams Premium.
This is a recording of the event that is available to share with attendees to watch after the event has ended. Organisers are now able to access the recording within the town hall setup and management experience by clicking on the recordings tab and then can publish the recording which automatically sends an email to attendees with a link to the recording. Attendees can visit a dedicated event landing page where the recording is hosted and can watch at any time. The on-demand recording is similar to the functionality in Teams Live Events, however, where the recording is accessed and published, and the email that is automatically published is new functionality in town halls.
Email communications and customisation
Organisers can send pre-configured email templates for the event invitation and the event recording emails instead of manually creating a separate email, copying the event link, and sending a calendar invite to attendees. In addition, organisers can customise these email communications to better attract and inform attendees, that include editing the subject name, banner and logo, and email body. Organisers ca access the email communications in the town hall setup and management experience by clicking on the emails tab and will see the two emails listed and when each email will be sent. The pre-configured email communications are available in Office and Microsoft 365 offerings1 and the email customization is available in Teams Premium.
Organisers can access event reporting in the town hall setup and management experience by clicking on the reporting tab and understand overall participants activity including total number of attendees, individual participant join and leave times for the event, and overall attendance duration of individual participants. This functionality is the same as the existing attendee reporting in Teams Live Events and in Teams webinars, however, where the reporting is accessed and downloaded is new functionality in town halls.
Teams Live Events Retirement
With the introduction of town hall, Teams Live Events will be retired for commercial customers on September 30, 2024. This provides commercial customers with a 12-month window to prepare for the retirement and transition off Teams Live Events. After September 30, 2024, Teams Live Events will no longer be supported, and access will be discontinued. Customers will not be able to schedule, start, or join any events on Teams Live Events after this date. Existing recordings will be available to access until December 31, 2024. If customers want to retain any recordings from prior events, they will need to download the recordings and upload them to a different location before December 31, 2024. Between now and September 2024, customers can continue to use Teams Live Events with no change in their existing experience.