Categories
iPhone Microsoft Teams Teams Zoom

Why is the Text in my Teams Background Back To Front

With Teams (and Zoom, and probably other video conferencing apps) as well as apps that add to the live camera image such Chromacam and Snap Camera in popular use, you might have noticed that all the example backgrounds have no text on them.

So what happens when you or your company roll out a set background to use that does contain text – for example, this mockup image:

Teams background mockup with text
Teams Background With Added Text

Now my graphics editing skills are not great, but this is just one of the included background images that come with Microsoft Teams and a logo added as if it were a picture on the wall.

So what happens when I use this as my custom background in Teams (or Zoom etc.) – the following is what I see:

Teams (Presenter View) on Desktop with Text In Background Meeting
Teams (Presenter View) on Desktop with Text In Background Meeting

You can see that in the view of the background I can see the text is back to front. This is correct, as the view from my camera that is presented back to me is usually mirrored for my convenience. This is because they way I see myself is in a mirror, and so to show me “unmirrored” so to speak would look odd to me. Also if I raise one hand or move to one side, the mirrored image of me from my camera shows this happening on the side of the screen I would naturally expect it to be on.

The downside of this is that any text we add to background images will appear back to front for us – but it will appear correct to all attendees, as the Teams will not show the attendees the mirrored image. Just as we expect to see a mirror image when looking at ourselves, others who look at us do not expect to see that, and the video conferencing apps will not show that to them – so they see your logo, or text or whatever, correctly as you intended.

Teams Attendee View (iPhone)
Teams (Attendee View) on iPhone, with text the correct orientation

Categories
Live Event Microsoft 365 Microsoft Teams Stream Teams

Microsoft Teams Live Events For Running a Church Service

Or, how to run a Microsoft Teams Live Event with average technical capability presenters, or how to run a Microsoft Teams Live Event for events that you would not normally consider this service for!

So with this title and alternative titles in mind we are going to look at how I set up and ran a Microsoft Teams Live Event for a weekly church service because access to the church building was closed due to social distancing because of the SARS-CoV-2 (Covid-19 Coronavirus global outbreak). The previous week at church we ran a YouTube live streaming event as we could get access to the church building and we needed five people to put the service together (preacher, piano player, camera operator, sound desk and computer [for hymn words] operator). The second week of self isolation, government rules made this method of live broadcast impossible. So we turned to Microsoft Teams Live Events.

Microsoft Teams Live Events requires an Office 365 E3 or higher licence. The other requirements are that the producer(s) role and the presenters need to install Microsoft Teams and have a login to your tenant, but the attendees do not need a licence at all (as this particular Live Event will be open to anonymous attendees).

So how do we put this together:

  1. Set up the live event and a practice live event (as you cannot reuse a live event twice, so set up at least one practice event as well)
  2. Publish your event on your church website, and if interested use a URL shortening service that you can update (we use https://rebrand.ly) as this gives you click count and geo-location of the audience. Our first live event had attendees in India, northern Africa, and North and South America (as well as the UK where the church is based).
  3. Have all presenters arrive early to the live event (we went for 30 minutes) and aim to go live around 10 minutes before the actual event
  4. Have a collection of presenters for different roles – in social isolation it is of great benefit to see many different people taking part in the church event rather than it being run by one preacher
  5. Audio is open from all presenters unless they are muted – this allows the attendee to hear more than one person in different locations at the same time – this allowed us to have a pianist 15 miles from the person displaying the hymn words on the screen.

Create a Teams Live Event

To create a live event open the Teams app or website and go to the Calendar component.

To the top right, click the down arrow next to New Meeting and choose Live Event:
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Fill in the details for the Live Event. This will include a title, a location (which we will leave blank due to self isolation!) and a start and end time. The start time should not include the pre-show preparation by the presenters and does not need to include time for the pre-event greeting which we will discuss below. So in our example here, church starts at 10:30am on a Sunday so that is the start time for the event.

Also invite the presenters. You can come back and edit this information later and add and remove presenters as the event information changes regarding what and who is going to be involved in the event.

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Click Next and then select your audience. In our case this is an anonymous audience:

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Scroll down in the New Live Event dialog and ensure that you select Recording available to all attendees (this allows attendees to watch the event at a later time on the Teams Live Event URL). Ensure that you pick the translations that support your expected audience and choose the Audience Engagement Report to be able to download a list of attendees who signed in after the event.

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Click Schedule to create the Live Event. This sends the invitation to your other presenters and producers.

You then see the following dialog:

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From the above you grab the attendee URL, which we will use in the next section and also from here you can edit the live event. You can return to this dialog box if you open the event later from your calendar in Teams (remember to show “Whole Week” from the calendar view as it just shows “Working Week” by default).

URL Shortening

Your live event is now created and its time to tell the audience how to get to the event. The below is what the Teams Live Event URL looks like (this below will not work):

https://teams.microsoft.com/l/meetup-join/19%3ameeting_ZDA5OWZhNDYtYzdlMS00ZWXxXxXxXjYtZTc4NzJjNDc1NDJk%40thread.v2/0?context=%7b%22Tid%22%3a%22046f8910-0ef6-412a-xxxx-yyyyyyyyyyyy%22%2c%22Oid%22%3a%224bd86ae6-7fa8-470e-8578-59214991d892%22%2c%22IsBroadcastMeeting%22%3atrue%7d

We used a URL shortening service where we could send the attendees a single URL that we updated the target of each Friday or Saturday. We do not update the URL shortener link earlier in the week as the attendee can click the link after the Sunday and watch the event again or maybe for the first time. We did not use Bitly for link shortening as we could not update the link target without buying an expensive package.

So our church service can be reached at https://rebrand.ly/wrbcliveevent. We also placed this link on our website and wrote instructions on how to connect to the event and this is at https://wrbc.org.uk/live/ so that the user has some advice on how to connect as well (for example, mobile apps need the Teams app installed, but PCs can view the event in a modern browser).

Presenter Practice

I highly recommend running a presenter practice. In our example of a church service we wanted the ability to play music via a keyboard and to wire that keyboard into the PC that was running Teams. During practice for the first week we were unable to do this because of a suspicious device driver that impacted the ability to connect in a audio source via Line In. So in practice we decided just to place the PC near the piano and audio quality was acceptable but not great. We left this to fix for the second week!

Presenter practice also allows each presenter to get familiar with the application and what they see on the screen. For example in our case I as the producer was also sharing my second monitor to show the hymn words in our projection software (not PowerPoint). Each presenter could see my second monitor image large and the live view quite small (as can be seen below) which caused some questions during the rehearsal, and I as the producer could see something else (producers can see the live screen and the queued video image).Screen Shot 2020-03-26 at 17.05.16

Above is an example of what a presenter can see when the producer is sharing content. You can see the minature video streams for the other presenters and the yellow “pre-live” notice. Once the session goes live (again this was a practice session), the presenters can see the following:

Screen Shot 2020-03-26 at 17.37.22

Now there is a red “live” notice on the control bar and the image that is live is shown boxed in red.

On the producers screen they can see each video feed at the bottom and have the ability to share an app or desktop. During practice we shared the second desktop with the plan to run our hymn projection software (Zionworx) but as this has a control application on screen one and display on screen two it was too busy to try and do that and the Teams live meeting production – so during rehearsal we decided to have all the hymns and other slides (welcome, sermon, notices, reading and exit slide) as a single PowerPoint with presentation viewer option turned off (so running only on the second screen and press enter to move to next slide). This is what the producer could see:

image

Here you can see we are pre-live (yellow) and we can see the final attendee view to the bottom right as well as each video feed and the mute status of each presenter – the producer can mute (but not unmute) presenters. The content (producers second screen) can be seen on the right of the video feed screens.

Going Live

The plan for the live event was that all presenters would be online 30 minutes before the service start time, and that at 10:20 (10 minutes before start time) we would “go live”. At this point all presenters where muted and ensured the holding slide in PowerPoint was displayed on the right-hand view. It looks like this:

image

To get the PowerPoint presentation as a valid source of data you click the Share button on the bottom row and choose the application to share. We decided during the practice that we would share only PowerPoint and have a single slide desk for the whole service rather than sharing individual different presentations. The slides where structured in order, notices and hymns as required. We did not use PowerPoint Presenter View, as that would appear on the monitor that Teams Live Event controller was running on. So in turning off Presentation View all I needed to do was Alt+Tab between the Live Event (Teams app) and PowerPoint and press Enter to move to the next slide in time with the pre-planned order of service.

At five minutes to the start the pianist unmuted her Teams client and started to play some music. This ensured that attendees could both see and hear audio – we briefly swapped video feed to the pianist so that people knew they should be hearing something. This meant that attendees could be sure they were looking at the pre-start notice and that their volume was up.

At 10:29am we went live (there is about a minutes delay to the attendees but real time between the presenters, so this meant we started on time!)

To go live we clicked the Content option on the bottom row – this added it to the Queue (left larger video window) and we clicked “Send live” to place it on the right. We then clicked the video feed of the service leader and this added him to the Queue – this is what you can see above. At the start time we just clicked “Send live” – the pianist stopped and muted herself, the leader was unmuted in advance (but kept quite) and the producer (my role) used hand signals to indicate they were live – the leader and I were about a mile apart, the preacher was eight miles away and the pianist 15 miles away – hand signals via my video feed worked great as a way to communicate.

As each part of the service progressed, I added the next video or PowerPoint content to the queue on the left and sent it live as I needed to.

Finishing and Downloading Recordings

The service went fine, a few people had issues connecting that we later worked out to be issues installing apps on phones (no Apple account set up or credit card saved with Google, and both of these stop you installing any app) and one person had issues with Internet Safety software blocking the Rebrandly URL shortner service! We recommend that you get people to attempt to join the service in the days before Sunday so that they can follow up issues that they have rather than trying one device at the start time on the Sunday and giving up disappointed that it did not work for them.

Once the service finished we placed the final thank you slide on the screen and stayed muted for about 1 minute and then clicked “End”. This finishes the live event and after this point it cannot be restarted – so you need to confirm you really want to end the event. Don’t click Leave at the top as that pauses the event if there are no producers online.

The automatic recording is stopped and all the presenters can talk freely. We each left the meeting and a few hours later I came back and downloaded the recording along with the attendance engagement report. This showed the times people connected and who had a dodgy connection and kept needing to reconnect. If the user is logged into Teams it shows the username as well.

The video stream was then uploaded to our YouTube channel so that anyone who could not connect still had a way to listen to the service, though not in real time.

Now all ready to repeat this next week! And each week until self-isolation in the UK is lifted…

Categories
2016 2019 autodiscover autodiscover v2 calendar exchange exchange online Exchange Server Microsoft Teams Teams

Teams Calendar Fails To On-Premises Mailbox

In Microsoft Teams, you have a calendar  (previously called meetings) icon in the main display that shows your diary and meetings etc. – except it does not work if your mailbox is not either in Exchange Online or, if if your mailbox is on-premises, you are not using Exchange Server 2016 CU3 or later.

The reason for this is that the Teams calendar uses AutoDiscover v2, which is only supported by Exchange Server 2016 CU3 and Exchange Online (note that CU3 is not the current version of Exchange Server 2016 and versions later than CU3 also support AutoDiscover v2).

This means that if you have an earlier version of Exchange Server on-premises then the calendar in Teams is not functional. This raises IT support calls as users expect it to be available, and this impacts your deployment of Teams as it appears broken.

So how can we fix this. Well clearly migrating to Exchange Online or installing the 2016 or later version of Exchange Server is the obvious option from the above, but there is another option to work around this issue. The “fix” is to remove the calendar icon from Teams. This does not stop you booking meetings, as you can still do that in Outlook with the Teams add-in or in the Outlook mobile client, where Teams meeting support is rolling out as I write this blog. If I remove the calendar icon, then the source of the errors disappears, but Teams is not really adversely impacted.

So this is what we start with:

image

And we remove the icon by creating a new App Setup Policy in the Teams Admin centre and then deploying that policy to all your users (with on-premises mailboxes on older versions of Exchange, or those not using Exchange for calendaring). You can easily roll this out as a test, though its about 24 hours for the effect to be seen, and then roll it out in bulk for all your impacted users. We will cover all this below:

 

1. Creating App Setup Policy

In the Teams Admin centre (https://admin.teams.microsoft.com) expand Teams Apps > Setup Policies and create a new policy. This policy is based on your current Global policy.

Select the Calendar app and remove it from this new policy. You should see something like this:

SNAGHTML31beae7d

Here I have created an app policy called “With OnPrem Mailboxes” and removed the Calendar app from it.

2. Applying App Setup Policy To A Test User

Once you have the policy ready, its time to test it. Policy changes will take 24 hours to apply (so say the docs) and I found on my testing it was 18 hours when I ran through these steps – so this is not quick!

To make sure your changes work, the plan here is to deploy this new policy to a few selected individuals in the Teams admin centre.

Find the first user and click on their name. In the details page you will see the policies applied to the lower left:

image

Click Edit at the top right of this section and change the App setup policy to your new policy:

image

And click Save:

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You will see your new policy in the list.

Repeat for the rest of your test pool of users using the portal. We will not use the portal for deploying it to all users though, that will take too long!

Next day, these users should see something like this – no calendar:

image

3. Applying App Setup Policy To All Users

To apply this change to all users once your test users are happy we will use PowerShell, and we will use the Skype for Business Online PowerShell cmdlets (not the Teams PowerShell!).

The following one-line PowerShell, once you have connected to your tenant, is:

Get-CSOnlineUser | ForEach-Object { Grant-CsTeamsAppSetupPolicy -PolicyName "With OnPrem Mailboxes" -Identity $_.WindowsEmailAddress }

This gets all your users and applies a new Teams App Setup Policy to each of them. This works initially with this problem, as we assume all users are affected. If only a subset of your users are on-premises, then do not use this cmdlet to apply the initial change, but use the below to be more selective.

Within 24 hours the Calendar app will disappear from Teams for your users and they will not be phoning the help desk with issues that none of you can easily fix!

4. Applying App Setup Policy To Selected Users

The above cmdlet is a single run – it does not affect later and new users, nor is there a concept of a default policy that you can set as the one each new users gets. So every so often depending upon how often new users start employment you will want to run the below:

Get-CsOnlineUser -Filter { TeamsAppSetupPolicy -ne "With OnPrem Mailboxes" } | Grant-CsTeamsAppSetupPolicy -PolicyName "With OnPrem Mailboxes"

This gets all users where they do not have the selected App Policy already set and sets this just for these users. This is quicker than setting it for all users regardless.

You can use other filters to select users – for example, you could look for users without an on-premises mailbox and then run the ForEach against each of these users instead – this would work in a hybrid deployment.

When you are in a hybrid deployment and you move mailboxes to Exchange Online from on-premises, you will want to set those users just moved back to a policy that includes the calendar app. The same would go for organizations migrating to Exchange Server 2016 with inbound AutoDiscover from Office 365. Here you could use something like importing a CSV file of mailboxes being migrated (the same list you used to build the migration batches in the first place would do) and then run the ForEach for each item on the CSV file.

Categories
groups Microsoft Teams Office 365 Office 365 Groups Teams

Convert Office 365 Group to Microsoft Team Totally Failing

This one has been annoying me for a while – I had an Office 365 Group that I created many years ago in Office 365 that I cannot convert to a Microsoft Team.

This is what I see in Teams to do this process. First, click “Create a team”

image

Followed by “Create a team from an existing Office 365 group” which is found at the bottom of the creation dialog in the Teams app:

image

I get a list of Office 365 Groups but not the one I want. In my example I see six groups:

image

The rules for converting an Office 365 Group to a Team is the following:

  • Must be private
  • Must have an owner

Both of these are true for the group I want to convert, but the group still does not appear in the Teams conversion page shown above:

So I resort to PowerShell:

Get-UnifiedGroup returns all my groups and shows that the group exists (I know it does – its got content in it!)

image

So I get the Group ID using Get-UnifiedGroup <name> | FL *id*

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Specifically I am after the ExternalDirectoryObjectID value

Then I try to make a new Team using PowerShell using the ExternalDirectoryObjectID. This is New-Team -Group <ExternalDirectoryObjectID>

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I get back a lot of red text. In this is reads “Message: Team owner not found”. This is odd, as the Team does have an owner – I can see this in OWA for the Office 365 Group

image

And I can see this using Get-UnifiedGroupLinks as well:

image

So I decide to set the owner back to the owner again using Add-UnifiedGroupLinks PowerShell cmdlet (Add-UnifiedGroupLinks <group_name> -Links <myemailaddress> -LinkType Owner)

image

This returns nothing, so I presume nothing has changed.

I take a look in New Team > Convert Group option – and as if by magic, I can see the Office 365 Group I want to make into a Team

image

Its the one at the top in all these redacted images – the logo matches the group above, and I now have seven Office 365 Groups that are candidates for Teams.

Conversion then happens seamlessly!