Works for Teams or Skype for Business Online Meetings
Office 365 Notification MC213856 published on May 20 tells us that users will soon be able to configure an organizational setting to instruct OWA, Outlook for Mac, and Outlook mobile clients to make any new meeting created into an online event. Given the current need to work from home, this change reflects the transition of many meetings from in-person events to online.
The feature only works when an account is connected to an Office 365 tenant with Teams or Skype for Business Online configured for online meetings. Unsurprisingly, it doesn’t work with other online meeting providers like Zoom and GoToMeeting. Outlook Mobile can be configured to support third-party online meeting providers.
Three roadmap items are covered by the announcement: 63383 (OWA), 63625 (Outlook for iOS), and 63628 (Outlook for Android). MC230567 published on December 16 says that Outlook for Windows will introduce the feature in early 2021.
Making Online Meetings
Today, users must take an explicit action to create an online meeting. For example, in OWA, they set a slider to mark the meeting as a Teams or Skype for Business event. When this happens, the client retrieves a URI from the online provider pointing to the online “space” used for the meeting and inserts the URI into the meeting request. Other properties of the meeting request are updated to allow participants to join the meeting online.
Microsoft will release a client update for OWA at the end of May with Outlook mobile clients being updated over the June-July period. When available, the updates allow users to control whether they want to make every meeting an online event. In the meantime, some PowerShell settings are already available to control the feature at a tenant and mailbox level.
Tenant Online Meeting Setting
The Set-OrganizationConfig cmdlet manages the Exchange Online tenant configuration. The OnlineMeetingsByDefaultEnabled setting is False, meaning that online meetings are not the default. Updating the setting to True makes online meetings the default, and clients that support the setting will use it unless it is overridden by a mailbox-specific setting.
Set-OrganizationConfig –OnlineMeetingsByDefaultEnabled $True
Mailbox Online Meeting Setting
To override the organization setting on a mailbox level, run the Set-MailboxCalendarConfiguration cmdlet. The mailbox setting has the same name, but it’s Null by default, meaning that the organization setting takes precedence. You can set the value to $True to force the use of online meetings or $False to make “normal” (non-online) meetings be the default. Here’s a typical example of updating the calendar configuration for a mailbox.
Set-MailboxCalendarConfiguration -OnlineMeetingsByDefaultEnabled $True -Identity Kim.Akers
If you do nothing, the organization setting will be False, and clients will work as they do today unless and until users update their calendar settings. The need to update the organization setting depends on the type of company, its meeting culture, and the prevalence of online meetings (using Teams and Skype for Business).
If you use another online meeting provider, leave the organization setting alone and don’t tell users about the calendar settings. On the other hand, if you’re deep into Teams or Skype for Business, maybe the right idea is to switch to online meetings by default. It all depends on how people work in your company.
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