Teams Live Events Support Anonymous (External) Presenters

Change Rolling Out in April 2021

Microsoft has pushed a bunch of recent changes to improve the capabilities of regular Teams meetings. With the ability to cope with up to 1,000 full participants and an overflow of up to an additional 20,000 view-only participants, Teams regular meetings are usable when Teams Live Events had to be used. Nevertheless, the need to run structured online events for large audiences still exists, especially when presenters use multiple video streams, and that’s where Live Events shine.

Which brings me to message center notification MC249250 published on 7 April, which announces support for anonymous external presenters. Microsoft 365 roadmap item 70599 is more specific and says that anonymous presenters are those who do not have an Azure AD or Microsoft Services (MSA) account. Up to now, external presenters have needed a guest or federated account. The update is rolling out in mid-April and should be fully deployed by the end of May.

Unlike regular meetings, where everyone can speak, share their video feed, and chat, only people assigned the organizer and presenter roles can speak, present information, and are visible during live events. Of course, presenters aren’t anonymous unless their identity is never revealed to those who schedule and attend an event. Instead, it’s a term indicating that the presenter is someone from outside the organization who doesn’t have a verifiable Microsoft identity. External experts are often invited to present at the kind of large public events which are the natural home for Live Events, so this is a useful change.

Adding External Presenters

Anonymous or external presenters must be specified when setting up the event (Figure 1) and they must use the Teams desktop client when they participate in the event. Presenters receive calendar invitations for the event. The invitations contain the special link which identifies the recipient as a presenter. Those who attend the event receive a different link.

Creating a Teams Live Event with anonymous presenters
Figure 1: Creating a Teams Live Event with anonymous presenters

When anonymous presenters are part of an event, only invited participants can bypass the meeting lobby, no matter what the default lobby setting is for the tenant.

More Go Local Regions Support Teams Live Events

Another important change for Teams Live Events is in MC249249, also published on April 7. This confirms that “go local” support for Live Events is available in France, Germany, South Africa, South Korea, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). In other words, Microsoft has installed the necessary software to support Live Events in these country-level datacenters.

Microsoft says that tenants wishing to move support for events to the local datacenter must create a support ticket to “formally request the change in datacenter.”

Previously, regional datacenters (like EMEA) hosted the data used for events created by tenants located in these countries. Microsoft will not migrate data for older events to the country datacenters even when a tenant asks for the location of event data to move. This information remains in the regional datacenter.


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