Too Many Attendees? Teams’ View-only Meeting is the Perfect Solution

Microsoft Teams, the fastest-growing application, is a hub for teamwork that has 145 million daily active users in April 2021. 

As the COVID 19 worsened, employees are working remotely and their meetings/discussions are scheduling through Teams meetings. The actual meeting capacity of the Microsoft Teams is 300 attendees for commercial tenantsWhen it comes to large scale enterprises, they require more employees to join a meeting. Sadly, they can allow only a limited number of people to join Microsoft Teams meetings.  

To overcome this difficulty, Microsoft launched an eye-opening feature ‘Teams view-only meeting’ which allows up to 20,000 users into the meeting after exceeding attendees’ limit. From the first week of July 2021, it will be limited to 10,000 attendees.  

Teams’ view-only mode is disabled by default. Currently, you can enable it through PowerShell. It will be available in the UI shortly.

 

Enable Teams View-Only Meeting With PowerShell

You can use PowerShell to enable or disable view-only attendees’ mode by editing the Teams meeting policy. Only administrators can edit the Teams meeting policy.  

To enable Teams view-only mode in PowerShell, 

 

To disable Teams view-only mode in PowerShell, 

To run the above cmdlet, you must install and connect to the Microsoft Teams PowerShell. 

Note: Users must be configured with the Microsoft 365 E3/E5 or the Microsoft 365 A3/A5 Subscription for organizing or attending a view-only meeting.  

 

Roles of Presenter and Organizer in the View-only Meeting

The organizer creates the meeting link and sets the presenter at the time of creation. As a presenter or organizer, you can experience all the features including, audio and video controls rolling out in the Teams meeting.  

Once the meeting capacity is reached, organizers and presenters will receive the banner which informs This meeting has reached the capacity. Participants who join now will have view-only access. But they cannot see view-only attendees. 

The following picture shows you the banner on the top of the meeting screen. 

 

View-only meeting banner message

 

Microsoft Teams doesn’t support E-discovery for the view-only attendees. Organizers act as a host for the meeting. They can re-join and can access all the features even if they left the main meeting. As a presenter, you can’t join the meeting with full access when you left the meeting after reaching capacity. You can only join as a view-only attendee. 

 

Regular User’s Experience in the Main Meeting

Users click the link sent by the organizer for joining the meeting. The user will experience all the features according to the permission assigned by the organizer. 

  • As a regular user, you can use all the features like sharing audio and video, participating in the meeting chat. 
  • The available space in the main meeting lets a user join the main meeting if any of the regular users leave the meeting. Attendees can join or re-join the meeting until the main meeting reaches its capacity again.                             

 

Joining a Meeting That Reaches Capacity

If the capacity of the main meeting has reached (299+1 organizer), an attendee won’t be able to join as a regular attendee. They can join only as a view-only attendee. 

 

Meeting Experience of View-Only Attendees

View-only attendees will experience the following features.  

  • Participants can join as a view-only attendee through Desktop, Web, Teams Mobile (Android and IOS).   
  • View-only attendees can listen to the participants in the main meeting like regular attendees.  
  • View-only attendees can access audio and video feeds of the active speaker if they are sharing.  
  • View-only participants can see the content shared through Desktop functionality.  
  • Attendees are not supposed to change as regular attendees if one of the regular attendees left the main meeting.  
  • As a view-only attendee, you will be supported by streaming Technology. 

The below pre-join screen displays that you are joining as a view-only attendee in the Teams meeting. 

View-only pre-join screen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Note: View-only attendees will have 30 seconds of audio and video delay in the meeting. 

 

Limitations for View-Only Attendees

View-only attendees are not allowed to experience the following features:  

  • When the meeting reaches its capacity, view-only attendees can’t join the meeting if they don’t have permission to bypass the lobby based on set lobby policies or options.  
  • View-only attendees can’t share their video or audio and are unable to participate in the meeting chat.  
  • View-Only participants won’t see the video feed of users in the main meeting unless they are active speakers.  
  • View- only attendees can’t access the PowerPoint files shared using the PowerPoint Live functionality or individual application shares (other than desktop or screen sharing).  
  • View-only attendees neither react their thoughts nor raise their hands during the meeting.  
  • View- only participants can’t join the meeting if the organizer has no permission to bypass the lobby.  
  • The meeting supports only English captions. View-only attendees will only be able to see Live Captions on Desktop and Web.  
  • View-only attendees will have a single video experience. They can see either the video of the active speaker or the content shared but not both. 

Imperfections You Are Facing With This Update!

Though Teams’ features are surprising and up to date, it still faces some technical drawbacks.   

  • A presenter (active speaker) cannot re-join the meeting with full access after he/she left the meeting.   
  • Neither the organizer nor the presenter does not have access to view the Teams view-only attendees’ list.   
  • The organizer and presenter did not know about the attendance report of participants who joined after the main meeting.   
  • The main drawback of this feature is that once a meeting exceeds its capacity, a person can join only as a view-only attendee, even the organizer cannot make you a regular attendee.                                                                   

Conclusion

Gaining Productivity and enriched communication is the most highlighted advantage of the Teams. In that manner, Microsoft teams’ view-only mode will give you a different experience. It is acting as a one step-solution for admins who are running a big enterprise. Even though the Teams’ view-only mode has pros and cons, it stands top among other applications. The future update of the Teams will surely rectify the problems in the view-only experience.