Microsoft have released another feature to Microsoft Teams that has been available in Skype for Business for many years, Meet Now!
Meet Now is a feature that allows you to start a meeting on-demand, without having to schedule it in advance. In Skype for Business, personally I never really used this feature, simply because I could start a conversation with someone, and then add another person into that conversation using drag and drop, thus making it a conference, or meeting.
However, with Teams, perhaps this feature could be more needed than it ever was in Skype for Business. Teams lacks the ability to drag and drop people into on going conversations that would then make a meeting. Instead it is invite based.
The biggest use case I can see for this feature is from Teams Meeting Room devices, or Teams conference phones where you’re in a room discussing a topic and need external support from multiple parties. Here, Meet Now is a significant and welcome feature!
With a Teams meeting, the organiser would then have the meeting controls to dial people in to the meeting from the PSTN (subject to audio conferencing license, or calling plan), as well as also being able to ping a meeting join link to others via chat to say “Join now”.
There are situations however, where you need to be selective in this features use. If all participants in the meeting are already using Teams for meetings, or Teams Only mode, then when you invite them to your meeting, they will join via the toast notification they’ll receive. But, if a participant is using Skype for Business then meet now is not going to currently work for them.
This is due to the current fact that currently, Skype for Business clients are not compatible clients to connect to a Teams meeting. When invited, the Skype for Business user may get an invite, and if they click accept, meeting join will fail. They have no other means to join that conference, because they don’t know the meeting join link. In most cases, Teams would simply let you know that it could not invite this person.
This leaves you as an organiser with three options to choose from
- Do you try and dial the Skype for Business user into the meeting using their PSTN phone number? This could be a disadvantage, especially if you are screen sharing, or expecting the Skype user to contribute
- Do you copy the meeting join information to your clipboard, open a separate chat to the Skype user and paste the join Information? This will allow the Skype user to join via the web client
- Should you have used scheduled meetings instead of Meet Now? and simply carry on with the meeting without the Skype person?
As more and more organisations start to move to Teams, this feature will grow. For now at least, in my opinion, you should be selective of its use.
Mark is an Independent Microsoft Teams Consultant with over 15 years experience in Microsoft Technology. Mark is the founder of Commsverse, a dedicated Microsoft Teams conference and former MVP. You can follow him on twitter @UnifiedVale