Enable Stretchy Meetings & Webinars

OK, so Microsoft don’t call them Stretchy Meetings.  Officially they are meetings with view-only attendees but a meeting that can grow to accommodate more users to my mind is stretchy.  But that’s enough about the title of this blog.

In two recent message center posts Microsoft announced the rollout of webinars and view only attendees in Teams Meetings when the meeting exceeds 300 attendees (aka stretchy Meetings). Both are included at the end of this article for reference.

As they offer two solutions to larger meetings, I wanted to address how you can enable these for your users.

Both posts include guidance for admins on configuring the features using the meeting policy. At the time of writing this article the settings are not available in the meeting policy via Teams Admin Center but is available to set via PowerShell.

You should note that by default view-only attendee mode is disabled.  Webinars are on and though the documentation says default is Everyone can register but in my test tenants the default was to allow only people in your organisation to register.  So its worth checking.

For more info on the Set-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy cmdlet see Set-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy (SkypeForBusiness) | Microsoft Docs and for the Get-CSTeamsMeetingPolicy cmdlet see Get-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy (SkypeForBusiness) | Microsoft Docs

The limits as at 17th May is 1000 active participants in a meeting or webinar increasing to 20k with view only attendees enabled. This limit will drop back to 10k at the end of the year. For more details in limits see https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/microsoftteams/limits-specifications-teams#meetings-and-calls and View-only meeting experience – Microsoft Teams | Microsoft Docs

To check and change the settings

As both of these features are policy controlled you can configure different settings for each meeting policy. In the examples here I’ve shown managing both settings in the global policy.

To check/change other policies replace the word Global in these scripts with the name of the policy you want to change/look at.

Steps 6 to 10 give you options on the different settings, you should run the step(s) for the settings you wish to change from the default.  

  1. Open Powershell in Windows with Admin – right click on your start button and choose Windows PowerShell (Admin)
  2. Import the Teams module into the open PowerShell window
    Import-Module MicrosoftTeams
  3. Log in to Microsoft Teams 
    Connect-MicrosoftTeams
  4. Confirm the features are available in your tenant by loading the current settings of the Global meeting policy and verifying that -StreamingAttendeeMode and -WhoCanRegister are available
    Get-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy -Identity Global
  5. Check the default settings for these two features.  You are looking for StreamingAttendeeMode for the view-only attendee options and AllowMeetingRegistration plus WhoCanRegister for the webinars.  You should also check the setting for AllowEngagementReport if you want to see attendee data from webinars.
  6. To allow view-only attendees when a meeting exceeds 300 attendees run
    Set-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy -Identity Global -StreamingAttendeeMode "Enabled"
  7. To disable view-only attendees and limit meetings to 300 active participants
    Set-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy -Identity Global -StreamingAttendeeMode "Disabled"
  8. To disable webinars
    Set-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy -Identity Global -AllowMeetingRegistration $False
  9. To enable webinars for internal attendees only
    Set-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy -Identity Global -AllowMeetingRegistration $True -WhoCanRegister "EveryoneInCompany" -AllowEngagementReport "Enabled"
  10. To enable webinars for external attendees
    Set-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy -Identity Global -AllowMeetingRegistration $True -WhoCanRegister "Everyone" -AllowEngagementReport "Enabled"
    You will also need to ensure AnonymousJoin is enabled to allow external users to join your webinars.  This is a tenant wide setting which applies to ALL meetings not just webinars and can be set from the Team Admin Center under Meeting Settings or with this script
    Set-CsTeamsMeetingConfiguration -DisableAnonymousJoin $false -Identity Global

Picture for each step

Step 1: Open PowerShell
Step 2: Import Teams Module
Step 3: Connect & Sign In
Step 3/4: Signed in Confirmation & running script to get current settings
Step 5: Check current setting on Global policy
Step 6: allow view only attendees
Step 7: Block view only attendees
Step 8: Disable Webinars
Step 9: Enable Webinars with Internal Only Attendees
Step 10 Part 1: Allow Webinars with External Attendees
Step 10 Part 2: Allow Anonymous Users to Connect to Meetings & Webinars

Message Center Posts

Microsoft Teams: webinars plus new meeting registration options

MC250958

Plan for change

Published date: April 16, 2021

Affected services

Microsoft Teams

Tag

MAJOR UPDATE

ADMIN IMPACT

NEW FEATURE

USER IMPACT

We are excited to announce the forthcoming availability of Teams webinar capabilities, beginning rollout at the end of April 2021, completing in May 2021.

Associated features that apply to webinars and meetings, include:

  • Registration page creation with email confirmation for registrants.
  • Reporting for registration and attendance.

These capabilities will be available to users with the following licenses: Office 365 or Microsoft 365 E3/E5/A3/A5/Business Standard/Business Premium. For the rest of 2021, we are offering temporary availability to Teams users to try the features with their existing commercial subscription.

Note: We will honor any existing meeting settings enabled within your organization. 

Key points

  • Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID 800996595266459, and 66586
  • Timing: end of April through end of May
  • Control type: user control / admin control / admin UI
  • Action: review and assess 

How this will affect your organization

When scheduling a meeting, your users will see the Webinar option on the Calendar drop down menu in Teams (desktop/web).

Additionally, users will be able to add registrations for meetings and webinars for people in your organization and outside of your organization.

The registration feature will be on by default For everyone. In order to view who attended the webinars, we recommended setting the “AllowEngagementReport” policy to true.

Note: We will honor any existing meeting policies enabled within your organization:

  • If allow scheduling private meetings is turned off, then users will not be able to schedule webinars.
  • When anonymous join is disabled for the tenant, users can schedule a public webinar but it will fail on join.
  • SharePoint lists are required in order to set up webinars. To set this up, learn more here: Control settings for Microsoft Lists

What you need to do to prepare

By default, all users within your tenant will be able to schedule webinars unless current policy configuration prohibits it.

Should you wish to restrict who who can host a webinar that requires registration for everyone, change the WhoCanRegister policy accessed in the Teams admin center.

  • You can disable this policy tenant-wide
  • You can enable this policy for specific users

You can manage the registration feature in the Teams admin center or with PowerShell commands. There are three options for admin management.

  • Turn off registration for the entire tenant
  • Turn off registration for external attendees, the For everyone option
  • Give select users the ability to create a registration page that supports external attendees. All other users would be able create a registration page for people inside the tenant.

These policies are managed via PowerShell.

You might want to notify your users about this new capability and update your training and documentation as appropriate. 

Teams meetings to support view-only attendees

MC250956

Stay informed

Published date: April 16, 2021

Affected services

Microsoft Teams

Tag

ADMIN IMPACT

NEW FEATURE

USER IMPACT

We originally communicated this in MC240169 (Feb ’21). Currently, Teams meetings are limited to 300 users. If someone tries to join a meeting after it reaches capacity, they are unable to do so. With this update, meeting organizers who are assigned an appropriate license will be able to host a Teams meeting that has overflow capacity.

Up to 20,000 view-only attendees may join a meeting from late February through the end of June in order to accommodate heightened remote work scenarios. After July 1, 2021 we will support only 10,000 view only attendees.

Note: This capability will be available to users with the following licenses: Office 365 or Microsoft 365 E3/E5/A3/A5/Business Standard/Business Premium. For the rest of 2021, we are offering temporary availability to Teams users to try the features with their existing commercial subscription.

This message is associated with Microsoft 365 Roadmap ID: 65952.

When this will happen

We have started to roll this out and expect to complete by end of April.

How this will affect your organization

When a tenant enables this overflow feature:

  • After a meeting reaches capacity (300 users), people will be able to join as view-only attendees, with the maximum number limited by the phase.
  • Organizers cannot remove view-only attendees from a meeting.
  • View-only attendees will not impact the normal interaction available for regular attendees (those who joined before the meeting reached capacity).
  • Once the view-only attendee limit is reached, no additional view-only attendees will be able to join.
  • View-only attendees will follow all lobby and security policy mechanisms.
  • View-only attendees will have limited access to meeting features. For example, view-only attendees will be able to listen to all audio and view a screen or window shared during the meeting. However, they will be unable to share audio or video, and they will be unable to see chat or other applications that are shared during the meeting.
  • Meeting organizers will not see view-only participants in attendee counts or reports; this feature does not support the e-discovery of data

What you need to do to prepare

This feature is OFF by default for your users.

You may use PowerShell to enable this feature for your entire tenant while you prepare to assign the licenses.

  • Set-CsTeamsMeetingPolicy -Identity Global -StreamingAttendeeMode Enabled

Note: The view-only attendance feature is provided using Teams streaming services.

Learn more

Published by sfennah

I am a freelance learning professional with over 22 years’ experience including holding 30+ Microsoft certifications and Microsoft Certified Trainer status since 2008.

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