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Contributor

Curious what folks are doing for external webinars.   Skype for Business and Teams seem to carry a lot of UC overhead that gets in the way for first time/one time users attending a meeting.

 

Is anyone using SfB/Teams internally and another platform for outside facing webinars?

 

thanks,

Larry

20 Replies
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I have used in the past Skype For Business for outside facing webinars and in general, it worked well. Have not tried yet Teams for the same scenario
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Use Skype Broadcast, one way video and content but no client requirements.

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@Steven Collier wrote:

Use Skype Broadcast, one way video and content but no client requirements.


"Broadcast Meetings" is also on the Skype-to-Teams roadmap as "coming in Q2 CY2018" (though we only have a week left of the quarter and I haven't heard any news regarding this feature, so...).

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I think the broadcast feature is nearly available in Teams. In my Teams admin center (https://admin.teams.microsoft.com) under "Meetings" I now have a "Live event policy" page. 

 

teams-live-event-policy.png

 Can't actually create a policy yet, though.

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I am also curious! We are in the process of moving to Teams - folks are finding Teams much easier than SfB, and Mac users (maybe 25% of our 240 users) are much happier.  The question I get right now is about how to host a webinar - which come in different flavours i.e. internal users only, internal presenters with external guests, internal and external presenters for internal users, and all of the above. And, differing expectations on audience participation - some users need text chat, others want audio options. Is Teams going to "good enough"? We are a non-profit and we always offer our online events at no-charge, so using Office 365 is our best option, instead of buying additional services.

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You get two fundamental options in teams

 

Teams Meeting

<250 attendees

internal or External invitees

Needs Teams App, Chrome or Edge to watch

Full 2-way audio and video

Limited capability to control who is on screen

Chat during call for questions

 

Teams Live Event

<10,000 attendees

Internal or External attendees

Works in any browser

Attendees are watching the meeting, not able to talk in it

Full producer role to control what is being shown to the attendess

Q&A function for audience participation

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I wish Teams and/or Skype could be used for Webinars but unfortunately I wouldn't recommend it. I ran several tests with both applications and they just did not work well. Skype broadcast has a terrible delay (at least 30 seconds to 1 minute) which makes any interaction from participants nearly impossible. The login process for guests is quite cumbersome for both Teams and Skype. If you want to record your webinars (this is crucial to our business), the quality is horrendous. It looks like 480p even with all settings set to full HD. 

 

That is my personal experience.

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Right now we're piloting Zoom for external facing events.     Didn't want to go this route -we're a MS shop using SfB, moving to Teams - but Microsoft's track record with reliability (Live Meeting, SfB) has been poor and we can't afford to have potential donord struggle to participate in our meetings. 

 

 I hope MS turns this around with Teams and doesn't just pay lip service to quality web conferencing.  MS, if you're listening, the 2 things I hear a lot about some of  your competitors' web conferencing products compared to your solution:

1. "it just works"

2.  Mac users are not treated like 2nd class citizens

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If you don't need to have direct, immediate interaction with your audience, Teams is a convenient, competent way to deliver your webinar.  What do I mean?  Well, there's a 20-30 seconds delay that is built in with Teams Live Events.  We couldn't do that as we needed immediate interaction.

 

Also, for many people, they want to see Teams as a full replacement IMMEDIATELY for Skype for Business.  That's not how the cloud works (and it's a good thing).  You're going to get a subset of features to begin with that will likely quickly be added to over the immediate future, ultimately based on user feedback and popularity (and whatever fits best into the roadmap as well).  Not all companies can deal with this model, but if you can, ultimately you'll get a great product with a little irritation and impatience along the way.

 

Note, I think Teams is going to be given a TON of attention, as is their video and conferencing plans, so I'd expect some very real improvements.

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Sorry, I don't really agree with @Jason Drew, I think the comments largely relate to Skype, the old product that Teams was built to replace.

 

If you are doing an event that your attendees watch and respond to with questions then Teams Live Events really don't have any downsides. Yes there is a delay, that's happening as the stream is being optimised for different resolutions, phones etc. For the attendee you don't need to have any authentication, and people just need a browser, it couldn't be easier. The video recording is automatic and the quality is perfect. It's also like watch a stream from live TV, you can pause, start later etc. 

 

If you need interaction from your audience use a regular Teams meeting, your attendees just need Chrome and still don't need to authenticate. Cloud Meeting recording is now available and is also full quality for you to post later on as an MP4 etc.

 

The one place I would say that competitors have an advantage is in attendee registration and therefore tracking, that's not part of Teams yet, but I'm sure is something the product group would like to understand the demand for through https://microsoftteams.uservoice.com/forums/555103-public.

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Thanks @Steven Collier et al - good discussion! So far, the user experience with Teams meetings has been far above that with SfB - no one is sad to leave SfB :)  We still use YouTube live events when we just need to push something out, since users (internal and external) are familiar and comfortable with YouTube. And the chat function is good enough for asking questions (if they have a Google YouTube account). What we miss with YouTube live events (public and unlisted) is an attendance list.

 

The most interesting thing with Teams is if it moves a step towards Adobe Connect, with templates and pre-loaded meetings.

 

I am going to go ahead and use a regular Teams meeting for our next webinar, see how folks enjoy it.

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thanks @Steven Collier, I hope you're right that the criticisms pertain to SfB and not Teams.   @Ian Caldwell, MSc good luck with the webinar, interested to know how it goes...

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Has anyone seen any solutions to wanting to offer different sessions and allow for the users to select the session rather than pushing every session on them?

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It's nearly a year on from your comment, Steven, and unfortunately, there's still no attendee registration feature.

 

I run an online training academy and I'd like to host a webinar for my students. Teams Live Events have too much lag. Teams Meetings require me to know in advance who to invite. I don't want to invite every student in my academy, I want them to visit a registration page and download an appointment into their calendar.

 

I did find a workaround to use a paid third-party app, AddEvent, to provide the registration page. But would love to see this built into Teams. Otherwise, I'm better off with Demio, WebinarNinja, WebinarJam or GoToWebinar.

 

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@Neil_Benson < 8 months actually, there has been nothing new announced.

 

If you use a Team meeting and save the outlook appointment as an .ics file anyone that downloads it will get the appointment and be able to click the link to join it. For example you could have a Microsoft Form to register, trigger a flow, and then forward an invite, update a SharePoint list, all automatically. 

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Great idea, Steven. That's why you're an MVP!
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We are actually doing a live webinar on this topic of How to use Teams for an external-facing webinar. Please join here https://1578072229592.eventbuilder.com/event/14958 

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@Argha Banerjee - In addition to the lack of a registration capability, there is no external user tracking/reporting; no way to quiz users, produce a certificate as proof of attendance. My external customers require proof of attendance for continuing education credit. As I have to do six webinars in May, I'm purchasing a month of GoToWebinar. Would prefer to be able to do everything via Teams if possible.

 

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@Steven Collier Very helpful trick.  Can you elaborate more or provide sample? I have no programing background but used to set up Microsoft Forms for attendee self-registration.