Microsoft Teams Live Events is a useful way to get more out of Teams, a powerful collaboration tool.
Teams Live Events launched in March 2019. At first, companies could only host virtual events with up to 1,000 attendees. But responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft increased Teams Live Events capacity to 20,000 attendees.
And that’s welcome news for many enterprises. Remote workforces and virtual events are likely here to stay, in some capacity, even after the pandemic.
While Microsoft’s made some changes to accommodate organizations’ needs, Microsoft Teams Live Events is still probably not the best solution for your large-scale virtual event. Below, we highlight five fundamental reasons that Teams Live Events may not be the right choice for your virtual town halls, conventions, and conferences. First, let’s cover what you can do with Teams Live Events.
What You Can Do with Microsoft Teams Live Events
Microsoft Teams Live Events is part of Microsoft Teams, a collaboration tool Microsoft launched in 2017 to compete with the productivity tool Slack.
Microsoft added Teams Live Events in 2019, initially as a way for small groups, or teams, to hold virtual meetings. As the pandemic forced more workforces to go remote, Microsoft’s customers started asking for more features. Microsoft, therefore, expanded the number of people who can attend an event hosted with Teams Live Events to 20,000.
Along with watching the live stream, viewers can engage in Q&As if the event has 1,000 or fewer attendees. Teams Live Events exceeding 1,000 people can’t use the Q&A function.
This point brings us to why Microsoft Teams Live Events is probably needs different capabilities for your enterprise’s large-scale virtual events.
Why Teams Live Events Aren’t Right for Large Virtual Events
Microsoft Teams Live Events is a useful collaboration tool for small groups, but it lacks crucial features and functions essential for large-scale virtual events.
Here are five reasons why Teams Live Events may not be the best tool for your large-scale virtual events.
1) Limited or non-existent audience engagement
Keeping your audience engaged is an essential part of hosting a virtual event. Social media, news alerts, screaming kids, piles of laundry, and more distract your attendees from paying attention.
You want to keep viewers entertained and active. And, if you use the right platform to stream your virtual event, you’ll have many engagement options at your disposal. But unfortunately, audience engagement isn’t a strong point for Microsoft Teams Live Events.
Teams Live Events comes with one engagement tool, the participant Q&A function. Yet as we mentioned above, Microsoft automatically turns this feature off if your event exceeds 1,000 people. This restriction means whether you’re hosting an event for 1,001 people or 15,000 people, all your attendees can do is watch and listen. That’s a guaranteed way to ensure your audience checks out of your live stream.
2) Inability to Customize and White Label
From the moment your audience gets an invite to your virtual event, you’re putting on a show.
Everything from your event registration page’s appearance to your video player impacts how attendees perceive and engage with your event.
Microsoft Teams Live Events doesn’t support customization or white labeling. Instead, your registration pages, invitation emails, and video player inherit Microsoft Teams’ design and format. This limitation prevents you from controlling your participants’ user experience. And it reduces your branding ability.
You’re putting many resources into hosting your virtual event. You want to ensure your company gets the greatest return on that investment (ROI). Having control over your event’s design and branding is pivotal to achieving that goal.
3) Lagging live streams, low-quality video
Microsoft Teams is a collaboration tool, not an enterprise content delivery network (eCDN). That means Microsoft isn’t providing the infrastructure you need to live stream to large numbers of people.
Yes, Microsoft Teams Live Events supports live broadcasts to up to 20,000 attendees. But that’s a function of the Microsoft Teams application, and Microsoft’s not providing the tools you need to host a quality live stream. It’s kind of like having a car with a lawnmower’s engine. The vehicle might go, but not as you want or expect it to move.
A Teams Live Events live stream can feature lags, hiccups, and low-quality video for your viewers. That’s not the user experience you want to present, whether you’re hosting an employee town hall, product launch, or other large-scale virtual events.
4) Missing Analytics and a General Feedback Loop
Measurement is necessary to report on your virtual event’s ROI. Unfortunately, Microsoft Teams Live Events doesn’t give event organizers much data to analyze. For example, Teams Live Events provides minimal data on your attendees if they’re coming from within your organization. And Teams Live Events provides no data if your participants are from outside your company.
Also, Microsoft Teams Live Events gives you no real-time insight into how your live stream is performing. Are users experiencing a lag? What’s your live stream’s quality? Are people engaged and watching?
With Teams Live Events, the only way you’ll know if your audience is experiencing issues is if they tell you in the application’s Q&A tool. Of course, as we covered above, they won’t have access to that tool if your event exceeds 1,000 participants.
Using Microsoft Teams for virtual events means you’ll have little or no information about who attends your event. You won’t know if anyone’s watching your live stream or your broadcast’s quality. Without Q and A, how can you even know that your audience is engaged?
This lack of insight means you can’t ensure you’re delivering the highest-quality feed. And it means you won’t be able to tell what returns your event generates for your organization accurately.
5) Few translations
Workforces and target audiences are global. Conferences attract people from around the world, and companies employ workers on many continents. One of the plusses of virtual events is that anyone from anywhere can attend. Of course, you want to make sure your attendees can understand what’s happening.
And that’s a drawback for Microsoft Teams Live Events. The application translates a speaker’s words into live captions, but it only lets you pick up to six languages from which your audience can choose. Let’s say you’re hosting a virtual trade show, expecting people to attend from many countries, including China, Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Mexico, France, and Germany.
What six languages do you choose for your audience? Do you hope they all understand English? Hosting a successful virtual event requires delivering an incredible user experience, and that’s hard to do if you can’t support your audience’s native language.
A Better Option for Large Virtual Events
While Microsoft Teams Live Events isn’t the right solution for large-scale virtual events, you have can continue to use Microsoft and have an integration that will make your large events work.
First, you’ll want to pick an enterprise video platform that integrates with Microsoft Teams. Doing so gives you the benefits of Teams while filling in the collaboration tool’s gaps for big, virtual events. And choosing the right enterprise video platform to augment your Microsoft Teams use solves the other issues highlighted above.
The best solutions deliver the infrastructure you need to broadcast high-quality, reliable live streams. They also accommodate customization and white labeling and provide detailed, real-time analytics. Microsoft Teams Live Events is a useful addition to an already helpful collaboration tool. But the application is not the best solution for live streaming large-scale virtual events.
Instead, select an enterprise video platform that integrates with Microsoft Teams. Doing so will give you, your organization, and your event attendees the best possible experience.
Vbrick’s Rev Platform is one enterprise video solution that helps you extend the value of Microsoft Teams. Learn about the Rev Platform’s Microsoft Teams integration.