Microsoft is introducing a new feature, “Town Halls”, to its communication platform, Microsoft Teams. This introduction signifies the retirement of the existing “Live Events” feature, marking a shift towards a more interactive and inclusive platform for large-scale virtual gatherings. The Town Halls feature is set to be available for commercial users starting October 5, aiming to accommodate various types of internal and external events including company-wide town halls, all hands, global team meetings, internal broadcasts, fireside chats, and more.
“We are retiring Microsoft Teams Live Events and introducing Town Halls to provide a more inclusive and interactive way of hosting large-scale virtual events,” the official announcement conveyed. The introduction of Town Halls is seen as a strategic move by Microsoft to maintain its competitive edge in the virtual communication platforms landscape.
Enhanced User Experience and Capabilities
Town Halls is not just a replacement but a significant upgrade, designed to support up to 10,000 online attendees at once and up to 20,000 attendees for Teams Premium subscribers. Additionally, up to 15 of these Town Halls can be run simultaneously, and this number increases to 50 for Premium users. The events facilitated by this feature can last up to 30 hours, aligning with the existing limit in normal Teams meetings.
A unique aspect of Town Halls is the virtual green room, where presenters can gather beforehand in a dedicated space separate from attendees. This allows for pre-event discussions, content staging, briefings, and test runs without disturbing the attendees. Furthermore, presenters and organizers have access to a dedicated chat throughout the event, which remains inaccessible to attendees.
Microsoft Teams Premium became generally available in early February. is a new version of the platform that Microsoft says will provide AI-driven performance that acts like a virtual assistant during a meeting.
Town Halls will also offer features to moderate Q&A sessions between the attendees and the moderators, along with the availability of event recordings for attendees to view afterward.
Microsoft has assured that features available in Live Events, including DVR and the ability to invite external presenters, will be integrated into the new Town Hall feature in the coming months. The company has scheduled feature parity to occur before the complete retirement of Teams Live Events on September 30, 2024. Users are advised to download and save any recordings of meetings on Teams Live Events before they are deleted on December 31, 2024.