You may find yourself with a requirement to broadcast an event company wide and a Teams meeting itself just hasn’t got the capacity (limited to 300 participants) you need or perhaps you need more advanced streaming options.
Live Events are one-way live streamed events. Attendees can watch the stream as it happens, pause, rewind and fast forward to current time. They have limited interaction with the presenters and no interaction between themselves. It is like watching a Youtube video, but in Teams.
The benefit to presenters with a live event is that it can be streamed to 10,000 people at any one time and it isolates the presenters into a more controlled environment where they can deliver their content to a professional standard. You can take it further with external encoders and connect a professional studio to a live event.
The Presenter Role
Before we dive in it is important to understand how a Live Event Differs from a Teams meeting. As a live event is more of a live production stream, the Teams client behaves differently.
The first difference is to understand roles. When you create a Live Event you have to choose the roles different people are going to play. Presenter, Moderator or Producer.
As a presenter your Teams client experience is broadly the same as joining any Teams meeting and so is a moderator. However, a producer receives a different experience.
The role of the producer is to create the live stream scenes and toggle between presenters on cue so that the live stream runs smoothly. There are a couple of important things to call out at this point on the above screenshot.
The stream does not start until you click the Go Live button. Until then, you can talk with the presenters and moderators freely. Once you have gone live, if you speak, you will be heard in the live stream. So its best to mute.
A producer may leave a live event using the Leave button at the top and the event will continue in its last know scene format. Another producer can take over so this facilitates shift changes etc.
Clicking End button will end the live stream permanently. This should only be done when the stream has ended. Once ended, a live event cannot be restarted.
The screenboard on the left of the window is the green room. Here you can plan your layout for your next scene without interrupting the live stream the audience is watching. That is the right screenboard or live stage. When ready, the producer can switch scenes by clicking the send live button.
You can share one screen at a time into the live stage, but another presenter can share their screen in preparation and you can build that into your upcoming scene.
You can also share only one video with or without content. It is not possible to use PowerPoint Live.
You are able to mute presenters, fellow producers and moderators, but you cannot force unmute them. To communicate with fellow producers and presenters during the live stream use the meeting chat function instead.
The Moderator Role
The moderator is responsible for the attendee Q&A feature. They are able to answer attendee questions or put them to the presenters verbally or via chat and seek a response. The response can be addressed in the stream, or via text to the person who asked the question. In addition, if the question is being asked several times, they can mark the answer as global and everyone will see the question and the appropriate answer.
The Presenter Role
The presenter is responsible for delivering the content. A presenter can be someone internal, external or even dialled in using audio conferencing. Due to limitations with PowerPoint sharing, to co-present, each presenter should have a local copy of the presentation and understand ahead of the event which slide they are presenting from and to.
The audience have limited interaction capabilities if permitted. They are able to watch the stream but the only way in which they can interact is to participate in Q&A.
If enabled, they are able to ask a simple question. This gets sent to the Q&A list for the event where the moderator can triage and respond. Unless the moderator mark’s their answer as public, no one else shall see your question or the answer. Q&A can be anonymous and you can choose to hide your identity.
In order to use Live Events your IT Admin must have permitted access to this via admin policy. If you do not see the option in your Teams calendar app, you will need to contact them to enable it. You need at least E1 license subscription to Microsoft 365.
Live Events require at least one piece of rich content to start the stream. This is someone’s video or screensharing. Audio only live events are not supported. However, should there be a defect to sharing content during the stream, audio will continue to stream until the event is ended.
Schedule a Live Event
From the Calendar App in Teams, click the down arrow on the New Meeting button and choose Live Event
From the schedule screen enter the event details. This is for the production team invitation only. You also must invite your production and presenter team to this meeting. If they are external, toggle on the Allow External Presenters setting and add by e-mail address
It is important that you choose the roles each are going to play. If you do not add your team or choose their roles then they will either not be able to join, or be given the wrong experience.
Next choose who is permitted to watch your event.
Then how you’re going to produce it, using Teams or using an external streamer device
If an external encoder is chosen, the event will generate RTMP connection URLs to pass to your studio so they can configure their streaming equipment.
Finally, choose the event options that are going to be enabled in the meeting. You may wish to disable the recording to attendees. This doesn’t stop them rewinding the stream whilst it is going on. They will not be able to watch it after it has ended.
You can also choose to enable captions and allow attendees to choose from up to 6 languages to translate the captions into their own language.
The support URL is a good way to direct attendees to a webpage where you can provide event support. Once done, press Schedule
Once scheduled you will want to send out the link to attendees. You can do this by clicking Get Attendee Link to copy it to your clipboard.
You can send this link as a normal Outlook Meeting Invite to the attendees.
You can edit all settings prior to the event beginning. You should resist any changes within 5-minutes of the start of the stream.
This is just a basic introduction to Live Events, they are a complex subject that we plan to expand in further articles.