While Meeting Stage application can sound a bit strange, you have been using them all the time. One good example is the Microsoft Whiteboard shared to Teams meeting. In short “Shared meeting stage” is the area where you can share content with others – or you can use the shared stage to share your presentation or desktop to others. What is new is that there is now the possibility to create your own applications to the meeting stage. This enables to develop applications to Teams meetings that can be expanded to the full content sharing area and all participants can collaborate on the content and context simultaneously.
Since I didn’t have any ready collaborative Power App application right available right now, I decided to test this feature with a typical Power App. Namely the new Boards application template. This way I do loose the collaborative app aspect, but it allows to share contents of the application to meeting participants (in-organization only, externals don’t have access to Power Apps) in a way that everyone can enter their inputs. It would require a bit of developing on the canvas to reflect everyone’s changes in real time but even as it is it can be used to give access to application to everyone and thus everyone can start adding their input during the meeting. Use cases could be things like scrum card points, adding tasks or backlog items, feedback sessions or perhaps going through the issue reporting.
What you need to do, is to export the Power App solution to a zip file that can uploaded to Teams (org-wide). In case of Dataverse for Teams apps you need to navigate to the view showing applications and hit “Add to Teams”.
You can then click on “Download app” button on bottom right to download the zip-file.
After extracting the zip-file you need to open the manifest.json file. Find out the section there stating “context”.
Add there two more items:
These enables your application to work in the meeting side panel (just like Forms application or my earlier blog post about meeting connected application ) and also gives your Power App the superpower of being able to expanded to shared stage.
After that, just save the manifest file and zip all three (or more in some cases) files. Remember to zip them without folders. After that you can add your new app to Teams. Upload it as an admin to organization-wide, so everyone can use it (and it will be available in Teams meetings).
After adding the app to the meeting we can test it out.
Testing the shared stage Power App
When you open the application in Teams meeting it opens to meeting side panel.
We can see that there is now a new button that allows you to “Start presenting” your application to others! This is why you need to include meetingSidePanel context: it is the only place where you will be able to activate application sharing to meeting stage. It is a good idea to create a smart application that can display different content (or same content in a different layout) at meeting side panel. Unlike in this example when using out of the box Boards as a test-bed.
Looking from other user’s end we can see the application load and I can start to work with that.
I can go ahead and add new information. I added a new board.
When the other participant searches for the Meeting they can find the new board I just created as other user.
And either one who is adding new pins to the board can see, edit and access them.
The real fun is that it does work in web Teams as well. User can not start sharing an app via web Teams but they can use the app when someone has shared it to the meeting stage.
Meeting Stage application opens new ways to work together (collaborate) in meetings
Of course real collaborative applications will be something different – this example lacks that simultaneous editing and refreshing part and using Boards is far from ideal. However this hopefully gives some idea how you can start using applications in meetings.
You can continue chatting, managing participants etc while filling information via the application. This way it would be all meeting participants to work together while adding their observations, issues, tasks, updating kanban boards, remarks, adding new leads or – most importantly – adding content to line of business application.
Meetings will become more interactive, collaborative and relevant. This can change the traditional “one fills the info, others look at what that person does” to “everyone is actively filling the information simultaneously”.
It is, after all, depending on application capabilities and purposes are these used like in this example or like a Whiteboard where everyone is seeing everyone’s changes all the time.
You and your organization can get started with shared meeting stage applications using Power Platform.
This feature is available currently in developer preview only. Read about how to enable and configure apps for meetings at Microsoft Docs.