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How To Properly Use Walkie Talkie in Microsoft Teams (2023)?

Today, I want to show you how you can use your phone as a walkie talkie in Microsoft Teams.

What is a walkie talkie and how is it different from a traditional phone call? Well, with a traditional phone call, you have to choose who you want to call then dial them and then that person can either accept or reject the call with a walkie talkie. On the other hand, you join a team and if you want to say something, you simply press the button and everyone on the team will hear you.

Let’s imagine you have a cookie factory. You can press that button as part of the walkie talkie and communicate with everyone on your factory floor. This works as long as you have Internet on your phone, and it will even work if your phone is locked. This is available on Android and iOS.

Enable Walkie Talkie in Microsoft Teams

All right, let’s check this out. Before you can use a walkie talkie, you have to make sure that it’s enabled in your tenant. If you’re the admin, I will show you briefly how you can enable it. If you’re not the admin, don’t worry. I’d recommend buying some donuts and giving them to your admin and that will increase the likelihood that this request will be approved to turn this on.

  • By far, the easiest way is to head to the office portal.
  • Once you log in, over on the left hand side, click into the admin center.
  • Once the admin center loads up, over on the left hand side, click into the team’s admin center.
  • Within the team’s admin center, over on the left hand side, click on the teams apps within that grouping. You will see an option to setup policies.
walkie talkie in microsoft teams
  • This opens up the policy view. We now have to choose a policy that we want to apply the walkie talkie to. I’m going to select global because there’s nothing like applying a change like this to the entire company.
  • Once you choose that on the next screen, make sure to enable “Allow user pinning“.
  • Down below, click on Add apps under Pinned apps.
  • This opens up on the right hand side and you can search for walkie talkie. Once you find it, click on Add.
  • The walkie talkie app should now appear on the Pinned Apps list, and be available for use once you click the Save button.

Use walkie talkie in Microsoft Teams

  • It will take about 48 hours for this change to propagate. Now that we have the walkie talkie turned on, let’s test this out.
  • Open up Microsoft Teams. At the very bottom, click on the more icon and you should see an option for a walkie talkie.
  • Now, if you want to make this part of the top set, you can click on the reorder link. I’m going to leave it where it is for now.
  • I will click into the walkie talkie. I see a list of all of my different teams and channels.
  • A channel basically serves as a room where you can chat with others via walkie talkie.
  • You can only be connected to one room at a time. I’m going to join the factory floor and we could check in on what’s happening there.
  • It prompts me to connect. I will click on Connect.
  • Anyone who wants to join the walkie talkie session has to go through this exact same flow. Now that I’ve connected.
  • In the top right hand corner, I can see that there are 3 other people in this room. If I click on the people icon, I can see all the people who are currently in this channel.
  • All right, let’s click the mic to connect and test this out. Hey, everyone out there on the factory floor! How are things going today? We just had a customer fall into the Chocolate River. We need assistance and they keep all hands on deck. Now might not be the best time to check in with the factory floor. Why don’t we move on to the next group?
  • The senior leadership team instead, or what we like to refer to as the SL. There’s usually not that much chaos going on so that’s a good one to show.
  • As an example, once again, click into the channel and click on Connect. Hi, SLG. The IRS is here, and they’re asking a lot of questions about why we purchased so much video equipment and why we’re a cookie company. Can you explain it to them? Ok, maybe I should get back to that one, too.

Network documentation

Walkie talkie in teams requires internet connectivity and below the network conditions are required for an optimal experience.

As noted above, the quality of real-time media over an IP network is greatly impacted by the quality of the network connectivity, but especially by the amount of:

  • Latency: This is the time it takes to get an IP packet from point A to point B on the network. This network propagation delay is essentially tied to the physical distance between the two points and the speed of light, including the overhead taken by the various routers in between. Latency is measured as Round-trip Time (RTT).
  • Inter-Arrival Jitter: This is the average change in delay between successive packets.
  • Packet Loss: This is often defined as the percentage of packets that are lost in a given window of time. Packet loss directly affects audio quality – from small, individual lost packets having almost no impact, to back-to-back burst losses that cause complete audio cut-out.

Expected data usage from a walkie talkie is around 20 Kb/s when sending or receiving audio. When idle, expected data usage from walkie talkie is negligible.

Walkie Talkie devices

Frontline workers often need to speak and receive walkie talkie calls even when their phones are locked. This experience is possible with specialized devices with a dedicated PTT button.

Note: These devices are not Teams certified. They have been validated to work with teams walkie talkie.

License requirements

Walkie talkie app is included in all paid licenses of Teams in Microsoft 365 subscriptions. For more information about getting Microsoft Teams, check out the Microsoft Teams Tutorial.

Note: Certain advanced features may require additional licensing. For example, integration with the Samsung Galaxy XCover Pro requires a Knox license.

Further information

  • IT administrators can maintain control over who is using walkie talkie through app policies.
  • If your frontline worker is using mobile data to communicate via teams, walkie talkie will use the same method.
  • Walkie talkie should work well in low bandwidth situations, or situations where your smartphone is connected and working. Walkie talkie will not work when there is no connectivity at all.

We have also written the post to improve your Microsoft Teams experience as administrators. Check it out here.

Well, that’s how easy it is to use a walkie talkie in Microsoft Teams.

Now it’s your turn:

Which finding from today’s post did you find most interesting? Or maybe you have a question about something that I covered.

Either way, I’d like to hear from you so go ahead and leave a comment below.

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