Love ‘em or hate ‘em – remote meetings are now an essential part of corporate life. So, how can we optimise them and stop all the wasted time due to the inevitable technical difficulties different participants have?
Well, Microsoft has pulled out all the stops to do just that with their newest offering of Microsoft Teams Rooms.
So, what exactly does that mean?
Let’s start with Microsoft Teams – this software is a communication and collaboration platform that combines persistent chat capabilities, video conferencing, file storage, and integration with many other Office 365 apps.
A Microsoft Teams Room is basically a meeting room that is enabled to use Microsoft teams.
The essential idea behind Microsoft Teams Rooms is to streamline the process of conference call meetings. In an interview with TechCrunch Brad Anderson, Microsoft’s corporate VP for Microsoft 365, he discussed the complexity of all the elements at play in order to run a meeting;
“When you think about a room for a minute, there’s a bunch of hardware in the room, in addition to the software that’s operating Teams. There’s the device on the table, you’ve got screens, you got microphones, you’ve got cameras, you’ve got projectors, you’ve got all the cabling. And in order for a meeting to be seamless and great, all that hardware also has to be functional. So, what we have done with the managed meeting room solution is we have now instrumented all the hardware.”
In other words, it means running a meeting, using all the various hardware and tools you need, can really be as simple as clicking a button!
How big is Microsoft Teams Rooms?
Pretty big!! Microsoft Teams Rooms are used by some of the biggest companies in the world – with the majority of Fortune 100 companies using it. It is the fastest growing business app in Microsoft’s history The Microsoft Teams App has over 100 million downloads!
Remember Skype Room Systems?
Essentially this has been rebranded as Microsoft Teams Rooms. Skype for business as we know it has been replaced by Microsoft Teams Rooms.
With more flexibility, Microsoft teams Rooms gives the user an overall improved collaborative experience. That said, it still requires the same key elements that is needed to run Skype – including the hardware mentioned below.
Microsoft Teams Room’s Innovative features
What are the features of a Microsoft Teams Room meeting? Not only will the system ensure that you’re hardware is going to work but it also integrates a wide range of tools to make the meeting as productive as possible. Let’s take a look at some of the most notable elements;
Content Camera with Intelligent Capture
Source – https://techcommunity.microsoft.com/t5/microsoft-teams-blog/an-inclusive-meeting-experience-for-everyone-in-any-room-with/ba-p/805877
This feature is extremely innovative and exciting! It’s an inexpensive way to share ideas and brainstorm the old fashioned way but everyone can still follow along no matter where you are. As you can see in the image above- you can select the camera to focus on the content and remember it. So, even when content is physically blocked all participants can still view it thanks to this particularly ‘smart’ feature.
What this means is that you will no longer have to manually input the IP addresses of other meeting rooms you wish to connect up with. Once a space has been set up as a Microsoft Teams Room, this proximity detection feature can simply find other capable rooms nearby and connect them up. This is a huge timesaver as a lot of meeting delays come down to basic technical issues such as connecting. It really is that simple!
One Touch Join
The simplicity of this feature should not be overlooked. How often have you been late to join a conference call because you’ve been trawling through your emails trying to find the link? Well, thanks to Microsoft Teams Rooms your scheduled meetings are all listed onscreen with a user friendly interface, all you need to do is click “Join”.
Let’s take a look at what you need to have to get your meeting spaces set up to run Microsoft Teams Rooms. Similar to Microsoft’s Lync Phone Edition program back in the day, they asked vendors to produce hardware, but the difference was that Microsoft decided up-front the specification needed for the hardware to be to run their application. Which is;
- A PC on Windows 10 to run the Windows Store App
- A Touch panel for the user interface
- A camera
- A speaker
- A microphone
- A way for in-room participants to show content from their PC’s
There are several vendors who signed up to the program and they have developed a selection of products to meet the requirements of the above kit. Whether you’re looking to set up a large conference room or just a small scrum room there are various models to suit your needs. Some of the vendors who signed up include HP, Lenovo, Logitech, Creston and Yealink.
Other Typical Questions we hear on MS Teams Rooms
Are there Room Requirements for Microsoft Teams Rooms?
Microsoft Teams Rooms scale to different room sizes by using a wide variety of certified audio and video peripherals based on the size and use of the room. This can vary from huddle spaces to large conference rooms. Meritec is highly experienced in working across a variety of spaces and optimising the set-up for each room-type.
What is the difference between Microsoft Teams and Microsoft Teams rooms?
In a nutshell, Microsoft teams is the collaboration software. By default, if you are Office 365 user – you will have access to this. Microsoft Teams Rooms on the other hand is a physical meeting room specifically tailored for the use of MS Teams Rooms.
What License does a Teams Room Need?
To use a Microsoft Teams Room –you need a Meeting Room License. There are 2 basics kinds: Standard and Premium. Obviously, there are different price points and different features between the levels. The main difference is that premium has access to Microsoft’s managed services. (Next Question – what are Microsoft’s Managed Services? Below is the difference between the standard and premium license.
What are Microsoft’s Managed Services?
In their own words: “The Microsoft Teams Rooms managed service is a cloud-based IT management and monitoring service that keeps Microsoft Teams Rooms devices and their peripherals up to date and proactively monitored, supporting an environment optimized for a great user experience.”
This means on a practical level – there’s a slightly less management when it comes to the premium feature. Depending on your internal resources and AV partner – this could make a big difference.
How to install Microsoft teams rooms?
The tech-setup at the beginning can be challenging. While MS teams rooms are certainly user friendly (and once you’re setup – it’s a very positive UX) – it is wise to use a trusted AV supplier to get you set you setup on the right track.
Unless you have in-house AV expertise – this is often the best move for many. Once the room is kitted out – it’s largely plug and play and your meetings are now at an automatic high standard – set for greater collaboration.
Final Words on Microsoft Teams Rooms
In summary, Microsoft Teams Rooms is a fantastic product that is being used by the top companies around the world. As a natural evolution from Skype Rooms Systems… it gives you and your team a truly unique and improved collaborative experience. It offers a premium experience but of course your organisation may already be using Zoom Rooms – so this is an area you might want to expert help with – in terms of assessing the best long-term solution. Meritec is thoroughly experienced with all these options – and others!
Looking to bring Microsoft Teams Rooms to your Office?
Understanding your room, the communication challenges you are trying to solve, your way of working and your budget is all useful so that we can design the right costed solution to meet these requirements – perfectly.