At Microsoft, we never stop looking for new ways to break down the barriers between those working in the office and those working remotely. This week at Ignite, we’re excited to share some of those innovations with you, our customers – whether you’re an end user or IT admin.
Deploying a Teams Room will now be faster – and that’s only the beginning of what we’re doing to make things easier for your IT department. We have more AI-enhanced features that work with your existing devices and Teams Rooms are going to be more affordable than ever, making it even easier to upgrade your BYOD rooms. We’re also announcing solutions for the whole spectrum of in-office collaborative spaces, from bookable desks to BYOD meeting rooms.
Let’s jump in!
Expansion of Speaker Recognition
Speaker recognition, previously only available in Teams Rooms equipped with intelligent speakers, will soon be expanding to your existing devices. This is made possible by Microsoft AI, which processes voices in the cloud similar to the way Microsoft Cloud IntelliFrame processes in-room video. This will be available in early 2024.
Speaker recognition is essential for up-leveling AI-powered intelligent meeting recap, and the Copilot in Teams experience. Meeting attendees can ask Copilot about action items, key takeaways, or details of what a specific in-room person said. Intelligent meeting recap can attribute insights to the people who shared them.
The enrollment process for your face and voice only takes a few minutes in Teams Desktop. The information collected is always kept securely within your organization’s tenant and is not accessible to any other service.
New entry-level, competitively priced Teams Rooms
In July, we announced a new partnership with MAXHUB, and recently, we announced the new competitively priced, entry-level Teams Rooms solution. Starting at $799 USD, you can upgrade a BYOD space to a full-blown Teams Rooms on Windows with the MAXHUB XCore Kit. And for $1,299 USD, you get a bundle that includes video and audio peripherals. Installation is simplified with the tabletop console using a single USB cable to connect to the compute device, display, and camera/speakerphone.
Additional partners will also announce offerings under $1,000 USD in the coming months, expanding the ecosystem of devices certified for Teams, and making it even easier for you to upgrade your meeting spaces to Teams Rooms at scale. For those wanting Teams Rooms on Android, Yealink will soon offer the Meeting Bar A10 – an integrated Teams Room on Android bar with camera, mic, speakers, and compute – available through the Teams app store and our website for only $999.
Low-Friction Teams Rooms Deployment and Management
Deployment and management of Teams Rooms is about to get easier, and so much faster.
Streamlined deployment with Windows Autopilot and Auto-login of Teams Rooms
The time it takes IT admins to deploy Teams Rooms on Windows will be reduced from days to hours with the new integration with Windows Autopilot and Auto-login of Teams Rooms on Windows. This low-friction provisioning will enable devices to seamlessly sign-in to the account associated with the Autopilot device. Simply plug in the Teams device, turn it on, and within hours the device will be provisioned, signed-in and ready to use. Preview of Windows Autopilot and Auto-login for Teams Rooms on Windows will start by the end of this calendar year. To sign up, reach out to your Microsoft Account team.
Simplified deployment with one-time passwords (OTPs)
For devices that can’t be enrolled in Windows Autopilot, we’re introducing a simplified deployment option using one-time passwords, or OTPs. This is especially useful for those who work with a system integrator. An OTP eliminates the security risk of needing to share room credentials, like usernames and passwords, with your installer. The code is shared with a company administrator, who can remotely provision credentials to the device. OTPs are now available on Windows devices.
Save time with remote access to Teams Rooms on Windows devices
Remote access is coming to Teams Rooms Pro Management portal in 2024. It enables remote troubleshooting and proactive maintenance, monitoring device health, and preventing issues before they affect meetings. If issues arise, it helps diagnose and resolve them quickly, reducing downtime. IT can manage shared device settings, apply security updates, and configurations from anywhere, ensuring device security and saving you time.
Teams Apps update to include devices certified for Teams
Starting in January, there will be a new way to view, compare, and purchase devices certified for Teams from your Teams Desktop. Apps in Teams is updating to allow you to search for or browse different devices, stay informed of new offerings and device brands, and explore devices for shared and personal spaces alike. When you are ready for a hardware upgrade, you can even purchase devices directly from the Teams App Store.
Measure impact with the Insights Report
Earlier this year, the Teams Pro Management Portal began offering the Insights Report. The report summarizes issues, remediation steps taken, and has a value calculator that makes it easy to quantify the productivity impact, helping users better prioritize IT budgets.
Additional updates to the Teams Rooms Pro Management service that are now available include:
- Government cloud (GCC) tenant support.
- The ability to monitor Teams panel devices in the Teams Rooms Pro Management portal.
Microsoft Device Ecosystem Platform
Back in March, we announced the Microsoft device ecosystem platform. The platform brings together the best of Microsoft and Android, tailored for shared spaces and optimized for Teams devices. Built on the Android Open Source Project, the platform delivers the security, reliability, and ease of deployment Microsoft is known for, along with the diversity of hardware and software support that comes with Android. The first device taking advantage of the new platform is the Jabra PanaCast 50 Video Bar System, which will receive an update to support the Microsoft device ecosystem platform next year.
New Features for Teams Rooms on Windows
We are also introducing new features to make it easier and more intuitive to use Teams Rooms on Windows.
Join meetings fast with ultrasonic proximity
For those in the office, we are improving the ways you can join a meeting from a companion device. You can join through ultrasonic proximity, an alternative to Bluetooth that limits range for the physical room, making it easier and faster to select the correct room from the pre-join screen. Also, meetings are more secure because only people in the room can join the meeting. This feature is available now.
Bring people together with Teams Live Events and Teams Town Hall
The newly announced Teams Town Hall is coming to Teams Rooms next year. Until then, Teams Rooms will enable participation in Teams Live Events. With companies being globally dispersed, virtual events have remained a critical way to connect and bring people together regardless of where they are located, so we’re pleased to offer this new way to connect in Teams Rooms. This feature is available now.
Surface Hub 3 now runs Teams Rooms on Windows
First announced in September, we are happy that Surface Hub 3 has joined the family as a touch board running Teams Rooms on Windows. This includes support for long-requested features like persistent chat and the Front Row layout, which looks beautiful on the 85-inch screen. And moving forward, all newly released Teams Rooms on Windows features will be available right away on Surface Hub. In-market Surface Hub 2S devices can upgrade to the full Surface Hub 3 experience with the Surface Hub 3 Pack.
4K device support
Surface Hub is the first device to support the 4K experience for Teams Rooms on Windows, and support for more 4K devices will be coming soon.
New video feed and gallery configurations for Teams Rooms on Windows
We continue to optimize viewing configurations for in-person and remote users for Teams Rooms on Windows.
Optimized Front Row
In-person meeting attendees will enjoy an optimized Front Row experience. When there is no content being shared, the active speaker will be prominently featured instead. This feature is available now.
A better view of people in the room
For remote users, we are prioritizing more space in the gallery when a Teams Room has multiple in-person participants, making it easier for remote participants to see and pick up context from those in the room. This feature is available now.
New Features for Teams Rooms on Android
Android-powered Teams Rooms experiences are getting an upgrade too. Teams Rooms for Android will now support Teams Premium functionality, including end-to-end encrypted meetings, sensitivity labels, and watermarks. Watermark support is currently available and end-to-end encrypted meetings as well as sensitivity labels will be available in early 2024.
Enhanced console calendar
The console calendar view on Teams Rooms on Android is getting an update, too. Users will be able to view multiple days and see additional information about different time slots. Enhanced control over meeting layouts is also coming, enabling customization to the front-of-room displays and the way users show components like meeting chat.
Shared spaces innovation: Bookable desks
Assigning an account to every shared space, making each one visible to employees who want to reserve it, can be overwhelming for IT administrators. The sheer number of shared spaces may make it nearly impossible to track and manually add each one to the company address book. We now have a solution for this issue, and a few other features around shared spaces, that we’re excited to announce.
Discover bookable desks in your shared spaces from Microsoft Teams Rooms Pro Management portal
Whenever two or more people connect their PC to a shared peripheral – like a display, speaker puck, or an A/V device – their Teams desktop client will send a unique identifier to the portal for that peripheral. With that information, IT can more easily quantify the number of devices deployed and then use the portal to assign that peripheral to a reservable account.
Collect utilization data for bookable desks and shared spaces
IT admins will also have the added advantage of being able to understand how office workspaces are being used through utilization data like call performance and call logs. We will begin rolling out to general availability in November.
Automatically book desks without a reservation, and share location status
Even if employees haven’t booked a desk ahead of time, upon connecting, the open desk will be reserved for them for the whole day. Given the desk is associated with a physical space, the user’s work location will be updated in their Teams status so colleagues can see if they’re working from the office. This feature will be available in Teams Desktop for Windows devices in early 2024. We expect to enable MacOS later in 2024.
Reserve a space instantly with a QR Code
We’ve added QR codes to Teams devices, including the newly certified Logi Dock Flex, to make it easy to reserve a space by simply scanning the code with a mobile phone. You can even use it to quickly log in to a pre-reserved Teams Display to access your calendar and chats. This feature is available now.
Shared spaces innovation: Bring-your-own-device (BYOD) solutions for meeting rooms
Many of you are looking for better meeting solutions for your bring-your-own-device (BYOD) meeting rooms. Employees run meetings from their PCs with whatever A/V equipment is in the room, like a display or video bar. The experience can vary and be inconsistent, frustrating end users, and can be difficult for IT to manage. With our focus on supporting every shared space, we have some exciting new ways Teams can improve this experience.
Smoothly start and run meetings from a PC
With the new shared display mode, Teams now detects when you are connected to an A/V peripheral and external display in a BYOD room. As you start a Teams meeting, you’ll be prompted with the option to “Join with room audio.” This automatically connects to the A/V in the room and optimizes the gallery and shared content for in-room participants. It also minimizes the personal information that others in the room can see from other windows you might have open on your laptop. Then, you can use your laptop to control what in-room participants can see on the shared display. For example, in a presentation with PowerPoint Live, participants will see the slide show, while only you as the presenter can see your notes. This will be available in early 2024.
Add intelligence to BYOD meeting rooms
Intelligent speakers, previously only available in Teams Rooms, will now also be supported in BYOD meeting rooms. Devices like the Jabra PanaCast 50, or other Certified for Teams intelligent speakers, ensure in-room participants maintain their identity in the meeting transcript, enhancing AI-based productivity tools such as intelligent meeting recap and Copilot in Teams. This will be available by the end of 2023.
Discover peripherals in your BYOD rooms from Microsoft Teams Rooms Pro Management portal
In the same way that devices on shared desks can be discovered, so can peripherals in your BYOD rooms. Once discovered, IT can add these peripherals to any resource account and can view analytics like call performance and room utilization. Not only can you track all of your devices in one place, but you can also monitor their health, giving you a much clearer picture of the shared spaces in your organization.
With those utilization analytics, you’ll have a better idea of when it’s time to upgrade a BYOD room to a Teams Room. The new, entry-level Teams Rooms on Windows upgrade kits, like those from MAXHUB, could be a great option when you decide to do so. The bookable desk discovery and analytics in the Teams Rooms Pro Management service begins rollout in the first half of 2024.
That’s it for news from Teams Rooms and Devices for Ignite 2023!
As we develop the ways that your employees can collaborate, we are working to consistently deliver new capabilities for your shared environments including making it easier to track and manage your shared spaces as well as continuing to optimize experiences for end users.