With Teams use exploding in a time of hybrid work, Microsoft is once again attempting to go beyond IT enterprise and make a Pro AV statement. As such, the company has defined a new category of enhanced Microsoft Teams Rooms that emphasizes the company’s new Front Row experience. Front Row is the new feature which moves gallery view to the bottom of the screen, so that in-room meeting participants can see their remote colleagues face to face. It also brings meeting content such as chat and a rostered view of raised hands to the forefront of the meeting.
The new enhanced category of Microsoft Teams Rooms is currently only available for Microsoft Teams Rooms on Windows. Microsoft describes two goals for it–making sure everyone in the meeting feels included, represented, and productive, and making sure connections feel natural and immersive.
Inclusion in hybrid workspaces means remote participants should have a genuine presence in the room, in-room participants should retain their individual identity, and everyone should be able to engage in what is called “boundaryless collaboration”.
Microsoft describes a sample enhanced Microsoft Teams Room indicating a 25ft x 14ft room with a curved table at a height of 30 inches for six to eight in-room participants. The MTR compute and touch console are mounted on the table, with an integrated camera and soundbar mounted beneath the displayed image and between the display and a UST, high-resolution projector and the table.
The Windows-based Microsoft Teams Room example features a Logitech TAP for the touch console paired with a Lenovo Compute device. Jabra Panacast 50 serves as an intelligent camera with ultra-wide framing and provides the microphone and loudspeaker requirements. The display is achieved with an Epson EB-PU1007 projector with an ELPX01S UST lens, together with a Da-Lite screen. It also includes Logitech Scribe for co-creation.
Other options for compatible equipment are delineated:
• Console and compute: Lenovo ThinkSmart Core and controller; Crestron Flex; Poly G10-T
• Camera: Jabra Panacast; Yealink UVC30 and UVC40; Bose Videobar VB1; Poly Studio and Poly Studio E70
• Mics and speakers: various models from Biamp; Bose; Lenovo; Nureva; Poly; QSC; Shure; and Yealink
• Displays: alternate projectors, LED walls and flat panels that can create a table-spanning, 4K image and a 21:9 aspect ratio
• Co-create options: an analogue whiteboard with a content camera or a compatible interactive touch display; content cameras from Huddly, Logitech and Yealink; or a Microsoft Surface Hub 2S.
According to Microsoft: “Enhanced Microsoft Teams Rooms are not meant to be a replacement for all other meeting spaces inside your organization, but rather to act as a supplement to existing meeting spaces that utilize Microsoft Teams,” the guidance says. “They should be deployed strategically within your organization to the spaces and locations where face-to-face interactions with remote meeting participants will be most valued.”
These new meeting room examples take more space and may not suit a highly templated, large deployment. But Microsoft is counting on people wanting more from their Teams meetings in the continued hybrid workplace.