As offices are reopening, Microsoft and our Teams device hardware partners are bringing new innovations to empower hybrid meetings. Many of us have adjusted to working remotely, while others are eager to work alongside colleagues again. Today, we are sharing more about our plan to combine the best of both—delivering inclusive and collaborative hybrid meetings.
Front row layout for Microsoft Teams Rooms
Front row is the latest meeting layout for Microsoft Teams Rooms, designed to enhance hybrid meetings and foster a greater sense of connection and collaboration for remote attendees and in-room meeting participants. Front row moves the video gallery to the bottom of the screen, showing virtual attendees at eye level with people inside the meeting room for a more natural face-to-face interaction—as if everyone were all in the same room.
Meeting chat and a rostered view of participants with raised hands are brought to the front-of-room screen, so people in the room can easily see the conversation and actively participate.
Front row is available for all Teams Rooms on Windows, single and dual display modes, and across all display sizes. It’s recommended you use 1080p resolution (single/dual displays) for an optimal viewing experience. More enhanced front row features, including support for Teams Rooms on Android, will be available later this year.
New enhancements to the companion device experience
With new enhancements to the companion device experience for Teams Rooms, we’ve made it easier and less distracting to establish a personal presence when joining a meeting from a conference room with your personal device. Companion devices also allow you to participate in digital whiteboarding, use live reactions, and share content into the meeting using Teams cast.
To remove distractions, the desktop companion device experience now hides your laptop video from the front-of-room screen as well as from the gallery of people joining from other companion devices in the room. Soon, you will also be prompted to turn your laptop video on before joining a meeting so that you can be clearly seen by remote participants no matter where you are in the room. These enhancements will be generally available for Teams Rooms on Windows and Android in the second quarter of 2022.
Touch-enabled display solutions for Teams Rooms
We’ve partnered with Neat and Yealink to provide new touch-enabled display solutions for Teams Rooms. These devices combine audio, video, touch display, and compute in a single unit. They are especially designed for digital whiteboarding—featuring shared, multi-user experiences that allow remote and in-room meeting participants to brainstorm and collaborate, in real-time, across the same digital canvas. This new whiteboarding experience also allows you to easily add meeting participants to the sessions and save your work.
Both devices can be mounted to a mobile stand with wheels, making them easy to move around the meeting room or to a different workspace. They are in the process of being certified for Teams Rooms on Android and will be available in the second quarter of 2022.
Intelligent speakers global expansion
To keep meetings more engaging and inclusive, the voice attribution transcription service on Teams Rooms intelligent speakers is expanding to non-US based customers in April 2022. Intelligent speakers are available from EPOS, Yealink, and Sennheiser and provide high accuracy attribution and easy to consume transcription capabilities.
This expansion also supports voice attribution transcription service for 16 different languages, including German, Simplified Chinese-Mandarin, Japanese, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, Korean, French, and Italian, with more to come.
Intelligent speakers use Microsoft voice recognition technology in Teams to attribute who is speaking and apply their name to the meeting transcript. These speakers include a 7-microphone array that can identify up to ten people in a room and up to 20 meeting participants. This allows you to see who said what during and after the meeting, even if multiple people happen to speak at the same time.
After a quick voice enrollment in Teams, user voice profiles are securely stored in the customer tenant of the Microsoft Office 365 Cloud which is GDPR and EUDB compliant. Users and IT admins retain control of their information across multiple layers, including the ability to delete it at any time. The capture of voice data can be turned on or off for each meeting. Additionally, admins have full control to enable and disable the people identification through voice recognition feature across the organization.
Device store in Teams admin center
The Microsoft Teams admin center is a hub where IT admins manage their Microsoft Teams devices and settings.
We’ve added the Microsoft Teams device store to the Teams admin center, to help IT admins narrow the search for Teams certified devices. This gives admins the ability to search for and order new devices directly in the Teams admin center. IT admin accounts are authenticated and integrated within the device marketplace, helping streamline and automate device setup—removing the need to manually register the devices. All major Microsoft partners offering devices certified for Microsoft Teams will be included in the device store, with fulfilment provided by a third party.
The device store is an optional feature which will be accessed via the left navigation bar in the Teams admin center. It is expected to be available next month in the US and Canada.
Microsoft remains committed to working closely with our customers and collaborating with our partners to develop solutions which enhance the hybrid meeting experience for all Teams users—remote or in the room.