Manage meeting space availability with Microsoft Teams Panels

Published 02-26-2021 08:00 AM 25.8K Views

In the new Hybrid Workplace, providing the right digital tools to connect and support employees wherever they are is essential. It supports productivity, engagement, safety, and collaboration. As companies begin to reopen their offices, and conference rooms and meeting spaces become busy again, optimizing how they are utilized will be key to everyone’s success.


Microsoft Teams Panels were announced last October at Ignite 2020 as a new category of devices. They provide a space and time management solution powered by a native Teams experience, running on a compact digital display that can be mounted virtually anywhere. Today, we’re pleased to announce that they’re now generally available.

 

Supporting the Hybrid Workplace with the right devices in the right places
With Teams Panels, employees can book an available room on the spot or find another time slot and reserve it right from the panel. With vibrant, color-coded LED indicators, it's easy to determine space availability from a distance. And, the intuitive and easy-to-read UI presents space and meeting information, so you can confirm you’re in the right place at the right time.


A popular feature available now is the ad hoc meeting scheduler. Let’s say you and a colleague need to jump on a quick client call. Simply go to the Teams Panel outside a meeting space. If the time slot is not booked, it will appear green. Just tap the screen to instantly book it and the room is yours for the time selected. Teams Panels use the Exchange calendar for the booking of the room, so users can have insight in the meeting space free or busy status at any time.

 

Teams Panels work with a range of devices
When paired with Microsoft Teams Rooms or Surface Hub devices, users can take advantage of connected device experiences, like booking an ad-hoc Teams meeting on the Panel and joining the same ad-hoc meeting on a Teams Rooms or Surface Hub device.


And while the best end-to-end experience is pairing a Teams panel with another Teams device or Teams Room configuration, you can add a panel outside of any meeting space, allowing users to schedule any room through Outlook or right from the panel itself. All Teams Panels can be centrally provisioned, updated, and monitored from Microsoft Teams Admin Center.

 

In the coming months, four powerful new features will roll out:

Room Capacity Warning leverages select in-room cameras to detect when the maximum people allowed per room is reached.


Nearby Rooms lets employees view the building floor plan and book another room when a space is unavailable.


Room Check-in Notification sends a message to the in-room display that people in the next meeting are waiting outside.


Remove Unused Scheduled Room identifies and allows for the removal of ‘ghost’ meetings to free up unused meeting space time slots.


Teams Panels are currently available from our partner Crestron and Yealink will release theirs in April, with additional partners to be announced later in the year. Our certified hardware partners deliver optimized touch screen experiences with LED indicators and multiple mounting options, as well as additional sensors that integrate seamlessly with Microsoft Teams.


There are two ways to license Teams Panels:

8 Comments
Occasional Contributor

Gee... that's the device I wish we had in my office along with ThinkSmart Hub 500! It was so cool!

Occasional Visitor

So, when will this functionality be made available via an iPad running an app?   I have plenty of clients who are interested in something like this, but aren't at all interested in the pricing for the "special hardware" you've implemented (1,600-2,400 per device is a bit steep when compared to the cost of an iPad Mini and mounting hardware.)

Regular Visitor

I have my first one running in my test-lab. We are currently deploying 250 of these Crestron 7" roombookingpanels. Currently in the default Crestron roombooking mode. 

My first disappointment is that it seems you have to create a password for every resource mailbox and logon to every individual panel, where other "traditional" roombooking systems use 1 service account to connect the roombooking management platform to O365, and through that service account every resource mailbox can simply added and deployed to the screen.

I had also the hope that MS would foresee a special cheaper SKU license for the roombooking panel. Not every meetingroom with a roombooking screen is automatically an MTR. So a cheaper license than the MTR Standard or Premium license would be nice.

So hopefully, MS will soon deploy enhancements for this new part of the Teams eco-system.

 

@dalycitymike IMHO roombookingsystems that use tablets as roombooking are "sh*t". These devices aren't made to be on 16h/24h a day. There is a battery in it that can be a hazard, especially when constantly connected to power. They are vulnerable to OS updates. No LED indicator lights. And the touchsceen is not so durable as real roombooking devices. I'm also pretty sure that an Ipad or Android tablet will not stand 5 years without problems. No central management (only on app level). To not even be speaking about security issues that will come up after 2 years.

So, TCO over 5 years will be equal or better imho. + higher uptime guarantee + 3yr default warranty + proper central management is worth the added cost.

Just my 2 cents... :smile:

 

MicrosoftTeams-image (3).jpg

 

I have only 1 question - the reason why I came here - I don't see the panel showing up in the Teams Admin center under "Teams-Displays". It should be showing up there, no? I made a config profile I want to deploy on the connected screen. 

Microsoft

@PeterDevalez Thank you for your comments and feedback.  We've recently added the "Teams Panels" category to Teams Admin Center where you will be able to find the inventory of Teams Panels on your tenant. 

Occasional Visitor
@PeterDevalez, Do you still not see the Temas Panels option under devices? The new menu option appeared a couple of days ago. The link should be https://admin.teams.microsoft.com/devices/teamspanels
Regular Visitor

@PatrikLindahlSE@kspiess 

 

Thank you for your feedback. Indeed, the new category appeared last Friday in our TAC.

The only thing that didn't work, was pushing a configuration profile to the device. It seems not picking up the new config. I will test again on wednesday the 17th, to see if there are improvements on that.

 

Curious to see what further development will bring to these devices. 

 

I am currently testing the Crestron Teams panels and have the following issues/improvements.

 

1. the administration should be possible only through one tool, either the Crestron XIO Cloud or the TEAMS Admin Center.
2. if the room is currently reserved you can not book a free slot in the future. You have to wait until the room is free again and then you can only book from that moment.
3. There is no possibility to release the booked room early.
4. the screensaver does not work.
5. pairing with a Crestron Occupancy Sensor does not work.
6. many settings like the lightbar colors,... can only be changed on the panel.
7. no check-in function available.

8. no custom background images
9. no videos as screensaver
etc, etc, etc,

Despite all the problems, the panel looks great.

I would say - in 6 months everything is GOOD. I keep my fingers crossed for the development team.

 

Senior Member

@dalycitymike   In our company we've been using iPad Mini's as meeting room doorway panels as you propose (500+ such rooms).   Most of the iPads have needed to be replaced due to the 'battery ballooning' issue - which is the issue of the battery in the device expanding to the extent that the casing starts to split.  Expect to replace the majority of your iPad Mini's within 3 years.

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‎Mar 09 2021 02:55 PM
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