Microsoft Teams Rooms (MTR) is a solution that will transform meetings that take place in a shared room of any size, from a small huddle area to a large conference room. By providing a complete meeting experience, including HD video, audio, and content sharing, the addition of a Microsoft Teams Rooms system will increase meeting engagement while simplifying the overall experience.
An MTR system is made up of several key hardware components:
- Touchscreen control panel
- MTR application
- Peripheral devices (camera, microphone, speaker)
- External screens (maximum of two)
- HDMI Input
Microsoft has partnered with several third party vendors to create certified bundles that include all of the necessary components. Bundles are available to meet your needs based on the size of your shared room. A small huddle room may only require a single screen, microphone, and camera. While a larger conference room system would be made up of several microphones, multiple displays, and additional external speakers, it is also possible to piece components together to build out your own system. If doing so, the use of certified devices is always recommended. Bundles will also have a device that includes the pre-installed MTR software, but if you are building out your own system, you will need to spend additional time configuring this yourself.
Besides the physical hardware that’s necessary for MTR, licensing is needed as well. This currently comes in two options: standard and premium. The standard licensing includes Microsoft Teams, Microsoft Phone System, and PSTN Audio Conferencing. Microsoft Intune is also included, which is used to automatically manage the updates for the device running the MTR software. Premium licensing includes everything in the standard package, plus Microsoft Teams Rooms Managed Services. This is an additional service from Microsoft that includes tier one support and monitoring of the device running the MTR software. It ensures your system remains healthy and sends alerts if any issues are detected or triggers customized automated remediation activities.
Do we need a Microsoft Teams Room?
If you are looking to bring the Microsoft Teams meeting experience to a shared area, MTR is your best option to do so.
By installing an MTR system, you will be giving meeting attendees the ability to join a meeting from a shared room with one-touch. Once they are instantly connected with all the remote meeting attendees, who they will communicate with via the system’s HD camera and microphones, they will have the ability to manage the meeting via a touch screen control panel. Management options include including muting and adding/removing attendees.
By using their laptops or mobile devices, the attendees can wirelessly display content both on a physical display in the shared meeting area and to all the remote attendees who join via their Teams desktop or mobile clients. HDMI input allows for the ability to share content via a physical connection as well.
Scheduling a meeting is easily done via Outlook using the same method you would use to schedule a fully remote Teams meeting, with the additional step of including your meeting room as an attendee. The account tied to the MTR system will automatically accept/deny invites based on availability. The Teams desktop and mobile clients also have a built-in proximity function that will detect a near by MTR system and present the option to join the meeting via that instead.
Another consideration to make when reviewing if a Microsoft Teams Rooms system is the right fit for your shared area is that it will also replace your standard conference phone. Licensing for the MTR includes Microsoft Phone System and PSTN Audio Conferencing. This will give the ability for someone to drop into a shared area and dial out to anyone, as well as provide a dial in number for conference calls.
Microsoft Teams Rooms systems are meant to bring your physical spaces and those who are meeting in them, to the virtual meeting world. To accomplish this, you need to consider the requirements:
- Hardware – certified bundles are recommended
- Licensing – Microsoft Room standard or premium
- Configuration – Initial configuration is necessary for the hardware and the account used in Office 365 tenant
If Microsoft Teams Rooms sounds like a good fit for your workplace, please reach out to Sikich to see how we can assist in the planning, designing, and installing processes.