Over the past few months, many organizations have vaulted into an entirely new world of work. We’ve discovered some of the benefits of this new world through more than 30 research projects here at Microsoft, and by learning from our customers and partners. These benefits range from, increased fluidity between work and life activities, allowing people to move between the two more easily, to increased empathy between teammates, and several other benefits detailed in our latest Work Trend Index Report. We’ve also seen the emergence of new challenges. That same blend of work and life can be difficult to balance, home offices without distractions are rare, remote collaboration can feel more difficult than in-person, and access to reliable networks and equipment isn’t available for everyone. While distributed remote work has its rewards, there are certain advantages to in-office collaboration as well. Through these learnings it has become clear – the workplace of the future will not be one location or the other, but a fluid experience across the two.
To help our customers navigate this new, hybrid working environment, today we’d like to share some new and reimagined capabilities in Teams-enabled meeting rooms that offer touchless experiences, support inclusive collaboration between remote and in-person attendees, and help remind teams to practice social distancing in meeting rooms.
Touchless experiences on Microsoft Teams devices for shared spaces
Today, people in the meeting room can join a Teams meeting from their Microsoft Teams Room and collaboration bar devices, share content and collaborate using their personal PC or mobile device, all without ever having to touch the shared device display. Later this year, we’ll enable these capabilities on Surface Hub as well. Additionally, Surface Pro X users can use their pen across Surface devices, including Surface Hub 2S, further limiting the contact with the shared device display in a meeting room. As the need for additional touchless experiences grows, we’re expanding these features to allow people to control more aspects of the meeting. In the future, people will be able to choose how they want to interact with their shared space devices, using touch, controls on their own personal devices, and through voice commands.
Soon, in-room participants will be able to control their Teams Room and collaboration bar devices from the Teams mobile app. From the new room remote experience, users will be able to mute and unmute the room, adjust audio volume, turn cameras on and off, and exit the meeting. We’ll also enable wireless casting to any Teams Room, collaboration bar, and Surface Hub for quick ad-hoc connections that don’t require remote participation. Beginning later this year, voice assistance will be enabled for Microsoft Teams Room devices, allowing in-room participants to ask Cortana to join and leave a meeting, and add a phone number or participant from the address book to a meeting.*
When the meeting is over, people can simply leave the room, allowing the Teams Room or collaboration bar to automatically exit the meeting. This feature allows room administrators to designate a period of zero-activity after a meeting is scheduled to end, after which, meeting devices are automatically ejected from the meeting.
Cortana voice assistance on Microsoft Teams Room
Coordinated meetings with Teams Room and Surface Hub
Teams Room is the premier solution for delivering Teams meeting room experiences with a focus on high fidelity audio, HD video, and seamless content sharing capabilities. Surface Hub delivers unmatched co-creation experiences in meetings, featuring premium pen and inking capabilities, with access to must-have Microsoft apps and Office 365 files. Soon, users will be able to leverage the power of both devices, in the same meeting, through a coordinated experience. Using proximity or one-touch join, both devices join the meeting simultaneously with Teams Rooms running audio and video, while Surface Hub is automatically muted to avoid any distracting feedback. During the meeting, users can maximize screen real estate by using the front of room display to show attendees in the meeting gallery, while the Surface Hub is used to show content or to conduct a collaborative whiteboarding session. With the whiteboard experience on Surface Hub and Microsoft Whiteboard in Teams, people can draw and ink together on the same savable canvas, no matter their location. With this new coordinated device capability, people can drive inclusive, collaborative meeting experiences between remote and in-person attendees like never before.
Coordinated meetings with Surface Hub and Microsoft Teams Room
Meeting room capacity notifications
As organizations plan their transitions back to the office, many are looking to implement new in-office policies to adhere to local safety guidelines. Some of these recommendations include social distancing practices in shared spaces like meeting rooms. To aid our customers in these efforts we’ll soon enable a way for room administrators to automatically notify in-room meeting participants if a room is over capacity. Today, administrators can define meeting room capacity for the room account. Soon, we’ll enable IT to use the data from meeting room cameras with people-counting technologies to identify how many people are in a room, and alert in-room meeting participants if it is over-capacity based on the capacity data defined in the room account. The notification will be displayed as a banner that appears across the top of the screen at the front of the room. In the future, administrators will receive an alert in the Teams Admin Center, allowing them to track room usage to help inform space planning decisions.
Meeting room capacity notifications
Helping people connect across workspaces has never been more important. With Teams meetings and Teams-enabled devices, people can engage in collaborative and inclusive meetings from anywhere.
View our collection of Teams certified devices at the Devices Showcase. From now until 7/31/2020, use code “TeamsDevices20” to receive a discount on a variety of products at checkout. To learn more about Surface Hub, click here.
*Voice assistance will launch first for Microsoft 365 Enterprise users in the U.S., in English. Not all Teams Room audio devices will support Cortana voice assistance.