Setting up Microsoft Teams Rooms to Transform Video Conferencing
By Tony Evans
Organizations today are becoming more and more connected digitally with a growing trend of remote workers connecting with onsite staff in larger conference rooms, open office spaces, and huddle rooms. Microsoft Teams is a leading collaboration platform that allows for individual employees to log into a virtual meeting and participate from any device with a camera. But how should your organization handle larger audiences joining the same digital meeting?
Microsoft Teams Rooms is a specific offering that connects the functionality of Teams with integrated rich audio and video devices for larger conference rooms. Organizations can setup integrated cameras, conference room displays and high-quality microphones to make a seamless and high-quality experience for large conference rooms. This configuration is ideal for board meetings, training sessions, and larger strategic planning meetings when you want employees engaged both in-house and remote.
Based on our experience, let’s explore how your organization can assess and implement Microsoft Teams Rooms and request a consultation with a sales representative at any time to schedule your own assessment.
Your first step is to assess your current capabilities. Teams Rooms are designed for integrated conference rooms, so you need to start by listing the key devices you currently have in your conference rooms. If your organization has not purchased any conference hardware, the following would be a good starting list of devices to procure:
- Integrated Display Devices
- Speakers and Sound Bars
- Digital Whiteboards
- Centralized Control Consoles
Microsoft provides many authorized third-party devices for MS Teams Rooms so you want to confirm ahead of time that your equipment will work with Teams. Click here to see the specific devices supported by Microsoft.
Beyond the hardware check, ensure your room has a strong Internet connection to handle HD video, and an appropriate number of power outlets to power multiple user devices.
There are two licenses available for MS Teams Rooms: Standard and Premium. The Standard license is $15 per month, per device. The Premium license is $50 per month, per device. The only difference between the license levels is the addition of Managed Services from Microsoft for Premium customers. This Premium service offering is not necessary if you already have managed services from Microsoft and is only helpful for companies that do not have strong partner capabilities to manage the Teams Room integration. At Evans Consulting Services, we take great pride in our partner network to bring the best combination of skills needed for any implementation.
For either license level, Microsoft includes a strong baseline of features for Teams Rooms. This includes integration with both Microsoft Teams and Skype for Business, Phone Integration, and integration with InTune for security monitoring. Each plan includes a base of audio-conferencing minutes that you can use, which are dependent on your Microsoft licensing agreement.
Licensing is based on devices, which means one license per conference room. For advanced organizations you may need to consider more than one license per room if you are running different display devices.
The final consideration is whether or not you want to tie a phone number to your Teams Room. If you do, Microsoft will require a Calling Plan License which is an additional charge per month.
How effective are your digital meetings?
Microsoft has been rolling out enhancements to the Teams platform on a regular basis, and there are number of cutting-edge features that you can take advantage of with a Teams Room.
Proximity Detection: For users in your organization already on the standard individual Teams app, any nearby Teams Rooms locations will be shown as options for meeting organizers.
One-Touch Join: If you have interactive screen capabilities, the Teams Room setup screen allows for a quick “One-Touch Join” capability. Simply activate the screen and click the “Join” button and you have a live digital conference room up and running.
Support for Multiple Screens: If your conference room is large enough, you might have multiple large HD screens available for meetings. Teams Rooms allows you to stream the entire meeting across multiple screens for an enhanced display experience.
BYOD vs. Company Owned Devices
If your organization is BYOD ready, any user with proper permissions to use the Teams Room can connect a device via HDMI or USB for display capabilities. This capability is convenient because it gives you enhanced experiences for all device levels. Teams Rooms are also flexible with multiple combinations. If 10 people show up with a variety of devices all will be supported within the digital workspace.
Wrapping It Up
Having the capability to run an integrated conference call with MS Teams Rooms is very powerful. Organizations can accommodate both onsite and remote workers all in the same digital collaboration space. If your organization is struggling with digital collaboration, Evans Consulting Services has the expertise to help. Request a consultation today to speak with one of our team members to learn more about our approach to digital communications and how we can help you setup and administer Teams Rooms.
If you are interested in learning more about the best practices for your digital workforce, download our Executive Guide to the Top 5 Virtual Meeting and Collaboration Tools today to learn more about the most common digital collaboration tools on the market.
About the Author
I created Evans Consulting Services after running another start up business with partners. We ran the business like a corporation. Over the years, I have learned that entrepreneurship was a unique challenge. I learned that each member of a small organization is extremely important and must carry their own weight, earn their compensation and produce results. The negative impact of sub-par performance is devastating and cannot be sustained by an emerging business.
I’ve been in business as an entrepreneur for 22 years. Through ECS, we have continually demonstrated the ability to successfully partner with a variety of entities. ECS is a team player. For example, ECS entered a joint venture with Albert Kahn Associates, a 100+ old architectural firm, on a million-dollar project to design and install the cabling infrastructure for Motor City Casino Hotel. We also have maintained a managed contract customer relationship with KIRCO Management Services LLC, a multi million-dollar development, property management, and construction company that has grown nationally over the last 19 years. KIRCO is our flagship, cornerstone customer since 2001. In the future, our relationship will continue to strengthen as both companies grow.
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