They say, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” Although that might be true, Microsoft showcased an enticing portfolio of conferencing and collaborations devices at InfoComm in Las Vegas that is definitely worth spilling all the details! In this article I’ll discuss what Microsoft brought to the table at InfoComm and what this means for your organization.
Meeting Room Solutions & Collaboration Devices
According to Microsoft, the Surface Hub should soon support Microsoft Teams. This will give all existing Surface Hub device customers with the ability to use Teams for your calling and meeting capabilities. This includes:
- One-touch join
- Up to 4 incoming video steams
- Side-by-side interoperability between Skype for Business and Teams
For those of you that already have you Microsoft Surface Hub you’ll be able to download the preview for the Teams App from the Microsoft Store later this month. If you haven’t yet purchased a Microsoft Surface Hub, you may want to hold off just a bit longer and get the new Surface Hub 2. The Surface Hub 2, will be even more deeply integrated with Microsoft 365 and Teams. To learn more about this device, check out the link here.
As for SRS (Skype Room System), they are planned to be supported by the end of this month (June 2018) across all partners (Logitech, Crestron, Polycom, Lenovo, and HP). This will be made available as an update from Windows that will then allow customers with SRS devices to join Teams Meetings in the same way that they had previously been joining Skype for Business meetings. In addition, this update brings the ability for proximity detection, which allows you to find and book an available nearby SRS meeting room.
Note: After this update, you will still have the ability to join Skype for Business meetings.
Another important update for conferencing phones revolves around Yealink and Polycom, which will be bringing native Teams-enabled conference phones to market later this year. According to Microsoft in this weeks blog post, “at the end of June customers will be able to use their existing conference phones running Skype for Business to join Teams meetings through one-touch join that allows users to start meetings more quickly, reducing the average time to connect and engage in meetings.”
Microsoft is also working with partners such as Avocor and Sharp to begin a new category called Windows Collaboration Displays. Microsoft will begin to market this product later this year. The Windows Collaboration Displays will allow you to connect a PC to one of these high-resolution, multi-touch displays, and utilize things such as:
- Integrated cameras
- Stereo speakers
- Far field microphones
These Windows Collaboration Displays will support the Microsoft 365 collaboration tools through Office, Teams, and Whiteboard.
Microsoft Teams will also have Teams-enabled desk phones later this year. These desk phones from AudioCodes and Yealink will offer rich features to enhance your Teams experience. Some of the key features for these phones includes:
- Quickly view contact lists and meeting schedules
- One-touch meeting join
- Retrieve voicemail + voicemail transcription
- Contact card viewing allowing for instant calling and meetings when needed
On a similar wave length, the Plantronics mobile phone station (build for mobile-first users) adds a new category of devices for the desk.
The small and compact form factor of this device will allow mobile first users to seamlessly transition between work environments all while allowing you to maintain high-quality audio all driven through your mobile phone. The mobile phone station will leverage the Teams experience but with desk phone capabilities and will be made available to the public later this year.
As you may already know, Microsoft requires that their partners go through a certification process before they approve the device and classify it as “Skype for Business certified“. The same process applies to Teams, where Microsoft will be working closely with their partners by testing areas such as: user interface, user experience, and support for high quality audio and video before certifying a device. To see all devices certified for Skype for Business and soon Teams, check out the link solution catalog. For things Teams and Skype for Business check back on a regular basis, as Microsoft has indicated lots additional changes for Teams on the O365 roadmap throughout the months of June and July.