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April 10, 2023

Microsoft presents new signature teams rooms design for meetings

Microsoft announced this week the release of its “Signature Teams Rooms” design, which aims to make meetings with remote participants seem more natural and inclusive.

A Signature Teams Room uses certain equipment, furniture and an ultra-wide-angle artificial intelligence camera at the front of the room to make it appear as if people are facing remote meeting participants. The camera is described as capturing images of the remote participants in separate feeds to enable this scenario.

An internal Microsoft project available to Microsoft’s IT team and the Microsoft Teams group initiated the design of Signature Teams Rooms for Microsoft employee meetings, but the plans and equipment details have now been published for all to use.

Microsoft’s Signature Teams Rooms design publication emphasized that this type of arrangement for online meetings is mainly for organizations that need face-to-face types of meetings.

Signature Teams Rooms are not meant to replace all other meeting rooms within your organization, but rather to complement existing meeting rooms that use Microsoft Teams. They should be deployed strategically within your organization in the rooms and locations where face-to-face interactions with remote meeting participants are most valued.

To this end, Signature Teams Rooms use curved C-shaped furniture for the office participants in the meeting room, whose images are captured by the ultra-wide-angle camera. A Microsoft Teams feature called “Front Row” is used to scale and place images of remote participants at eye level.

Example of a small Microsoft Teams room with signature

Example of a small Microsoft Teams room with signature Source: Microsoft

Example of a medium-sized Microsoft Teams space with signature

Example of a medium-sized Microsoft Teams space with signature Source: Microsoft

Microsoft also expects to improve the audio portion for Teams Rooms via spatial audio, where “sound comes from the direction of the person speaking.” Spatial audio capability was described in the publication as “in the future.”

Microsoft Surface Hub 2S becomes Teams Rooms device In other Teams Rooms news
Microsoft announced late last month that its Surface Hub 2S, a proprietary Microsoft product, “will join the Microsoft Teams Rooms family.”

Teams Rooms devices were previously distinguished as non-Microsoft-built hardware devices running Microsoft software. Now Microsoft’s Surface Hub 2S device is getting the same branding, which will begin “later this year” for new machines.

With the Teams Rooms branding switch, new Surface Hub 2S devices become “the first touch-enabled board to run Teams Rooms on Windows.” The whiteboard drawing capability remains, but the other installed Microsoft apps are not available (Surface Hub devices usually gave access to Office apps). The Teams Rooms Surface Hub 2S product can participate in Zoom and Webex meetings. It gets Teams Rooms features such as “Front Row, persistent chat, consistent remote management capabilities and more.”

Microsoft also touted the Surface Hub 2S branding switch to Teams Rooms as enhancing management capabilities through the Microsoft Teams Admin Center, Microsoft Intune and System Center Configuration Manager. Microsoft also promised that these upcoming Surface Hub 2 Teams Rooms devices will be compatible with “third-party Teams Rooms devices.

It will be possible for existing Surface Hub 2S devices to “migrate to this experience at a future date,” according to the announcement. Current users of the Windows 10 Team Edition operating system on the Surface Hub 2S will be supported “through Oct. 14, 2025.”

Source: redmondmag

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