Meeting room guidance for Teams

This article is intended to guide users on how to optimize meeting spaces with Microsoft Teams Rooms solutions and devices. It includes information on Teams Rooms device and solution uses, layouts, and specifications.

Overview

Microsoft Teams Rooms solutions offer flexibility of purpose and even flexibility of movement throughout a space that traditional meeting rooms do not. For example, with Teams Rooms devices, users can enhance their collaboration with a digital whiteboard, and intelligent people-tracking cameras make sure every local participant can be seen no matter where they are in the room. Any type of space and any type of meeting can be optimized with Teams Rooms devices or Teams Rooms solutions.

Presentation-focused meetings

Meet and present meetings are the first bucket, and this meeting is generally more formal. Audio-visual is a priority, and there is a focus on presenting content. The device is typically fixed, allowing users to remain seated while interacting with the device from a center-of-table console.

Meet and present spaces prioritize presentation and discussion, which means the layout and technology must be optimized for content sharing and remote co-creation. Everyone needs to be involved in the discussion and must be able to see and interact with shared content.

Meet and present space layouts: Tables should be fixed and located in front-of-room displays. In smaller rooms, the tables may be attached to the wall, but in larger spaces, they must be separated to accommodate camera considerations.

Co-creation-focused meetings

Meet and co-create meetings are generally less formal with a priority on co-creation, inking, and whiteboard. Access to personal files is also a focus for this bucket. The device can be mobile, encouraging users to stand up, gather, and interact with the device.

The right space bridges users and the technology seamlessly and eliminates friction for even the most novice users. Teams devices are designed to be user-friendly enough for young students or new users to navigate adeptly, and for educators or admin to control and customize from first use.

Meet and co-create space layouts: Tables and co-creation equipment can have flexible positions and should accommodate groups of people working at either the tables or the equipment.

Presentation and co-creation-focused meetings

Remember, both types of rooms can handle both types of experiences when needed. Rooms can also be designed to accommodate both easily by having technology for each use. The important thing to remember is that no matter what space you are equipping, from a private office to a lecture hall, it needs to be Teams enabled.

Combination presentation and co-creation space layouts: A combination of use cases from other meeting scenarios can be combined to form multi-purpose rooms where presentation-focused meetings, as well as co-creation work, can be achieved with equal efficiency, often simultaneously.

Optimizing the meeting experience

A great meeting experience is the result of using the best possible technology for a meeting space in ways that facilitate the exchange of ideas without being intrusive.

Native Teams Rooms experiences versus other devices

Teams Rooms go beyond what can be done with Teams on personal devices by providing unique in-room capabilities, like one-touch join, content cameras to share physical whiteboards into the meeting in an intelligent way, and proximity features like seamlessly transferring a Teams meeting from your personal device to the room.

Non-native and self-built systems that rely on external services, or a bring-your-own-device connection, will never truly match the ease of use or immersive quality of a native Teams Room.

It's understood that over the course of a deployment, there may need to be intermediate steps (such as quickly deploying bring-your-own-device meeting rooms) implemented on your path to a fully native Teams experience in your meeting spaces.

Using Teams to create the best possible meeting experience

By having both Teams on all your personal devices and properly deployed Microsoft Teams Rooms in all your spaces, you will be able to facilitate the best possible meeting experience for every one of your users. As you plan to achieve the best possible experience, you will need to address all your spaces in terms of both technological deployment and end-user guidance and training.

It's normal when planning for a large-scale, company-wide rollout for it to happen in stages with some rooms seeing technology added at different times, or even certain components being installed earlier than others (such as deploying Teams panels for scheduling in every room in a particular building while installing Teams Rooms solutions one floor or even room at a time).

Prepare your users to do this in stages to maximize your Teams meeting experience at every point along the way.

Good experience – Personal devices alone in a meeting space

You can start with this plan by addressing all your non-AV or non-collaboration-equipped meeting spaces. You can still take advantage of Teams in your meeting rooms, even if those meeting rooms have not yet had Teams devices installed.

Audio: A great bridge to a complete Teams Room is to plan for meeting technology by either providing your individual users with Teams-certified audio devices for smaller rooms and groups, or by deploying them in rooms ahead of a full Teams Rooms solution for larger spaces meant for larger groups where a small device won't cut it.

Video: When these rooms are used, individual users can bring their own devices to share in the Teams meeting content and capture their expressions with their individual cameras. Users can then designate someone to be the single source of audio for the local group, connecting that personal device to the certified audio device, so that everyone (both local and remote) has a positive experience with meeting audio.

Engagement: Enabling your meeting rooms for a better Teams meeting experience, even when it requires the use of personal devices and peripherals, will still allow your users to expand on what they can do with Teams. When your users are situated in private offices and at individual workstations, Teams facilitates in-person discussions in addition to engaging with remote participants.

Better experience – Teams Rooms solutions and no personal devices

If you install Teams Rooms solutions or if you already have rooms that have already been deployed with appropriate Teams Rooms devices for their respective spaces, then you are well on your way to having great meeting experiences.

Audio: Audio for these meeting spaces will be handled by the Teams Rooms solution and its Microsoft-certified audio devices.

Video: Video in these spaces will be handled by the Teams Rooms solution and its Microsoft-certified cameras.

Engagement: Your end users will be able to take advantage of the complete Teams Rooms experience for their meetings, ensuring that everyone can join meetings easily and have great and audio and video.

Best experience – Teams Rooms solutions used in conjunction with personal devices

Training your users to use technology in coordination leads to the most efficient and streamlined outcome. The best possible scenario is a combination of installed technology and personal devices.

Audio: Most meeting-room connectivity and audio-video work will be handled by the Teams Rooms solution, while individual users can join the same meeting with cameras on and audio off for a completely immersive experience.

Video: Remote users will be able to see everyone take part in the meeting beyond just speaking and content sharing. A remote user can turn on personal video to gain a view from anywhere in the room with the ability to focus in on any participant.

Engagement: Chat can remain dynamic with all participants, local and remote, involved and engaged. Video sharing from both Teams Rooms and via individual cameras allows remote participants to feel engaged with everyone.

Using Teams on all devices ensures that local room users and remote users feel equally engaged in meetings.

Technology considerations

The right audio and video technology choices will help users get the most out of their Microsoft Teams meetings.

Audio

Audio considerations are critical to ensure both remote and in-room participants can be clearly heard and understood. Microphone and speaker coverage must include every seat in the room without leaving gaps.

The right audio devices for each space:

A single source of audio for a space is required to ensure that there are no audio issues in a meeting room.

Pairing the right microphone and speakers for each space will give the best possible results for being heard clearly without distraction.

  • In shared spaces, the options expand, but the same principles remain: meeting participants need to be heard and hear others clearly.

    • All-in-one audio devices are easy-to-deploy, high-quality options for smaller spaces with a limited number of participants seated relatively close to the audio device.

    • In larger spaces, the microphones and speakers separate to ensure maximum coverage across all participants in the space. Many solutions for medium- to large-sized rooms are available as part of a kit that requires no configuration, only physical installation of microphones and speakers.

    • In the very largest and most complex spaces, solutions are available that allow for a variety of microphone and speaker types to be used together, such as capturing a lecturer and audience voice from a large hall while simultaneously bringing the call to everyone. These solutions are best achieved when deployed with a Microsoft partner who has expertise in the design and deployment of more technically involved solutions.

Video

Video is equally important as audio. Capturing physical, non-verbal communication like facial expressions or gestures is as important as the classroom or meeting content to ensure maximum engagement and understanding. Rooms need to be equipped with the appropriate size of display so that everyone can experience the meeting properly, whether in the room or remote. This is why rooms also need to have the right camera coverage and field of view (FOV) to effectively capture all the in-room meeting participants for those joining remotely.

The right cameras for each space:

As important as good audio, high-quality video is a necessity for modern Teams collaboration. Technology for cameras has advanced significantly with high-quality cameras now available for all spaces.

  • Included cameras in devices like laptops and tablets should be used in all meetings to ensure that everyone is seen and heard. For users looking to bring a richer video experience to a personal space, external cameras represent a step up from embedded devices and can be used in a greater number of scenarios and configurations, ensuring that call participants share the best quality view of themselves. These devices easily install with simple USB connection found on every PC.

  • In shared spaces, the options and features expand. Smaller rooms may be covered by cameras included within all-in-one audio devices, such as soundbars. These cameras typically feature a wide field of view, ensuring that they capture every participant in the space in a single shot. Many of these cameras also feature things like intelligent framing of the image, so that the camera only shows the people in the meeting and not empty chairs, or people counting, to track and understand space utilization.

  • In larger rooms, cameras feature the technology needed to capture participants in a variety of locations at varying distances away. These cameras can capture groups or focus on specific individuals while maintaining great visual clarity. Devices that can track and feature only active speakers are regularly used in larger spaces so that many participants may be featured individually throughout a meeting as they contribute their thoughts.