Cloud Technology News

A Deep Dive into Teams Conference Rooms Planning and Integration

One of the newer aspects of transforming workflow towards hybrid workplaces and technical equality, are the introduction of what’s being referred to as Teams Rooms.

These rooms are designed to provide Microsoft Teams Meeting rooms that provide a complete meeting experience that brings HD video, audio, and content sharing to meetings of all sizes, from small huddle areas to large conference rooms.  They are transforming the meeting room experience into a rich experience as a video-enabled collaboration space.

These rooms allow the user to join Teams meetings quickly and easily.  From there it’s now possible to easily make and receive calls, while seamlessly collaborating and sharing content from intuitive touch screen console devices.

But how does this happen?  What approach and key decisions are valuable in leading to successful planning, deployment and management of your overall meeting and conference room strategy?

Components

Common components from successful and award-winning Teams Rooms typically include the following key items that result in a great user experience.

  • Touchscreen Control Panel
  • Computer(s) / Laptop(s) / Tablet(s)
  • Microsoft Teams Rooms Console Application
  • Surface Pro Dock Combination (extender)
  • Multiple Peripheral Devices (camera(s), microphone(s), speakers)
  • HDMI Input, Cording and Adapters

While you can purchase these components individually, they are also available as preinstalled bundles from several suppliers.  Depending on the project budget and any special need circumstances, the flexibility of integration is approachable by some, while others prefer to outsource the planning, construction and/or integration to a provider like ourselves.  It’s this experience we feel makes for a more successful strategy, as this managed service approach alleviates the need to purchase and manage hardware and other electronics. Click here to see complete systems and individual items offered directly from Microsoft.

In addition to the Surface Pro/dock combination, you can also purchase Microsoft Teams Rooms with the touchscreen control panel, compute, dock, and key peripheral devices integrated. Typically, the bundles and integrated units include preinstalled software, but if you buy supported components individually for the Surface Pro systems, you’ll need to install the software. (See software instillation and guidelines article regarding Microsoft’s Endpoint Configuration Manager)

Teams Meeting Room Licensing

Microsoft has two dedicated SKUs for licensing meetings and calling on a per-device basis for meeting room devices (such as Microsoft Teams Rooms, Microsoft Surface Hub, and collaboration bars for Microsoft Teams).  Please consult the following chart as to which dedicated SKU makes the most sense for your organization.

¹ Availability and included minutes may vary by region. To verify service availability, refer to Country and region availability for Audio Conferencing and Calling Plans. Consumption charges may apply for additional services, such as toll-free, international minutes for domestic plans, etc. Customers can disable these features to avoid additional billing.

² Not available in sovereign clouds

³ For more information and availability, see Microsoft Teams Rooms managed service.

Pre-Requisites – Software, Networking and Configuration

To deploy Microsoft Teams Rooms with Configuration Manager, ensure that you meet the following prerequisites and requirements.

Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager requirements

  • Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager version must be at least 1706 or above. We recommend using 1710 or later. Check out Support for Windows 10 in Configuration Manager to learn about the Windows 10 versions that Configuration Manager supports.
  • A supported version of Windows Assessment and Deployment Kit (ADK) for Windows 10 must be installed. See the versions of the Windows 10 ADK that you can use with different versions of Configuration Manager and ensure that your deployment includes the correct version.
  • The site system servers must have been assigned the distribution point role, and the boot images should be enabled for pre-boot execution environment (PXE) support to enable network-initiated deployments. If PXE support isn’t enabled, you can use bootable media for your deployments.
  • A network access account must be configured to support new computer (bare metal) deployment scenarios. To learn more about the configuration of a network access account, see Accounts used in Configuration Manager.
  • It is recommended that you enable multicast support if you want to deploy the same Microsoft Teams Rooms image to multiple units at the same time.

Networking Requirements

  • Your network should have a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) server, configured for automatic IP address distribution to the subnets where Microsoft Teams Rooms units will be deployed.
  • Your network, including switches and virtual LANs (VLANs), should be configured to support PXE. Refer to your network vendor for more information about IP Helper and PXE configuration. Alternatively, you can use bootable media for your deployments, if PXE support isn’t enabled.

Configuration Requirements

Assuming you have a healthy Configuration Manager deployment, we will spare you the hard technical details and requirements.  While this obviously doesn’t detail all the steps required to deploy and configure Configuration Manager from scratch, there is a wealth of information and documentation on configuration guidance of the Microsoft Endpoint Configuration Manager.  This is a great resource that we recommend you start with if you haven’t yet deployed Configuration Manager.

For brevity, the following links and steps detail the configuration and installation process:

Beyond this, Microsoft Teams Rooms Help is a great resource to find out more about Microsoft Teams Rooms and how it adds value as part of your deployment. In addition, we recommend watching this Microsoft Teams overview and help video available on YouTube.