Microsoft is doubling down on efforts to drive the adoption of collaboration platform Teams in conference room settings.
As per two new entries to the company’s product roadmap, users will soon be able to perform a wider range of actions via Microsoft Teams panels, the touchscreen devices mounted outside of meeting rooms.
For example, Microsoft Teams users will be able to “check out” of conference rooms if their meetings end earlier than expected, as a courtesy to colleagues who might need the space. In a similar vein, it will also be possible to extend existing reservations via Microsoft Teams panels, provided doing so does not create a clash.
Both updates are still currently under development, but should roll out to all Microsoft Teams panel users by the end of May.
Microsoft Teams in the office
With the majority of experts predicting a widespread transition to hybrid working once the pandemic recedes, Microsoft is eager to position its collaboration and video conferencing platform as the go-to choice for in-office deployments too.
The company faces stiff competition from the likes of Zoom, which has its own range of conference room solutions, but Microsoft is putting in the legwork with a series of updates of its own.
In addition to the new functionality set to land in the spring, Microsoft recently announced a feature to help companies monitor and limit the capacity of meeting rooms, to facilitate social distancing (if it’s still required in future).
The desired room capacity is set by the administrator and overcrowding is detected using cameras with people-counting functionality. If a room is over capacity, an alert will appear on the in-room display and Microsoft Teams panel outside.
Microsoft will hope that features such as these, in addition to a roster of intelligent meeting room hardware (displays, webcams, microphones etc.), will help build on the strong foundation established during the pandemic.
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