Microsoft has been trying to improve the experience of meetings, both remote and in-person, for the past few years. Today, July 21, at its Inspire conference, officials are taking the wraps off two rebranded meeting-room-management services: Teams Rooms Standard and Teams Rooms Premium.
Teams Rooms Standard (which Microsoft formerly called Meeting Room) is a service that costs $15 per device per month. Today, Microsoft is announcing new features for Teams Rooms Standard designed to make the service easier to deploy and manage across a fleet of devices. Microsoft is adding new features for device set-up: Bulk management and tasks and health monitoring. The Teams Room devices -- including collaboration bars, IP phones, the coming Teams displays and more -- can now be managed directly in the Teams Admin Center.
Microsoft also is making generally available as of today the service it introduced last fall at Ignite called Microsoft Managed Meeting Rooms. Now rebranded as Teams Rooms Premium, this service, which costs $50 per device per month, enables Microsoft to manage and monitor Microsoft Teams Rooms on behalf of customers. Teams Rooms Premium offers proactive and real-time management by Microsoft tech experts for handling meeting room operations remotely. Microsoft provides 24X7 management and monitoring of meeting-room systems and software and can provide the help needed on-site and remotely, with customer permission.
As of last fall, Microsoft was working with more than 100 customers managing more than 1,500 meeting rooms as part of a closed Managed Meeting Rooms preview, officials said.
Microsoft officials said they "look forward to expanding with additional premium experiences in the future," but didn't specify what kinds of new premium features might be coming.
Microsoft also announced some incremental new Microsoft 365 and Teams features at Inspire today. Among them:
- The Microsoft Lists app is rolling out to Microsoft 365 users in late July and will be available in Teams by mid-August. Microsoft's Lists mobile app for iOS is coming later this year. Microsoft Lists allows users to create, share, and track data and information (like issue tracking and status reporting).
- A new Power BI personal app in Teams that will act as a hub for data visualizations and insights is now available.
- Power Apps developers will be able to make, manage, and use their apps and Power Virtual Agents chatbots directly in Teams via a new native app. This will be available in public preview in August
- Universal Print, Microsoft's cloud-printing service, is now in public preview. (Universal Print was in private preview as of March 2020.) Universal Print eliminates the need to install printer drivers because it will be built into Windows 10 and integrated with Microsoft Endpoint Manager (Intune).
- The Walkie-talkie feature announced earlier this year for first-line worker customers of Teams is now in public preview.