Microsoft wants to manage your meeting rooms

Microsoft is continuing to forge ahead with its mission of making meetings better with a new white-glove meeting-room management service, as well as more new features in its Teams collaboration platform.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor
Credit: Microsoft

Microsoft has been working for years on trying to improve meetings. This week, the company is introducing a new, white-glove managed meeting-room service which will involve Microsoft acting as the manager of its large customers' meeting rooms. The service is akin to what Microsoft is doing around Microsoft Managed Desktop, its end-to-end Windows 10 PC management service.

The new Microsoft Managed Meeting Rooms (MMR) service from Microsoft is "meeting rooms as a service." It is meant to ensure that Teams meeting rooms are secured, up-to-date and proactively monitored. Microsoft will manage the central Windows PC-based conferencing systems and/or Android phones running the meeting; microphones; TVs and cameras. Customers will be able to see a central dashboard with information about all the software and devices Microsoft is managing.

Microsoft is providing this new managed service because few of its corporate customers have a dedicated capability for managing their meeting rooms, said Brad Anderson, Microsoft 365 Corporate Vice President. The company's goal is to eliminate the many potential stumbling blocks that occur in the meeting set-up process, he said.

Microsoft has been working with more than 100 customers managing more than 1,500 meeting rooms as part of a closed preview, Anderson said. The private preview is opening up to new customers as of this week. Anderson said the MMR service should be commercially available in the first half of 2020.

The complement to MMR is Microsoft's Managed Desktop Service, which is a subscription offering under which Microsoft sets up, updates and manages business users' Windows 10 PCs for a fee.  

On the Teams collaboration service front, Microsoft announced a bunch of new feature editions to its Teams platform at Ignite this week. Microsoft made private channels commercially available in Teams this week. Multi-window support is now part of the platform. Teams users can now manage their conversations, tasks and files from other Microsoft 365 apps from inside teams. In addition, Microsoft is making new planning and administration tools for managing Teams available to IT pros. It also is integrating Teams and Power Platform workflows. 

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