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Microsoft brings a new look to Teams Rooms on Windows

Microsoft gives Teams Rooms on Windows a visual refresh to align it better with Teams on Android.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer
Image: Getty Images

Microsoft is making changes to align the user interface of its Teams Rooms platform for conferencing across the Windows and Android ecosystems. 

The alignment with Android consoles for Teams Rooms and the Rooms on Windows PCs and displays is part of a visual refresh coming to Teams Rooms on Windows devices. The updates will be generally available by the end of Q1 and in Teams Rooms on Windows version 4.16, according to Microsoft

Microsoft is adding updated soft buttons on the Windows console for quick access to Meet, Call, Share (for HDMI content), Join via ID, and a More button for the overflow menu. 

The new overflow menu screen includes a feature to 'Invite this room', which enables the use of the room audio and video for a Teams meeting initiated on a companion devices. It also has buttons for accessibility, reporting a problem, restarting a device, and to access settings. 

Microsoft is enabling more control for end users of the front-of-room display during a meeting via an updated interface for the view switcher menu to move between Gallery, Together Mode, Front Row and so on. It also allows some customizations, such as whether to show content and people, or just people only. 

Users can also customize the Front Row view to include a visible meeting chat, and choosing which meeting component is displayed on the left and right panel.   

At this month's financial year 2023 Q2 earnings report, Microsoft gave its first update on monthly active users since January 2022 when it reported Teams had 270 million monthly active users. As of last quarter, Teams surpassed 280 million monthly active users, suggesting growth has slowed significantly since the pandemic, which pushed Teams from 44 million daily active users in March 2020 to 145 million daily active users in April 2021. 

Microsoft also reported there were more than 500,000 active Teams Rooms devices, up 70 percent year-over-year, reflecting the swing back to office for more workers.  

Microsoft in February will move its in-preview Teams Premium add-on to general availability. It costs $10 per user per month and offers advanced security and AI-powered recaps of meetings. Microsoft said it has seen "strong interest" in it during the preview. 

After it's generally available, customers with existing Microsoft 365 or Office 365 licenses can purchase Teams Premium as an add-on to their existing Microsoft 365 services. However, intelligent recap will begin rolling out in the first half of 2023. 

Microsoft has also launched Microsoft Teams Rooms Basic and Teams Rooms Pro as replacements for Teams Rooms Standard ($15 per device per month) and Teams Rooms Premium ($50 per device per month.)

Teams admins can assign up to 25 Microsoft Teams Rooms Basic licenses to Teams Rooms devices for free but with a few less features than in the Standard subscription. Any number of devices beyond 25 requires Teams Rooms Pro at $40 per month per device. 

Microsoft chief Satya Nadella said this month, after announcing a huge investment in ChatGPT-maker OpenAI, that it would "incorporate AI in every layer of the stack, whether it's in productivity, whether it's in our consumer services..." 

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