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Microsoft Chips Away at Hybrid Divide

Microsoft last week announced Teams Rooms and Teams updates aimed at bridging the gap between in-office and remote meeting attendees.
For use in Teams meeting rooms, Microsoft revealed a new category of devices called intelligent cameras. Intelligent cameras will provide several AI-based meeting capabilities:
  1. AI-powered active speaker tracking — Using Microsoft’s AI facial recognition technology, cameras will be able to detect facial movements and gestures to determine who is speaking at the moment.
  2. People recognition — Microsoft’s AI facial recognition technology will surface the profile information of in-room meeting participants in individual video panes within a Teams meeting. Admins will be able to adjust recognition settings in the Teams Admin Center, and users will be required to opt-in through a one-time enrollment process, Microsoft said.
  3. Multiple video streams — Intelligent cameras can display multiple video streams from a single camera, a feature that Microsoft unveiled in June. Additionally, the device can use separate video streams to create a panoramic view, Microsoft said.
These features will be available to Teams Rooms partners, including Jabra, Neat, Poly, and Yealink, for support on their devices next year.
In addition, Microsoft said an update planned for availability in the next few months will allow in-room participants to participate in chat, share live reactions, cast content into a meeting, and collaborate on the Teams whiteboard using companion mode on their mobile devices. This update will also enable Teams users to control meeting room settings from their personal devices.
Also on tap are enhancements for Dynamic View, the auto-resizing feature Microsoft introduced earlier this year to enable a better balance of shared content and meeting participant faces during Teams meetings. Dynamic View updates planned for the first quarter of 2022 will prioritize video coming from a Teams Room.
Additionally, a hot-desking feature will come to Teams by way of device partner Lenovo. With their Microsoft 365 credentials, users will be able to log into their Teams account to locate and reserve a temporary workspace. The hot-desking feature will release by end of the year and be available on the Lenovo ThinkSmart View, an all-in-one collaboration device.
Separately, Microsoft shared several partner integrations for the Teams share-to-stage feature introduced earlier this year. Share-to-stage allows a meeting participant to share content from a Teams’ meeting app not only for viewing by others but also interaction with it. With these latest integrations, meeting participants will be able to share digital whiteboarding apps from Mural, Miro, Lucidspark, and Freehand to a meeting and collaborate with other participants within Teams, Microsoft said.

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