Microsoft reveals a slew of Teams hardware from OEMs

Video conferencing became hugely important in 2020 and Microsoft believes that its importance will continue into the future.

This is because according to Microsoft’s Work Trend Index, 71 percent of managers and employees want the flexibility to work from home post-pandemic. We believe that this desire is being felt and voiced across the working world and working from home is clearly something businesses will have to address.

But today we want talk about our favourite thing – hardware.

If more people are going to be working from home than we’re going to need to get serious about the hardware we use. Webcams with resolutions for 1859 aren’t going to cut the mustard anymore and Microsoft is aware of that.

That’s why in a blog post this week Microsoft revealed some new hardware specifically for Teams though, you could use the hardware on Zoom, we won’t tell.

First up we have two Microsoft Teams Intelligent Speakers.

“These speakers were created in partnership with EPOS and Yealink, and allow attendees to use the transcription to follow along or capture actions, by knowing who in the room said what. Whether you are working remotely or following the meeting in the conference room, you can effectively see who said what during the meeting. To enable privacy and security, users are in full control and can turn attribution on or off at any time,” corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, Jared Spataro wrote.

The speakers can identify up to 10 voices but that’s about all we know right now.

Next up we have monitors which are certified for Teams. What does that mean? These monitors will house integrated microphones, speakers, cameras and lights.

There are two monitors, one from Dell and the other from Poly, specifically the Poly 21.

Buying a new monitor may be a bit too dear for some so Microsoft also revealed that Poly has a video bar.

“The new P15 video bar from Poly is an easy-to-mount peripheral that transforms an existing monitor into a high-quality Teams endpoint,” said Spataro.

If you want to go really barebones, the Aver’s Cam 130 might be a better fit. This webcam integrates lights as well so you should look a bit better in video calls.

Finally, while this announcement isn’t hardware related, it is important. End to end encryption is coming to Microsoft Teams but only for one-on-one calls.

“To further address our customers’ security and compliance requirements, Teams will support end-to-end encryption (E2EE) for one-to-one Microsoft Teams calls, providing an additional option for conducting sensitive online conversations. IT will have full discretion over who can use E2EE in the organization. E2EE for Microsoft Teams one-to-one ad hoc VoIP calls will be available to commercial customers in preview in the first half of this calendar,” explained the corporate VP.

We’re very curious to see whether video conferencing hardware such as the above takes off. If firms like Dell, Poly and Aver are creating these solutions though, there is clearly a demand.

With that having been said, please Apple and Samsung, we don’t need a video conferencing smartphone so don’t get any ideas.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]


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