Skype Room Systems, Microsoft’s multivendor conference room control solution, is getting a fresh coat of paint today. The Redmond company debuted Microsoft Teams Rooms, a rebranded release of Skype Room Systems with new features aimed at simplifying meetings.
Christian Schacht, senior product marketing manager at Microsoft, said in a blog post that customers have conducted more than 130 million minutes of meetings through Skype Room Systems, and that to date, Teams Rooms have been deployed in more than 2,400 Microsoft meeting rooms around the world.
“Two years ago, we introduced the next generation of Skype Room Systems, a center of room control with one-touch join, to add the best audio and video to your meetings,” he wrote. “We started with one hardware partner and now work with six leading device manufacturers, to deliver the best quality experiences for both Skype for Business and Microsoft Teams meetings. This rebranding signifies the continued delivery of features being built to enhance Teams meetings experiences. Our goal is to extend Teams meetings into every space from small huddle rooms to large conference rooms.”
Teams Rooms integrates with Microsoft Outlook and Microsoft Teams; handy buttons let team leaders invite colleagues to conference rooms with a single click. Moreover, it supports dual-display rooms and mobile devices, the latter of which can join rooms in a content-only mode that dispalys what’s being presented on-screen.
That’s not all that’s new in Teams Rooms. During meetings, it’s now possible to accept an invitation from the front of the room display console in the aforementioned content-only mode, allowing the room host to serve up audio and video while minimizing the potential for echo and feedback. And proximity-based meetings, a forthcoming feature, will tap compatible PC and phones’ proximity sensors to detect rooms and let participants add them to meetings.
Microsoft additionally said that it’s added native desk and conference room Teams Phones from Yealink — the T56A, T58A, and CP 960 — and said that Teams Rooms will continue to work with Skype for Business calls and meetings.
A focus on education
Today’s announcement follows hot on the heels of education-focused enhancements to Microsoft Teams. Teams now works with Grade Sync, a tool that automatically sends grades from Teams assignments to grading systems. Also, it now integrates with Turnitin, an anti-plagiarism service, and the updated Teams app on iOS and Android supports mobile grading.
Microsoft also unveiled the Classroom Pen stylus this week. It’s compatible with recent Surface devices and features a hardened tip, a lanyard loop, and two buttons for erasing and right-click functions. It’ll be sold exclusively to education institutions in packs of 20 for $799.80.
Also new: Windows Mixed Reality content for schools. Microsoft partnered with VictoryVR to provide schools with free virtual reality content when they purchase a compatible headset. And it’s brought Immersive Reader, an app that offers translation features that make it easier to read documents, to Windows Mixed Reality.