April 22

Microsoft Teams Devices

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Devices, Devices, oh, we have Devices

You might think that in migrating from your PBX to a voice-enabled Microsoft Teams you are giving up your beloved desktop device to doing everything on your laptop. That couldn’t be further from the truth.

Microsoft Teams was designed to map to all the different work experiences a user might encounter. Whether in-office meetings in a small meeting room, large boardroom, at your desk, on the road or working from home.

Let us take a look at some of these different experiences and the devices to match.

Office Desktop

The primary choice in the past would have been a telephone handset. Many of these had limited capabilities, most people used very few of the available features (because they didn’t know how to use them) and it meant moving between devices when doing say, a video call and telephone call.

You can still get handsets. These can be from a variety of third-party handset providers like Yealink, Poly and others. As long as they are Microsoft Certified. But most people, once they start working inside Microsoft Teams, will look to using a headset with their laptop.

Plus you will need a telephone handset for areas like the lobby and any common areas.

Headsets

Jabra Engage 75 Stereo docked
Jabra 75e Red light on

Call Quality: There are numerous headset suppliers out there. You can buy cheap ones in tech stores and online but with headsets the mantra ‘you get what you paid for’ is unquestionably true. As your laptop equipped with a headset is now going to be your primary voice communications device, the quality of the headset will impact the call quality. And most of the cheap ones are rubbish. Most major vendors sell UC for Unified Communication ‘approved’ headsets, which have been optimized for voice call quality.

Comfort factor: If you are going to spend more time wearing a headset, whether for quick video calls on Teams, voice calls or watching training videos you will soon realise that they had better be comfortable. Look for ones with soft padding on the earpiece.

Connectivity: Now you can get headsets that connect via Bluetooth or USB. Some will also offer an adaptor to connect to the headset jack on telephone headsets. Even non-Bluetooth laptops can support Bluetooth headsets as they usually come with a USB Bluetooth adaptor. The major difference will be the battery life of the Bluetooth headset and having to remember to charge them. On the other hand, they can connect to almost any device these days including your smartphone.

Noise Cancelling: Many offices have shared desks and are more open than in the past. The result: very noisy environments. So having a headset that either uses large over the ear pads or, better still, has active noise cancelling technology can be the answer.

Various: Then there are mono or stereo, single earpiece or dual earpiece and even higher quality earbud versions. These mostly depend on personal preference, although the high-quality earbud versions are perfect if you are on the road a lot.

Speaker Pucks

Jabra Home Desk One Speak Smaller

If I am working in an office, small meeting room or at home and don’t want to always be on a headset or need others to join the conversation, Speaker Pucks can be the answer. Small, lightweight, high-quality sound, often with the two-way capability and connected via USB or Bluetooth. Most come in some sort of pouch to ensure they can be transported around in your bag.

Huddle Room Systems

Poly Studio

This is one area of huge advancements in recent years. Incredibly high-quality video and audio in small footprints that can be used in small and medium-sized meeting rooms. Incredible artificial intelligence means that they can do things like track a whiteboard in the room and share the contents in a window on your screen and even allow remote co-editing. Focus and tracking on all participants with up to 180o  view. When this is added to the capabilities in Microsoft Teams, such as translation and captioning, recording the calls and more, it is stunning where we can take meetings moving forward.

Microsoft Teams Proximity Detection

The complexity of moving to a large meeting room, finding the meeting, joining the meeting, ensuring everyone is muted all add up to a frustrating meeting experience. Meetings start late, seem disorganized and lead to them not being taken seriously.

Microsoft introduced Proximity Beaconing which means that when a Team App on a nearby laptop or mobile device is detected the user is given an option of using the meeting room conference system to join the meeting and automatically muting the user. Several vendors like Poly, offer room systems that take advantage of this new capability.

If you are interested in learning more about what devices are available for your Microsoft Teams environemnt, give us a call.


About the author

With experience leading engineering, product management, services, sales and marketing teams, Paul has a wealth of business knowledge that he applies in showing customer how to get the most out of their unified communications and contact centre solutions.


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