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Ignite 2020: Microsoft Teams gets Rooms Premium, DataFlex, new frontline worker features


Microsoft, which has seen the use of its Teams software rise amid the COVID-19 outbreak, has added new ways to manage Teams Rooms video conferencing devices, a move it says will help businesses connect office-based staffers with colleagues working remotely because of the pandemic.

“The workplace of the future will accommodate hybrid scenarios in which some people may work from the office while others may work remotely or some fluid combination of the two,” Jared Spataro, corporate vice president for Microsoft 365, said in a blog post on Wednesday. As a result, conference rooms will “serve as hubs for hybrid work in which everyone feels engaged.”

Among the updates at this week’s Microsoft Inspire event are new ways to manage Teams Rooms devices in the Teams Admin Center. Admins can now set up, view and manage devices and peripherals such as cameras, displays, IP phones and microphones from a single screen, as well as monitor call quality and other meeting activity. Microsoft said the move should reduce some of the burden of administrating fleets of devices across an organization.

Teams Rooms Standard costs $15 per device per month.

Alternatively, device management can be outsourced with Teams Rooms Premium, a 24/7 management and monitoring service available via Microsoft and its partners. Teams Room Premium costs $50 per device per month.

“The newly announced management capabilities for Teams Rooms highlight capabilities that enable flexibility and better support for remote workers,” said Raul Castanon, senior analyst at 451 Research / S&P Global Market Intelligence. “This is a trend that is here to stay.”

Following the pandemic-led increase in remote working, two-thirds of organizations (67%) expect expanded work-from-home policies will remain in place long-term or permanently, according to 451 Research’s Voice of the Enterprise: Digital Pulse, Coronavirus Flash Survey June 2020 report, a significant jump from the 38% that expected that in March.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.



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