A central feature of Microsoft Teams is its support for vibrant video and audio conferencing. Microsoft report that 91 of the Fortune 100 companies are using Teams – and the fantastic news is these same enterprise features used by the Fortune 100, are available to small business owners and SME organisations. In this blog post, we explore some of Team’s video features and provide two examples of inexpensive video conferencing solutions for business – that can rival (and even outperform) much more expensive enterprise systems.
What is Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Teams is a unified communication and collaboration platform included with Microsoft Office 365. Teams enable staff members and groups to communicate, chat, share, conference and hold video meetings through a consistent interface available on the desktop, web and mobile/tablet.
Microsoft Teams Video Conferencing Features
Teams does a lot more than just video conferencing, supporting a wide range of features:
- Video calling
- One-to-One and Multi-Party video conferences.
- Video call scheduling and invites from Outlook and other Office applications.
- Support for external users.
- Record video calls and conferences.
- Share and control screen (or specific application windows)
- Background blur – hiding your surroundings, replacing the background with an image or scene.
- Whiteboard masking(!) – almost magic, letting you see through someone drawing on the whiteboard.
- Live captions – enabling deaf or hard-of-hearing to read speaker captions in real-time.
- Live events (planned) allows you to broadcast Teams or events to up to 10,000 people!
Teams can also run on any standard desktop, laptop, mobile or tablet. If you prefer, a range of dedicated devices (Teams Rooms) is available from vendors such as Yealink and Logitech. More information on the exciting additions to Teams is available here.
Microsoft Teams Solutions – Boardroom or Meeting Room
We take a look at some different options to get started with Microsoft Teams video conferencing. In each case, having an active subscription to Office 365 is a requirement, also ensuring that your Office 365 subscription level includes support for Microsoft Teams (speak to MTG if you are keen to learn more about Office 365). All the costs below are estimates and are ex-VAT.
Teams Solution – Option 1 (Budget)
The simplest method to get up and running with Microsoft Teams is to install a PC in your boardroom with speakers and a decent quality webcam. This will provide a consistent video experience for minimal cost. With this method, a staff member will have to log in to the PC using their user, open Teams and launch a video conference.
- PC: £500 (i.e. Fujitsu Esprimo SFF)
- Webcam: £70 (i.e. Microsoft Lifecam)
- Large display: £400 (i.e. 43″ LED Display)
- Total Cost: £970
(Note – the costs can be less as chances are many businesses will have a spare capable PC and even a display)
Teams Solution – Option 2 (Mid-range)
Option 2 is similar to the previous example, but in this case, we increase the size of the display and substitute the webcam and speakers for a Conference Cam. The advantage of using a Conference Cam is the built-in, noise-cancelling microphone and powerful speaker system. The Logitech BCC950 can pick up audio from participants 8ft away – so is ideal for small meeting rooms or board rooms.
- PC: £600 (i.e. Fujitsu Esprimo micro-form factor)
- Conference Cam: £170 (i.e. Microsoft Lifecam)
- Large display: £600 (i.e. 50″ LED Display)
- Total Cost: £1,370
Teams Solution – Option 3 (Dedicated Solution)
Microsoft Teams supports a feature called Teams Rooms. Unlike the previous examples (where a staff member initiates a conference), with Teams Rooms – there is a dedicated ‘Room’ that is used to host meetings. Teams rooms have a range of dedicated hardware designed to convert a basic meeting space into a rich, collaborative video conferencing suite. Logitech, Yealink, HP and others all create solutions for Teams rooms.
- Logitech Teams Bundle: £2750 includes tablet, conference camera/speaker and min PC
- Large display: £600 (i.e. 50″ LED Display)
- Total Cost: £3,350
Speak to MTG about Microsoft Teams
We have moved thousands of users from traditional on-premise or small-provider cloud platforms to Office 365. Our customers and clients all over the world see instant benefits from the use of Microsoft Teams within their organisations. Not only does it boost collaboration, but it makes the business more agile and professional. As Teams is part of Office 365, organisations retain control and compliance over messaging and chat (you can learn more here)
Call our solutions team on +44 1624 777837, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or click the Request a Quote button to find out more.