In July Microsoft announced a new Microsoft Teams Device class – Teams Display. It took some time, but by mid of July I had the chance to buy one of these new devices and I would like to share my knowledge and experience with you in this blog entry.
Teams Display – the idea
Currently there are two vendors with certified devices, Lenovo and Yealink.
The idea behind this device is to have a simple and easy to use meeting device for remote workers in the home office or small offices. No need to wear a head set the full day or to unflapping the notebook for a working webcam. Microsoft presented theses new devices already on partner events in January this year. The devices are small touch display with a built-in speaker, microphone, and a WLAN interface.
And for sure it comes along with a Microsoft Teams app, which offers access to your Teams data including calendar entries for upcoming events, the address book, and the calling app.
To get started, you can use the delivered power supply and plug it into the display. There is no LAN port at the device, so no chance (and no need) for PoE. It comes up with a short setup wizard and asks directly for your Office 365 login credentials. If your account is enabled for Multi-Factor-Authentication, use your Authenticator app to approve the requested sign in.
After the obligatory Company Portal registration, you must set a device PIN and the device is ready to use.
First time use
For the first time use, no surprises. The app looks familiar to the Teams App and reacts fast to the touch input. You can switch quite easy between the different apps (Calling, Calendar and Voicemail) and even the Dark Mode is available if you like.
Apps and functions
The Calling App allows you to initiate a call (Teams to Teams or Teams to PSTN) from your favorite’s contacts, list your recent calls and initiate new ones. Also ‘call pickup’ is implemented and can be used to pick up a parked call.
In the Meeting section you have access to your Exchange Online calendar and have an overview about your today’s meeting. If there are any Teams Online Meetings scheduled, you can quickly join by one click.
The Voicemail App offers you an easy access to your Azure hosted voicemail and allows you to listen to your messages or call someone directly back. Also, you have a teaser preview of the left message available, as you know it already from Outlook or Teams.
From admin view the Teams Display device is showing up in the Teams Admin Centre as IP Phone. In a future release of the Teams Admin Centre will be a special device section “Teams display” visible. For the display itself you get some detail information about it like current software release, IP address and the registered user. You can initiate a firmware update, a restart and can collect log files from the device. Also, you can get some insights about activity and call metrics.
My first feedback to this new device category:
It is a nice device and it is quite easy to use. I love the mandatory WLAN connection, so it is useable at any desk, in the office, in the kitchen or the roof top. It doesn’t matter. Power and WLAN connectivity are sufficient to start and to be connected.
Thanks to the big display you can even follow desktop sharing sessions or PowerPoint presentation on this device.
Unfortunately, it is not visible for the remote site, that you joined with a Teams Display. This follows to the situation, where are asked to share your screen which isn’t possible. So, sometimes it is necessary to be joined twice in a Meeting. At the end it depends on your role in the Meeting, I guess.
Normally it should be possible to connect the Teams Display with your computer over Bluetooth. This connection can be used to lock your display immediately when you lock your PC. I’ve seen this option in some marketing slides but obviously this feature is still missing on mine. The display is linked and connected with my PC, but no auto-lock when I lock my machine.
Also, what I recognized: when the device becomes idle, after some minutes the screen is locked. When the screen is locked and you receive an incoming call and answers this call on another Teams device, the incoming call screen stays on the display alive. I guess, it depends on the first release and will be fixed in one of the upcoming software versions.