Microsoft Teams Rooms is the “proper” way to kit out your meeting room with a Teams capable AV system.
Teams Rooms systems include high fidelity cameras, microphones, touch control panels and a special little computer – just bring your own screen.
They are available from a wide range of manufacturers – Polycom, Logitech, Cisco and so on (for what it’s worth – we recommend Yealink’s gear which you can see here https://www.yealink.com/en/solution-detail/teams-room)
Personally, I think it’s one of the best investments you can make as a small business who uses Teams regularly in a meeting room setting; it’s not hugely expensive and will make a massive difference to your meeting experience and a much more professional interaction with your clients and partners.
To put it more bluntly – if you’re trying to “scrimp” something together with a normal webcam – stop, and do it properly!
But sometimes you just need a phone?
Despite the proliferation of Teams meetings, sometimes we still just need a good old fashioned phone – we all remember the good old trusty conference phones and we sometimes see them still clinging to life in a modern Teams equipped room
But did you know you can (quite) easily use your Teams Rooms device as a simple (conference) phone also?
The Mysterious Teams Dial Pad
The secret to using your Teams Room System to make standard phone calls is the somewhat mysterious Teams Dial Pad. If you press the “Call” button from the home screen, by default you will be able to make calls to other Teams users but you won’t be able to dial out by phone – the Dial Pad will be missing
To enable the Dial Pad on your Teams Room you will need
- A Teams Room License (obviously – it won’t work otherwise. Teams Rooms Basic or Pro are fine)
- A Teams Phone system license (previously/AKA Microsoft 365 Voice or Business Voice) license. This is included in the Teams Room Pro but not Teams Room Basic
- A Teams Calling Plan – this isn’t included in either by default, so you’ll have to add one. It may be included in your Teams Phone license, depending on what you choose.
- Semi-optionally, but still important, a Communications Credits or Post Pay arrangement to pick up the cost of calls that mightn’t be included in your Calling Plan
Specifically and to achieve this at the lowest cost – assuming you don’t make a huge amount of calls from your meeting room and don’t really need bundled (calling plan) minutes –
- Teams Rooms Basic. This will give you all the basic Teams Room functionality. You’re going to need this, whatever you do
- Phone System – Pick the “Teams Phone Standard” license, which doesn’t include a Calling Plan, so is about half the price of the one that does. If you’re going to make a lot of local/national calls – then maybe the one with Calling Plan makes more sense for you
- Calling Plan – If you’re not buying the Teams Phone system with Calling Plan, add the Pay-As-You-Go Calling Plan appropriate for your region. It’s only about £1/month but doesn’t include any calls
- Payment Method – whatever you do for a Calling Plan, it’s likely you’ll at some point want or need to make calls outside of any inclusive minutes (international, special rate etc), so you’ll need a way to pay for them or you won’t be able to place the calls. There are two ways to do this – either setup Communications Credits in the Microsoft Portal, or work with your CSP Provider (such as Vital) who can now offer you post-pay calling capability billed through an Azure Plan
Once you’ve added all the licences… be patient. It can take a little while for all the functionality to be provisioned in the background of Teams.
Assign a Phone Number to your meeting room account (Teams Admin -> Voice) and away you go!
If you need help with anything related to Teams, Calling Plans or getting a banging Teams Rooms meeting room setup – drop us a line!
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