Microsoft Teams allows users to create shared channels for communication and collaboration outside the organization.
This broadens the reach of the workplace center as people all over the world enter their second year of working from home and begin to consider a limited return to the office.
The new smart speaker devices use voice recognition technology to monitor up to 10 different people in a single meeting room, correctly identifying and transcribing their conversations so that meeting participants who are not in the room can follow them.
These speakers are designed for use in a Microsoft Teams Room setup in a physical office.
The company says: The speakers will be available in private preview later this year.
No pricing has been announced, and the company’s speakers showcased in a photo appear to be an older generation of the Amazon Echo Dot.
The smart speaker devices include a 7-array microphone that uses artificial intelligence to identify and distinguish different voices, while matching certain voices to people’s accounts in Microsoft Teams.
Users can customize the level of privacy and security as well, and turn off the ability to copy or match text copies of specific people if needed.
Previews of the new smart speakers and associated functions will begin later this year.
Microsoft teamed up with Yealink and Epos to create the devices, and they also support translation if you want to follow a meeting in a different language.
Microsoft demonstrated for the first time a concept for this nuanced scenario at the Build 2018 conference.
Although these devices were originally designed for the pre-pandemic period, they can help bridge the gap in working remotely and trying to participate in and follow-up in-person meetings.
The software giant hasn’t announced the exact price or availability yet, but the company’s Surface Hub has also been certified as a device capable of being a smart speaker.
It is reported that Microsoft offered a few years ago a prototype of the devices, and promised conference rooms in the future with automatic identification via headphones, transcription and even translation.