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Microsoft Teams Rooms Innovations with Albert Kooiman at Enterprise Connect

Microsoft Teams Rooms Innovations with Albert Kooiman at Enterprise Connect

On this episode of The Six Five – In the Booth from Enterprise Connect, The Futurum Group’s Craig Durr talks with Albert Kooiman, Senior Director at Microsoft, about the latest advancements in Microsoft Teams Rooms, highlighting the integration of AI to enhance meeting experiences and improve collaboration.

Their discussion covers:

  • The role of AI in transforming meeting room experiences, enabling features like speaker identification and content processing
  • The lifecycle of meetings, from preparation to post-meeting analysis, all enhanced by AI-driven suggestions and insights
  • Governance and privacy considerations in AI deployment, especially concerning voice recognition and data access
  • The evolution of BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) meeting rooms, leveraging Teams client to differentiate user experiences and provide valuable data for IT and business decision-making

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Transcript:

Craig Durr: Everyone, this is Craig Durr, practice lead from The Futurum Group, and we are here live at Enterprise Connect. Now, this is one of the premiere events for communications and contact center solutions and technologies. I’m very excited to introduce to you Albert Kooiman, senior director from Microsoft. We’re going to talk a little bit about some of the keynote announcements that they made here today at this event. Albert, how are you doing?

Albert Kooiman: Doing very well. Glad to be here.

Craig Durr: Thank you so much for being here, I appreciate it. Now, there was a lot that went on on stage, Nicole went over a lot of things. But I want to really get into something that I’m very passionate about, and that’s the shared spaces. When we talk about creating these collaboration environments or communication environments, Microsoft Team Rooms comes to mind for a lot of people right now. Let’s talk about what was announced around Microsoft Teams Rooms here. There was a lot of specific features, but I think it rolls up to a bigger story that you’ll want to share.

Albert Kooiman: Well, our big story at this point in time is AI.

Craig Durr: Yeah.

Albert Kooiman: Right. The meeting room is one of those central places in which you actually get all this content that the AI can work with. One of the key things that we announced is, apart from being able to just record the meeting, even if you’re in a meeting room where typically it was, “The meeting room said this,” or, “The meeting room said that,” we’re now able to identify, if people choose to enroll because this is still a voluntary action that they need to do, we are able to identify who was speaking. We do the speaker identification. We do that on the basis of their voice enrollment that we have in the Teams client. At that moment in time that you no longer have this, “Meeting room says,” but, “Albert says, Craig says,” you are actually able to process the data later on.

Craig Durr: Right.

Albert Kooiman: You can actually, in the AI, in Teams client, you can ask, “Hey, what was this meeting about? Was there anything discussed about me? How did Albert feel about this meeting?”

Craig Durr: Right.

Albert Kooiman: And it says, “Well, I do not know what Albert felt because there a few things that he said that were very positive, but then there was this long this list of …” I’m not, of course.

Craig Durr: But the attribution is very important, so not only is it working with your camera feature in tele frame, where visibly I can see this is Albert speaking, but now you’re talking about going to the transcript function, and then that post meeting function as well too, right?

Albert Kooiman: Correct, because meeting in our thinking is not a point in time, it is a life cycle. You start preparing the content, and there we showed some features. Nicole spoke about, “Hey, let’s prepare the agenda.” Because we have all this content already, we know roughly what are the topics, if you have this constellation of people that you want to talk about. It will do suggestions. Of course, the AI, you can steer it in the right way. You have heard about AI prompt editing, and so on. So we can say … Nicole showed let’s not overdo it, but let’s do it a little bit longer.

Those type of things are all possible, that’s the pre-meeting. Then you have the actual meeting, where I spoke about being able to identify who said what and being able to transcribe it. Being able, also, in the summaries of the meeting … I have three meetings I can choose from at any point in time in the meeting. Not that I try to pretend that I’m very important, but there’s a lot of meetings that I miss. Now I can go in, into the recording, and I can quickly click when did my boss say something, and I just click on that name and then it jumps straight to that piece of audio.

Craig Durr: Right.

Albert Kooiman: Or I can very quickly jump to the transcript. Then after the meeting, you have all this analysis that you can do. “Hey, what were the action items for me, the sentiment that I spoke about?” All of those things are powered by AI. When you asked just a moment ago, “Hey, what was the essence of you announcing here?” It is about how AI is coming to meetings, to the meeting room, and those type of things.

Craig Durr: I love what you’re talking about here. You’re building this off of the end user experience and what they can get from these AI tools. But there’s even larger value. For example, we were talking a little bit about governance. Tell me more about that.

Albert Kooiman: Yeah. When you do AI, it is very important to who has access to things, who actually is essentially opting in and whose opting out. Maybe in the United States, it’s not that important, but over time I think it will get important here as well. But in Europe, it’s a very big thing.

Craig Durr: Sure.

Albert Kooiman: There is just a new law that has been adopted as well, where there is very strict rules around that. To then have a partner like Microsoft that offers not only the tech, but also offers the platform, the platform to administer that. To also be able to be self-empowered of this, you’re allowed to see, this is what you’re not allowed to see.

Craig Durr: Right.

Albert Kooiman: Or you’re allowed to use my voice, or you’re not allowed to use my voice. Later on, when we are talking about presence, I will let you know where I am, but I can only let it know to those people. Your circle of trust of your direct team.

Craig Durr: Right.

Albert Kooiman: All those things are part of a platform, and that is the platform that we have been building and will continue to build out. That is super, super important.

Craig Durr: It is. It takes that end user experience and it brings it into an IT and even business value, while still protecting and respecting that individual.

Albert Kooiman: Yes.

Craig Durr: I think that’s really powerful. It’s a powerful story there as well, too. Let’s go ahead now and go to another area that’s really exciting for me right now. You have been doing more and more work around those BYOD room situations. This has been a challenge in the past. You and I have always talked about this in the past. Walk me through your thought process right now, what Microsoft is doing to solve some of these challenges in these BYOD rooms.

Albert Kooiman: Yeah. There are two things that come to my mind. The first thing is although we are incredibly successful with the Microsoft Teams Rooms, and we will continue to invest in that big time, there are still so many other rooms out there. Key thing though is that many people do not even know how many rooms there are. All those rooms are actually without AV maybe, or they have a suboptimal AV experience. Coming back just like what we discussed about AI, also in the BYOD experience, you need to put the end user first.

Craig Durr: Right.

Albert Kooiman: If you are in a meeting room and you’re bringing in your laptop, your laptop should not be on the big screen. You should have your meeting on the big screen.

Craig Durr: Right.

Albert Kooiman: This technology that we developed using the Teams client to actually understand, “I’m in a room where many people come, this is a meeting room. This is actually a large screen device that I’m plugging in,” actually can lead to a more differentiated experience of the Teams client at that point in time. The thing that we are showing on the show floor here is that when you plug in your cable of the BYOD room, and by the way, it’s assuming that you have one single cable, or maybe you have multiple cables, but let’s make that easy. You plug in that one cable. At that very moment, Teams knows, “Ah, this is a room that I’ve seen many times before.” This is not your desktop, but it’s in the back end. I will come back that in a moment. Then at that very moment, you can split out the Teams client. Everything that people remote should be seeing, you see on the front of room. Everything that you want to keep private, like all the IMs that are going on and so on, they will stay on your laptop. That is what we call the BYOD experience.

Craig Durr: Right. It’s worlds apart from what we used to do, where things were being shared, you had privacy concerns, you had all kind of concerns.

Albert Kooiman: Yeah. Finding this Windows Peek key, or whatever it is in a Mac.

Craig Durr: Right.

Albert Kooiman: So many people are struggling, and then they are sharing all those awkward things that they are not supposed to share.

Craig Durr: Right.

Albert Kooiman: Now we take that all and help them.

Craig Durr: Frankly, people wind up actually using their laptops for multipurpose during a meeting as well, taking notes.

Albert Kooiman: Especially if you’re in Microsoft.

Craig Durr: Doing some other things as well, too.

Albert Kooiman: We are parallel processing, or whatever.

Craig Durr: Exactly. To still not to inhibit your workflow while you’re still in a meeting is an important element. Now you were hinting at this, though. It also has changed some value and benefit towards IT.

Albert Kooiman: Yes.

Craig Durr: In some data that IT is able to get back as well.

Albert Kooiman: Exactly. Because, well we have over, I do not know what the latest count is that we announced, but we have over 300 million people that have Teams installed and are using it on a regular basis. That means there are 300 million plus gateways to a backend, so gateways to a Pro Portal as we call it, the administration center that we are using. When you plug in that cable, we send through the Teams client, that signal to the back end. There we start inventorying all those spaces that are having use from multiple people. I think the count is currently at five. When more than five people start plugging in cables, we think, “Hey, this is a shared space.” At that very moment, we make it visible. We make it visible not only as, let’s say okay hey, there’s this screen, and there’s this speaker puck and this camera in that room, but we also allow it to pair it, either after the fact or up front, by using the serial numbers and the identifiers that we have of those shared devices in that shared meeting room.

Craig Durr: Yeah.

Albert Kooiman: With for example, a calendar in Exchange, a resource account. All of a sudden now, you have insights. You have insights not only about the space, not only about the devices that are in there, but also of what you’re actually doing when you’re using Microsoft 365, the services that we have.

Craig Durr: Yeah.

Albert Kooiman: That cross section of those three things is pretty unique. At Microsoft, we can offer that. That helps the people, especially not only the IT professionals, but also the decision makers, to right size their investments. Because if you have a room that many people are using, BYOD and all the improvements, nice. But MTR, nicer.

Craig Durr: Yeah, right.

Albert Kooiman: This is a room that is used a lot for online meetings, why don’t I put an MTR in there?

Craig Durr: Right, and now you’re able to bridge that gap with data that supports the usage models, how many people are using it, how often as well.

Albert Kooiman: Exactly.

Craig Durr: That is great value. Well, Albert, this has been great. I love hearing about how you are taking the group shared experience and taking it to a new level. These new MTR solutions, incorporating AI into this as well, and also helping to drive visibility and a better user experience around those BYOD use cases. This is really great information. Thank you so much for sharing, I appreciate it.

Albert Kooiman: You’re most welcome.

Craig Durr: Everyone, this is Craig from The Futurum Group, we’re here live at Enterprise Connect. Thank you so much for viewing. We look forward to bringing you some more information. Take care.

Author Information

As Practice Lead - Workplace Collaboration, Craig focuses on developing research, publications and insights that clarify how the workforce, the workplace, and the workflows enable group collaboration and communication. He provides research and analysis related to market sizing and forecasts, product and service evaluations, market trends, and end-user and buyer expectations. In addition to following the technology, Craig also studies the human elements of work - organizing his findings into the workforce, the workplace, and the workflows – and charting how these variables influence technologies and business strategies.

Prior to joining Wainhouse, now a part of The Futurum Group, Craig brings twenty years of experience in leadership roles related to P&L management, product development, strategic planning, and business development of security, SaaS, and unified communication offerings. Craig's experience includes positions at Poly, Dell, Microsoft, and IBM.

Craig holds a Master of Business Administration from the Texas McCombs School of Business as well as a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Tulane University.

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