How it works

The Meeting Room Attendant is currently in Beta, but expected to be near release format for simple Office 365 and Microsoft Teams integrations.

Currently, this is packaged as a Chrome extension, and requires a Meeting Room display to be configured (to pull calendar data). We may decide in the future to move from a Chrome extension to a standalone Electron application, to handle automatic booting and multiple-display selection.

After the extension is installed, you sign in to Teams in the browser your room PC, using your Resource Mailbox credentials, setting up your audio and video devices. Then, there's a couple of steps to configure the extension.

Then, you have an automated attendant that launches the correct teams meeting according to your calendar schedule (on the TV), and shows some basic controls on the tablet.

The biggest blocker today, is that Skype for Business meetings are still the default in most clients, and won't function with an online solution such as this. We expect this to change in very soon.

Teams Licensing

This is still being finalized, but based on current information from Microsoft, it is likely that an Office 365 F1 SKU (minimum) will need to be assigned to your Resource Mailbox ($4/mo).

Minimum Hardware

We do not plan to limit this to any specific hardware (such as surface devices). Since this software functions with or without a touchscreen component, you may be able to use your existing hardware (any Room PC with relatively modern specs would be sufficient), which includes wireless HDMI (for local presentations), and the automated attendant for starting and stopping VTC calls for remote and local participants.

We've successfully tested the full solution on the Surface 3 (with relatively low specs by today's standards). However, it did hit some VTC performance issues when running Teams Meetings and Wireless HDMI (Chromecast & Miracast) simultaneously. This was resolved using direct DisplayPort / HDMI connections for the external (television) display.

The bottleneck in our tests appeared to be driving two large (greater or equal to 1080p) displays using the integrated video graphics chipset. You can see the "minimum" specs we're currently targeting here: https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4037664/surface-surface-3-specifications.

## Connectivity

We aim to support a variety of connectivity options, including Wireless HDMI (various vendors and protocols), and direct connections to a supported device (usually a television or a commercial digital signage display).

We've tested two TV connectivity options: Chromecast / Miracast (for wireless connectivity), and a direct connection (Surface Docking Station -> Display Port or HDMI -> TV).

Current Limitations

Currently, only Office 365 calendar data is supported. Additionally, the use of service accounts and direct sign in are not yet supported.

Currently, we are primarily focused on the testing of Microsoft Teams Meetings as a VTC provider, but also support other providers (including Google Meet, Hangouts, Webex, Bluejeans, Zoom, Daily.co, and Appear.in).

Downloading the Chrome Extension

The latest version of the chrome extension can be accessed via our direct app download page: https://www.meetingroom365.com/apps/.

Installing the Chrome Extension

To set up the Chrome extension, you will need to unzip the download to your local machine, and install it as a developer extension.

Download the extension and unzip it to your local machine
Visit chrome://extensions on your device
Enable "Developer Mode" extensions (toggle switch in top right corner)
Click "Load Unpacked" extension (top left corner)
Select your directory corresponding to the extension

Configuring Microsoft Teams

Next, you'll want to configure Microsoft Teams for VTC calls in your browser.

Navigate to https://teams.microsoft.com on your device
Sign in with your licensed Resource Mailbox credentials (Stay signed in)
Enable password storage in Chrome and save your password (to avoid future sign-in requests)
Optional: Sign in to the Office 365 account from Windows 10 Settings to avoid future sign-in requests.
Configure your audio / video sources, and perform a test call from Microsoft Teams (using the web browser)

Setting Up the Chrome Extension

Next, you'll want to set up the Chrome extension to connect to your calendar data feed, using a Meeting Room 365 display key.

With the extension installed, open a new tab in Chrome, and right click. You will see options for the Meeting Room 365 Automated Attendant.
Select "Set Meeting Calendar Key" and enter your display key (no spaces or capitalization).
Open a new tab, and drag it to your second display (this will be where your calls occur). If you have only one display, ignore this step.
Right click, select Meeting Room 365 Automated Attendant, then "Set Tab as TV Display". This will automate the launch of Teams meetings in this tab.
Optional: Right click and select "Make Volume Adjustable" to give permission to the extension to adjust the master volume for this tab (TV Display Tab).
Maximize both windows on the appropriate display, and use "F11" to make each browser window fullscreen.

Next Steps

That's it! Now, any meeting accepted by your Resource Mailbox with a Teams Meetings link will start and end at the appropriate time. The calendar should reflect current and future meetings for this room.

When not in use, anyone in the room will be able to present wirelessly using a special URL unique to that display, which will appear on the display (no software component needs to be downloaded by end-users, as long as they use a modern web browser).

The tablet remote will display controls for starting and stopping calls, adjusting volume, and turning the camera / microphone on and off.

Outstanding Issues

Button Sync (Remotes)

One outstanding / current issue with the remote is that it sometimes does not reflect the current state of the VTC call. For example, a call may be muted, but the remote may reflect an unmuted state. This can be resolved by pressing the corresponding button until it is in sync with the current meeting (in this example, pressing mute twice would quickly mute and unmute the call, and the button would once again be in sync).

Devices without Cameras or Microphones

Wireless HDMI requires you to navigate to allow Camera and Microphone access to the application. If this cannot be completed on your device, the splash screen for the TV display will not load.

Skype for Business vs. Teams Meetings

Microsoft currently plans to replace Skype for Business with Teams Meetings. However, in the meantime, many clients still only offer Teams Meetings support as a "beta" or "secondary" feature, and it is not very easy for users to add teams meetings to their invites from many products.

We expect this to resolve itself in the next few months.
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