Hybrid working is now an integral part of businesses who run their operations from a central office or from multiple office locations, with many utilising Microsoft Teams to stay connected. Front Row is essentially a new layout created for Microsoft Teams to make virtual meetings feel more natural, simulating face to face experiences to increase participation.
Due to the prevalence of hybrid meetings, cutting edge video conferencing systems play a vital role when it comes to staying ahead of the curve. It provides the foundation for connecting those in the office with remote employees or clients, so when a new feature comes along it’s worth considering how it can benefit your organisation.
Microsoft Teams Front Row moves the gallery to the foot of the screen, placing attendees at eye level, as they would be if they were in the same physical room. This layout frees up space in the rest of the screen so that Fluid Components such as the agenda, tasks and notes are visible at the same time as images of the attendees.
But how useful are these changes, and is the stacked view of participants we’re accustomed to a thing of the past?
Why Is Microsoft Teams Front Row Useful?
The main benefit of Front Row is inclusivity because all attendees are put on an equal level, all visible on the screen all the time. This helps participants feel more valued which improves engagement and therefore productivity.
As well as this, because the aforementioned Fluid Components are now visible on the meeting display screen, it means that all attendees have sight of them. This also applies to other features such as chat, raised hands and live reactions, all of which help create a better feeling of connection between attendees, whether remote or onsite. Previously only those viewing the meeting on a laptop had visibility which can lead to a feeling of separation among those present.
So, in the same way that video conferencing creates a more natural way to build relationships with clients and remote employees than simply using a telephone, Front Row takes a standard video call one step further.
Bridging the gap between in-person and virtual meetings has been a focus for video conferencing solutions for many years and Microsoft Teams Front Row claims to be part of the future of hybrid working.
What Do I Need To Use Microsoft Teams Front Row?
Due to Front Row essentially being a new layout, no additional hardware is needed to get up and running, providing you are already using Microsoft Teams. However, there are a number of considerations to take into account in order for your organisation to enjoy this new approach to hybrid working to its fullest.
There are a number of options here which will help you achieve the best performance. Many conference rooms have dual displays and these can be used to provide the width required for the Front Row attendees and Fluid Components. Building on this premise, the optimum single screen ratio for Front Row is 21:9 which will provide the required viewing area for all of the elements required for a collaborative meeting.
When considering the size of the room where the Front Row layout will be deployed, a single LED wall or flat panel display would ideally be over 100 inches. Although not commonplace, displays of this specification are now being manufactured, such as the Jupiter Pana 105, shown below.
But flat panel screens aren’t the only option – alternatively an ultra short throw (UST) projector can be used to provide a 21:9 display ratio in UHD. The Epson 4K UHD EB-PQ2010B projector shown here combines an incredible image quality with a huge screen size, showing that projection is a great solution for Microsoft Front Row.
Moreover, projectors are often a more environmentally friendly solution than an LED display due to improved end of life recycling, lower running costs and reduced heat output.
2: Microsoft Teams certified camera, mics and speakers
There are many solutions to choose from which include separate devices as well as all in one solutions. Here are some certified Microsoft devices which will provide a high quality Teams Front Row experience.
With all in one solutions such as the Yealink MVC-840, and the Jabra Panacast 50 system you benefit from a separate compute device as well as additional microphones if the room is particularly large. Both feature a high quality camera and speakers which will ensure all participants can be seen and heard clearly.
The range of available devices is vast which can be daunting, so feel free to get in touch with Digital Vision AV so we can help you choose the right Microsoft Teams solution for your business.
Jabra Panacast 50 System
Online whiteboards with an infinite digital canvas plus analogue whiteboards with a content camera enhance collaboration and further bridge the gap between in-person and virtual meetings. As well as whiteboards, Front Row includes other co-create elements available to the group such as agenda, tasks, and notes which can be edited in real time.
The Microsoft Teams Front Row Signature Room features a curved desk with a front facing layout which is aimed at providing a better viewing experience for those joining remotely. Although not essential, this type of furniture layout will provide the optimum Microsoft Teams meeting by further enhancing the human connection.
Should I use Teams Front Row?
The arrival of dedicated 21:9 ratio displays from established manufacturers confirms that Microsoft Teams Front Row is a video conferencing solution which is being taken seriously by organisations around the world. Whether it’s right for your business will come down to a number of factors:
The above Signature Teams room size in the Microsoft guidelines is not a focus room or huddle room and is designed to be used in a larger space such as a medium to large conference room. This is because the focus is on the quality of meeting experience, rather than maximising capacity.
Microsoft understands that not all organisations are able to prioritise space in this way because it could reduce the number of available meeting rooms. Therefore, only certain conference rooms where being face to face with remote attendees matters most, will benefit from implementing Front Row. For smaller rooms, using the traditional Microsoft Teams layout with a display ratio of 16:9 might be more suitable.
2: Your existing platform
You may not currently be using Microsoft Teams which means taking into account a variety of additional considerations before rolling out Front Row to your organisation. For example, whether it meets your business needs in terms of usage, budget and network infrastructure.
3: Audio quality of the room
If you have the ideal space in mind for Front Row but the meeting room suffers from echo or excessive reverb, then even the best video conferencing solution could fail to deliver the expected performance gains. Treating the room with acoustic panels can make a huge difference to the clarity of sound for those in the room and joining remotely.
Digital Vision AV are experienced office acoustic panel installers so if this is a known issue in your meeting space then contact us to discuss the options to resolve it.
Getting the most out of Microsoft Teams Front Row
At Digital Vision AV, we want you to make the most out of your investment. Using our experience and industry knowledge we will design, supply, install and maintain a cutting edge video conferencing system to perfectly suit your requirements. We’ve been installing the latest video conferencing solutions for nearly 20 years to businesses in sectors covering Corporate, Education and Healthcare so we understand what success looks like.