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Microsoft Green-Lights Teams for Surface Hub

Organizations can now deploy the Microsoft Teams collaboration app to run on their large-screen Surface Hub devices, Microsoft announced on Tuesday.

Teams is Microsoft's collaboration client application that's slated to replace the Skype for Business client, although the two applications currently can be run side by side. Microsoft recently suggested that the Teams client can now serve as a suitable replacement for the Skype for Business client.

The Teams app for Surface Hub devices previously was available as test software through Microsoft's Windows Insider Program and as a preview in the Microsoft Store. Now it's available "for all Surface Hubs." However, those devices must be running "Windows 10 Team Edition OS 1703.15063.1292 (KB4343889, August 30, 2018) or later," Microsoft's announcement indicated.

The "Team edition" of Windows 10 is actually the name of the operating system that runs on Surface Hub devices. It's based on the Windows 10 Enterprise edition, but it has a slightly modified user interface that's optimized for meetings, according to this Microsoft document.

Installation and Configuration
The Teams app for Surface Hub devices is available either from "the Microsoft Store or from the Microsoft Store for Business," Microsoft's announcement explained. The Microsoft Store for Business is a storage space that organizations can use to distribute applications to end users. The Microsoft Store is an online repository managed by Microsoft that houses Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps vetted by Microsoft.

The Teams app for Surface Hub devices won't arrive through the Windows Update service. It has to be downloaded using the Surface Hub device or installed from the Windows Store for Business using a management application, such as Microsoft Intune.

The app has to be configured after installation before launching it, Microsoft's announcement warned. Microsoft has supplied three provisioning packages for the purpose, which can be stored on a USB drive.

IT pros have to specify a mode, indicated by numbers "0," "1" or "2," to specify the configuration of the app. Which mode they choose is dependent on how they use the Teams and Skype for Business clients. Here are the three configuration options, along with Microsoft's recommendations, per the announcement:

  • Mode 0 - Keep as is. 
    Use this mode if your organization still uses Skype for Business primarily, but you want the ability to join Microsoft Teams meetings from Surface Hub.
  • Mode 1 - Microsoft Teams Hybrid.
    The Microsoft Teams 'Call' tile will appear on the Welcome Screen.
    The Microsoft Teams tile on the Start Menu will replace the default Skype for Business tile and will show the Microsoft Teams client when launched. You will also see the one-touch 'Join' button to join scheduled Microsoft Teams meetings.
    Scheduled Skype for Business meetings will launch the Skype for Business client when you hit the one-touch 'Join' button for Skype for Business meetings.
    Use this mode if you're transitioning to Microsoft Teams from Skype for Business and/or your organization uses Microsoft Teams primarily, but you want the ability to join Skype for Business meetings.
  • Mode 2 - Microsoft Teams.
    The Microsoft Teams tiles are displayed on the Welcome Screen and Start Menu. All Skype for Business functionalities are disabled.
    Use this mode if you're only using Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft has separate instructions if an organization is using Intune to configure the Teams app on Surface Hub devices. It involves creating a device configuration profile using "configuration service providers," as explained in this Microsoft document.

Lastly, IT pros will have to restart the Surface Hub device for the app to start working.

POPin App for Microsoft Teams
In other Teams news, Irvine, Calif.-based POPin's Microsoft Teams 2.0 app is now available in Microsoft's AppSource app store. The POPin app lets users conduct surveys among team members in an organization, with the ability to vote and add comments. The answers that are returned are anonymous, but the results get shown in a report.

The idea behind POPin surveys is to receive "honest feedback and immediate, actionable results," according to Microsoft's announcement.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for the 1105 Enterprise Computing Group.

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