Technology first previewed at Build 2018 and talked about as a coming device at Ignite 2020, Microsoft Teams Intelligent Speakers are a new category of device to connect to Microsoft Teams Rooms. EPOS (a joint venture between Sennheiser and Demant A/S) has launched the first one (shipping April), the EXPAND Capture 5, Yealink are also due to launch an Intelligent speaker.
This is a USB mic/speaker puck, you connect to a Microsoft Teams Room (currently just for Microsoft Teams Rooms for Windows), but with special magic inside (I say magic, as I’m trying to find out what combination of this is in the device vs in software on the compute unit) that allows Teams to generate a transcript during a meeting, with individual identification of those speaking in the room. It can Identify up to 10 unique voices in the room.
Teams users can turn attribution on or off when using an Intelligent Speaker. That transcription for recorded meetings is currently only supported in English.
Teams already offers meeting transcription and translation with any mic/audio input, so the real new feature here is identifying who is speaking for the transcript. The EPOS device has 7 digital MEMS microphones and is designed for small and medium meeting rooms.
Pricing for the Expand Capture 5 is $469. The speaker device will be available across North America starting in April. They are also partnering with Lenovo.
I look forward to testing these out and seeing how well this works in the real world. Look out for a follow-up blog when I’ve had some hands-on time.