DIY Teams Room System on a Budget

DIY Teams Room System on a Budget

  • Posted by DIY Chris
  • On May 6, 2021
  • 14 Comments
  • diy teams, diy teams room, office365, teams, teams diy room, teams room, teams room camera, teams room computer, teams room diy, teams room own device, teams room pc, teams room system, teams rooms, teams rooms byod, TMR

First, Some Back Story:

For the past few months I’ve been researching several conference room system solutions mostly centered around equipment that was designed to work with Microsoft Teams since our entire organization utilizes the Office 365 platform, integration with Teams in the conference room seemed like a seamless solution.

I was sad to find that most solutions did not fit the budget that I had set aside for video conferencing. I started doing some research into building my own solution since the Teams Room System software is freely available from the Microsoft store I thought that I should be able to just install it on a regular PC running Windows with a web cam.

It turns out that it’s not as simple as that. The Teams Room System software first of all requires at least 2 monitors. One monitor to act as the remote and the other as the main display for showing video content.

 

Finding the Components:

I found a decently price 13.3 inch touch screen that is advertised as a Portable Monitor which I planned to use as the screen for the remote. The screen has a standard HDMI out port and uses a usb-c port for connecting the touch panel to the PC so you’ll also need to get a USB-C to USB-A cable.

For the PC, at first I wanted to go with a compute stick but these are horribly slow for anything decently priced so I decided to go with an older Dell Optiplex 7047 Micro Tower which is about the size as a Mac mini so it should be easy to hide under a table or behind the TV somewhere.

For the webcam I decided to splurge and got the Logitech BRIO which for the money is pretty much the best out there.

Keeping in mind that the PC will need to connect the webcam, main display, touch screen and remote display, you have 4 things connecting so you need to figure out where to place the PC in proximity to these devices.

In my setup, I decided to place the PC under the conference room table since I already had HDMI cables running from the main display to the conference room table all I needed to do was run a USB-3 extension from the web cam to where I mounted the PC. The rest was easy.

 

What to Get:

Aside from the physical hardware the only thing you’ll need is a Microsoft Teams Room license which you should be able to purchase as part of your Office 365 subscription.

 

How to Do It:

The first thing you’ll need to do is download and install the Teams Room System Software

Once installed, you’ll need to create a file named “skypesettings.xml” then copy and paste the following contents (replacing the usernames and password with the user you’ve created for your Teams room):

<SkypeSettings>
<UserAccount>
  <SkypeSignInAddress>test@test.com</SkypeSignInAddress>
  <ExchangeAddress>test@test.com</ExchangeAddress>
  <Password>test</Password>
</UserAccount>
</SkypeSettings>

Save the “skypesettings.xml” file to the following location:

C:\Users\Test\AppData\Local\Packages\Microsoft.SkypeRoomSystem_8wekyb3d8bbwe\LocalState

Now make sure that everything is connected. (Webcam – USB, Touch Display – HDMI, Touch panel – USB, Main Display – HDMI)

Note: Make sure that your main display is set as the primary monitor on Windows otherwise your remote will launch on the main display.

Make sure you’ve got a Teams Room license assigned to the user you’ve specified in the skypesettings.xml file and then launch Teams Rooms.

Teams rooms should launch and login and should be ready to go. I’ll most likely be posting a few follow up articles on how to customize and configure Teams Rooms as well as how to properly add the created user to a group of conference rooms that you’ll be able to select from when creating a Teams meeting so stay tuned for that.

 

I want to finish the article by stating that this system, while 100% operational, is not supported by Microsoft and they will not help you if you run into any issues. I understand their apprehension allowing customers to roll out their own solutions because you could easily put something together that could cause you a lot of problems and frustration and who would want to offer you support for that??

At the same time, I think it’s important that we can put together our own hardware and not have to rely on $3000 equipment just to do some video conferencing.

14 Comments

Steve
Hey Chris, great guide here. I got it to work mostly, using Logitech tap consoles purchased off ebay. But have you seen it where the console does not update or refresh with the latest meetings?
    DIY Chris
    Hi Steve, Happy to hear that you've found the guide useful. I have seen this behavior but don't quite remember what I actually did to fix it. Have you noticed if the most recent meetings that aren't showing are for the day of or for days ahead?
Michael
Hey Chris, thanks for writing this up. I'm trying to find a way to replicate the HDMI input instead of buying a logitech tab console. Have you been able to add that to your system? I purchased a cheap HDMI to USB adapter. I tested that it inputs into OBS studio. But Teams doesn't seem to recognize it. I'm hoping there is a way to make Team's see the input so people can present by plugging in the HDMI to their computer.
    DIY Chris
    I haven't tried to setup presentation yet. You're right there needs to be an HDMI input. If I get some time I'll look into this and see if I can figure it out.
Dave Brendle
I have followed the instructions and all went well till the very last step where is says "To finish the setup, insert the room console into the dock" I dont know what that means and the Finish button is grayed out and I cannot continue. Everything seems to work otherwise but will not complete the setup
    DIY Chris
    So what you'll want to do is exit out of the setup and then create the XML file like I have listed in the guide. Once that's created you can relaunch Teams and it should login.
Cody`
Hi Chris, Thank you for the super helpful guide! For the machine you installed the software on, did it have a bulk license or just a standard Windows Pro? Thank!
suly
HI Chris, Thanks for this guide, I've managed to get it kind of working right now, currently getting constant signing in when its set to skype business only and "Unable to sign in to Teams" when I enable skype and Teams in settings. I suspect this may be because I am using normal user account credentials and not the rooms credentials, so I will try it with the room. What I am most interested in is did you find a way to get the present feature to work at all? It expects a hdmi input but I don't know how to make that work. I've thought about using a USB capture card but I don't know if it would pick it up or not. Thanks Suly
    DIY Chris
    Hi so yes, the sign in issue is most likely due to the licensing. You'll want to be sure that you assign a rooms license. As for presenting, I haven't tried yet.
      suly
      It was indeed the license that was the problem. All working apart from the HDMI input now. I am still waiting for a HDMI capture device to arrive but judging from another comment, I don't think I will have much luck. If you happen to try this and get it working, please let us know
        DIY Chris
        Great, happy to hear that solved the issue. I'd also be interested to hear how you progress with the HDMI capture device but as you suspect I'm doubtful it would work but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try. If I get some time I'll play with this. I never had a need for the presentation piece of it so I never took the time to research it.
          suly
          • Jul 30 2021
          No luck unfortunately. It appears as a camera input rather than a presented screen. Unfortunately the quality when it is seeing it as a camera feed is too poor quality to consider using it and there's no way to quickly change your camera input whilst on a call, so you can't really use this as a workaround either as it just doesn't work well enough as a camera input. Unfortunately this makes it a no go for me to deploy, which is a shame as everything else works really well. Hopefully, someone figures out the input.
Dave Brendle
Our system has been working great for a couple of weeks now without any glitches. The only thing that i have found if you do a device reset it wipes the .xlm file from the appdata which is why we ran into the issue above. So the device reset in settings is not functional. Also I am very interested to hear any solution for the HDMI input for Presenting. This is not a deal breaker for us but could be for others.

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