Hello Readers, I hope you’re well.

First things first. I said collab bar in the post title. I mean Microsoft Teams Room on Android or MTRoA. It’s just shorter and easier to say in the post title.

For those of you that don’t know what an MTR on Android is, I’ll start there. Microsoft Teams Rooms have two paths. One is MTR on Windows and the other if on Android.

  • MTR on Windows is the evolution of Skype Room System (SRS) which was the evolution of LRS. It’s available from several vendors and always consists of a Windows PC and some peripherals for audio and video.
  • MTR on Android was originally called Collab Bar, because the form factor was always an AV soundbar.

Think Yealink A20 and A30 and the VC210 before that. Plus the X30 and X50 from Poly. The RXV80 from AudioCodes. The Rally Bar and Bar mini from Logi. And the Epos Expand Vision 3. And others coming from Neat and maybe other vendors. All bars.

So why change the name? Well for one, it’s still a Microsoft Teams Room. The experience lately is very similar between the two platforms. For two, what do you do when a collab bar is no longer a bar? Poly is certifying an MTRoA that looks more like a traditional codec (the G7500) which you then plug in normal cameras and audio to. So is Logitech with the RoomMate.

I’m not here to talk about the feature set of each. I’ll cover that in another post. What I am here to talk about is a new hidden feature that is made available on the latest firmware on the Yealink A20 and A30 Meeting Bars.

What is BYOD?

First, BYOD (or Bring Your Own Device) is the ability to use your laptop to attend a meeting on any platform. You can already do that now. You just use the webcam on the laptop and either the built in mic and speakers or a puck.

BYOD mode for Microsoft Teams Rooms is the ability to plug your laptop in to the MTR and use the audio and video and front of room display instead of your built in hardware.

Why would you want to do this?

If you want to attend a meeting for one, then this isn’t particularly useful. But if you want to use your shiny new meeting room with multiple in-room attendees, and you need to join a meeting on another platform, then this is for you.

Make sure you’re running the latest firmware. You can do this from the Teams Admin Centre once both the A20/A30 and CTP18 shows up there. A20/30 will be in Teams Rooms on Android tab and CTP18 will be in Touch Consoles tab. You can also do it from the web UI on both the bar and CTP18.

Get the latest firmware from here – Yealink Support

Once both are done upgrading both devices you’ll notice a new share button on the CTP18. But there’s still a little more work to do.

Log back in to the web UI of the A20/A30
Expand Settings and click Hybrid mode
Enable quick ball and tick camera control. And confirm.

Now you need to add an entry to the config to enable BYOD mode. Unfortunately this setting isn’t available in the Web UI without adding the line to the config file.
Expand settings and click on configuration and Export the configuration file

This will download the file to your browser downloads folder. Open the configuration file in Notepad
Add this line under the quick ball enable line

And save the file
Now go back to the web UI, expand settings and click configuration and click import to find the file and then click import

Then click confirm

Now under settings and Hybrid Mode you should see both camera mode and BYOD-USB Mode and both should be ticked.

Now on your CTP18 there should be a Quick Ball. The ball is movable. Just drag and slide it wherever you prefer it to be. Lower right is as good as any.

It won’t enter BYOD mode automatically. You’ll need to enable it each time you want to use that feature

Tap the quick ball and Device Mode and it will display a warning about not being able to join Teams meetings. Just tap okay

Then plug in a USB-C cable to a laptop

Once you plug in the cable, two things happen.

  • Your screen is displayed on the front of room display
  • Your laptop settings will (or should) automatically change your audio and video device to the A20/A30 speakers, mic and camera.

After that, once you join a Webex or Zoom or any other meeting on your laptop, you’ll be mirroring what’s on your laptop screen to the front of room display and the far end participants will be seeing you through the A20/A30 camera and hearing you through the mic array on the A20/A30.

If the audio and video device doesn’t change automatically, you just need to adjust the device settings in the Zoom or Google or whatever app.

What about Direct Guest Join?

That’s a great question. Direct guest join with Webex and Zoom work natively on MTR on Windows. Microsoft also recently announced that they were expanding this list to include RingCentral and GoToMeeting at some point next year. They also announced a while back in the roadmap that Android based Teams devices would also get direct guest join. I take this to mean MTR on Android. But it could also apply to Teams Display and even phones, especially video phones like the Crestron UC-P8 or P10, or the Yealink VP59.

So at some point next year you’ll also be able to do direct guest join on the A20 or A30, or any of the other brands of MTRoA.

For now, though, this is what you need. And you might still want to use it even after DGJ is launched. Maybe for features, maybe because the meeting solution you want to join isn’t native.

That’s all folks