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November 14, 2022

Microsoft Teams Virtual Backgrounds for Today’s Communication World

In today’s world, communication and collaboration are King! Or Queen! End users no longer rely on just email to work with teammates or customers. And they don’t want to use multiple disconnected apps to communicate and connect for work. Enter Microsoft Teams – filling a void, allowing employees to meet over video, make calls, chat, and collaborate using whiteboard and integrated MS 365 Apps. Microsoft Teams continues to expand its core functionality while expanding 3rd party integrations. Being able to have a single app on corporate devices to communicate is key to both
productivity and manageability for IT.

For many of us, office cubicles and board rooms may be a thing, or start to become, a thing of the past. We are working from a home office, perhaps even a garage, an open floor workspace, or some variation. And depending on our surroundings, we may want to lower distractions and give the illusion that our workspace is certainly more professional. This could be as simple as a blurred background or a conference room that includes your company branding. This is where Microsoft Teams Virtual Backgrounds comes into play – no longer are you stuck with that boring living room wallpaper or something worse as your backdrop.

Microsoft Teams Virtual Backgrounds in VDI/DaaS Environments

Regardless of what your VDI/DaaS environment looks like, there are a few key steps to ensure that Virtual Backgrounds are available when using Microsoft Teams. During the pandemic, Teams Optimization was key in supporting the rush of remote workers. Now, the new kid on the block is Blur or Virtual Backgrounds for Teams in VDI/DaaS.

To make this happen, first we want to make sure that you have Teams Optimization installed within your endpoint physical device. This is typically an option when first installing the VDI/DaaS Client but comes pre-installed when you use choose a 10ZiG Endpoint, installed locally or configured through the 10ZiG Manager. Currently at this time of writing, only Windows Clients support this feature. You will see that Teams is Optimized for your environment if About > Version shows something similar:

Next, you want to make sure to have the latest Microsoft Teams version installed on your virtual desktop. This would be version or greater to support Microsoft Teams Virtual Backgrounds. Finally, and it may be obvious, but you need to have a camera connected and available within the virtual desktop. When you start a new meeting, you will see the “Background filters” option beside the Camera icon.

This is where you can select your Microsoft Teams Virtual Background before entering the meeting. Microsoft has included a list of virtual backgrounds you can use that includes everything from office spaces to mystical mountains. You may like to keep it simple with the “Blur” option where the background is completely muted, and the focus is on you.

Microsoft Teams Virtual Backgrounds – More Tips & Tricks

If you prefer something different than what’s offered, you can head over to Microsoft’s site to explore additional options. Currently as of now, uploading a custom background is not supported in VDI/DaaS environments, but it is on the roadmap!

If you were unable to set the background before joining the video call or are unhappy with the current one, change it here in Teams: More (…) > Apply background effects

Here is a matrix to show the minimum versions required to make Microsoft Teams Virtual Backgrounds and/or Blur work in your VDI/DaaS environment. Background Blur and Virtual Backgrounds went GA for AVD in May ’22 and later for Citrix and VMware in September ’22.

To utilize the hardware encoding of your 10ZiG Endpoint, make sure and enable the following setting on your device:

Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Terminal Server Client\Default\AddIns\WebRTC Redirector\(DWORD)UseHardwareEncoding and setting it to 1. To disable the feature, set the key to 0

This will make sure you are using the optimal framerate and resolution settings available from your connected camera. This feature is currently exclusive only to AVD and the Remote Desktop Client on your 10ZiG Windows endpoint at the time of this writing.

The only known caveat at this time is that selecting a Blur or Virtual Background may not persist during calls with Microsoft Teams. You may have to re-select your option on each call. This is a known issue and Microsoft is looking into it. So, choose a background, sit back and relax, and enjoy knowing that your teammates have no idea what your workspace looks like on the next huddle.

About 10ZiG

10ZiG is a leading Thin & Zero Client endpoint hardware and software provider for VDI, Cloud, DaaS, and SaaS. We provide leading Intel and AMD based, Dual and Quad Core Thin & Zero Clients for VMware, Citrix, Microsoft, and other environments. 10ZiG offers free, no-obligation demo devices, best-in-industry Technical Support teams based in the U.S. and Europe, and provides for FREE, Cloud-enabled “10ZiG Manager™” centralized management software with unlimited user licenses. Get your free demo at sales@10zig.com or sales@10zig.eu or just click here > FREE demo.