In what could be an unexpected boon to hybrid working environments, Microsoft have unveiled a new plugin for hardware aimed at Twitch streamers.
In a post on the Microsoft Teams blog detailing the webinar features of the new Teams Premium offering, it was quietly revealed that the tech giant have developed an official plugin for internet streaming hardware manufacturer Elgato’s Stream Deck devices, promising compatibility with the video conferencing software.
In case you’re confused, Elgato Stream Decks are essentially customisable switchboards for computers that look to boost productivity, though are usually the domain of streamers. However, marketing for the devices is keen to point out their potential workplace applications.
Elgato Stream Decks and Microsoft Teams
Per a tweet from Elgato, it seems like a Stream Deck could be a great addition to a workstation setup, making it possible to map functions like turning webcams and microphones on and off, live reactions, and raising/lowering a virtual hand to LCD-lit keys on the device.
However, with the latest available model, the Stream Deck +, being priced at $199.99/£199.99, those looking for a budget device won’t find it here.
The Deck + offers additional physical controls and indicators for things like volume, or “any incremental app settings”, and too far in the other direction is the Stream Deck XL, which offers 32 customizable LCD keys for $249.99/£229.99.
However, those who don’t need all the bells and whistles have other options. Those looking to be more productive with Microsoft’s collaboration tool may be better off with the Mk. 2, which offers 15 keys for $149.99/£139.99.
And although it only offers six customizable keys, the cheapest available option is the Stream Deck Mini, available for $79.99/£69.99. As a result, a true budget option for a portable switchboard for a business PC doesn’t really exist.
Help is at hand, though. To promote the new plugin for Teams, Elgato are offering savings of “up to” 10% on all Stream Deck Mk. 2s with the coupon code “TEAMS” at checkout until February 6, 2023.
Some may find it a little odd to buy a device chiefly marketed towards streamers for workplace productivity, but plugins exist for all kinds of programs useful for work, including Zoom, Powerpoint, and photo editing software like Adobe Photoshop, so it might not be a bad idea, especially at a discount.
- Here’s our list of the best business headsets right now