Microsoft Teams Premium


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Announced at Ignite 2022, Microsoft have introduced a Teams Premium add-on SKU – giving more benefits to organisations as hybrid working becomes more common and continues to evolve. Given the huge success of Teams, and how integral it has become to so many organisations, it makes sense that Microsoft will look to monetize this with a focus on hybrid features. These new options include:

Meeting Guides

This gives a set of pre-built options for different types of meetings i.e. client calls, brainstorming, help desk calls etc. that will set the length and best practices.

Customised branding

Again, the option to have customised meeting lobbies appears as well as custom backgrounds and together modes.

Intelligent Recap

This sounds like it could genuinely be a game changer.

It will use AI to pick out action items and assign owners during meetings and then create recordings which show key events such as where your name was mentioned or when a screen was shared – making it easier, and faster, to cover what you missed. It will also highlight speakers based on who you work most closely with, so you can skip through the transcripts to find relevant sections more easily.

Live translated captions

This is very cool for international companies and partnerships. An organiser having Teams Premium will mean all attendees get live captions in one of 40 languages.

Advanced Meeting Protections

New options around the security of meetings and recordings include watermarking and, for E5 customers, the ability to use Purview Information Protection sensitivity labels.

Appointment management

Teams Premium will offer advanced Virtual Appointments with better end to end management, text reminders, appointment access without the Teams app, a dashboard to see appointment overviews, and analytics. See more here.

Advanced webinar features

There are also some new features that help enhance the Teams webinar offering – something I’m particularly interested in. These include:

  • Registration waitlist
  • Automated branded reminder emails
  • Virtual green room – this gives a space for speakers to chat, monitor Q&A, check content etc. separate to attendees
See more here

Teams Premium also gives control over which speakers, videos etc. attendees can see – which can be very useful when you have multiple presenters at once.

Pricing is currently expected to be $10 per user per month. The Preview will begin in December 2022 and General Availability with be February 2023, although intelligent recap features will be “first half of 2023”.

Further Reading

Microsoft announcement

Teams Premium site

Microsoft Teams Rooms licensing: September 2022


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The September Product Terms revealed that Microsoft have replaced Teams Rooms Standard & Premium with Teams Rooms Basic & Pro, and we now have more information on feature differences and licensing.

Teams Rooms Basic

This is the free entry level license, included with certified Teams Devices and available via the Microsoft 365 Amin Center (not via resellers etc.). It is limited to 25 licensed devices within an organisation, if devices are needed they must be covered with Pro licenses. Furthermore, it is limited to 1 device per room with the same resource account – if 2 or more devices are needed, this again requires a Pro license.

You’ll notice below that Basic does not include a Teams Phone license, preventing the room from making/receiving PSTN calls.

Teams Rooms Pro

These are $40 per device per month and offer a much wider range of features than the Basic license.

It seems Microsoft have removed access to in-person engineers as part of the management features offered, with the Docs page stating “Microsoft Service engineers will no longer serve as intermediaries to incident response starting October 1, 2022“.

How do they compare to their predecessors?

Teams Rooms Basic is missing many of the features that were present in Teams Room Standard which means organisations may find themselves having to move from the $15 per month Standard license to the $40 per month Pro license at renewal – a significant increase. Equally, although probably much less likely, some organisations could drop from Standard ($15) to Basic ($0) and save money each month.

Basic v Pro

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-gb/microsoftteams/rooms/rooms-licensing#switching-from-teams-rooms-standard-and-teams-rooms-premium

This link here gives a detailed comparison of the differences between Basic & Pro in various different use areas. I would recommend also comparing the new functionality to your existing licenses to identify if you’ll need the Pro option going forwards.

Further Reading

Microsoft announcement

Teams Rooms licensing

New Teams Rooms pricing

Old Teams Rooms pricing

Tom Talks blog for more in-depth telephony info

Dynamics 365 in Microsoft Teams


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Another announcement at Microsoft Inspire is that soon users will be able to view and interact with Dynamics 365 records and data directly inside Microsoft Teams – without requiring additional licensing.

In a blog post, Microsoft state that they are “eliminating the licensing tax” that has previously prevented organisations from integrating Dynamics 365 & Microsoft Teams. There isn’t a huge amount of additional information available yet so the specific questions as to what data can be shared and what can be done to it etc. will have to wait for another day. This blog from Jukka Niiranen attempts to uncover some potential insights from the Microsoft demo video that’s available.

However, it is clear that this is (another) shot at Salesforce in Microsoft’s efforts to make Dynamics 365 the #1 CRM system out there. It also serves to further Teams’ growing position as the central hub for users throughout their work day, where they’re able to do most things at this point (but no email).

Further Reading

MS announcement

MS site (with demo video)

Jukka Niiranen blog

Microsoft Visio comes to Teams for free


Bringing Visio to Microsoft 365: Diagramming for everyone | Microsoft 365 Blog

Microsoft are adding a cut down version of Visio directly into Teams, enabling users to create, edit, and share diagrams without leaving the ever growing central location for productivity. The new app will be available to users with the following licenses:

  • Microsoft 365 Business Basic
  • Microsoft 365 Business Standard
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium
  • Microsoft 365 Apps for business
  • Office 365 E1
  • Office 365 E3
  • Office 365 E5
  • Office 365 F3
  • Microsoft 365 F3 (includes Office 365 F3)
  • Microsoft 365 E3 (includes Office 365 E3)
  • Microsoft 365 E5 (includes Office 365 E5)
  • Microsoft 365 Apps for enterprise
  • Office 365 A1
  • Office 365 A3
  • Office 365 E5
  • Microsoft 365 A1 (one-time, per-device license with free Office 365 A1 per user licenses)
  • Microsoft 365 A3 (includes Office 365 A3)
  • Microsoft 365 A5 (includes Office 365 A5)

You can see more info, and sign up for early access (not EU), here.

Microsoft add webinars to Teams


Image by Alexandra_Koch from Pixabay

It was announced a while back that webinar functionality would be coming to Microsoft Teams and details have been released at this week’s Microsoft Ignite conference – including the required licenses.

Features

Organisations will be able to add a customisable registration page to webinars – an example of which you can see below:

Source: Microsoft – https://cdn.techcommunity.microsoft.com/assets/MicrosoftTeams/Attendee%20Registration%20%26%20Email%20Confirmations.gif

Fully interactive webinars will be able to handle up to 1,000 (one thousand) participants with moderation available to control audio/video etc. and, should you need it, Teams can scale up to 10,000 participant “view-only” sessions. Microsoft are, for now, increasing that limit to 20,000.

You will also be able to download an attendee report showing attendance, participation etc. which is key for follow up. More reporting features are being rolled out over the coming months.

How is it licensed?

These new capabilities will be fully available as part of:

  • Microsoft 365 E3/A3/G3
  • Microsoft 365 E5/A5/G5

and will also be available in:

  • Microsoft 365 Business
  • Microsoft 365 Business Premium

for up to 300 users.

I’m pleasantly surprised that this doesn’t require an add-on license – it’s quite possibly been done as in-built functionality to give them the best chance of fighting off the threat from Zoom et. al. If you have to pay extra to Microsoft, you might as well just stick with your existing provider but if it’s “free”…that likely changes matters for a lot of organisations.

Further Reading

You can see more info on these, and dozens of other new features coming to Teams, here.

Microsoft Product Terms – October 2020


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Teams Rooms Standard & Premium Device subscription licenses have been added.

SharePoint Syntex is added. This is “trainable AI” that can help process corporate data and automate some of the tasks involved. See more info on what it is and how it’s licensed here.

Dynamics 365 Project Operations added. As sure as night turns to day, there’s a new D365 SKU 😂 This is a replacement for Project Service Automation (PSA).

The snappily named “Audio Conferencing Extended Dial-out minutes to USA/CAN” is added. This add-on license gives “virtually unlimited” US & Canada dial-out minutes, although there is a “fair use” policy.

The new “Extra Graph Connector Capacity” license enables additional indexing using Microsoft Graph connectors. Graph being Microsoft’s evolving connective layer between various MS products that we will continue to see pop up over the coming months for sure. In my opinion, this is another example of Microsoft moving towards a licensing model reminiscent of IBM/SAP/Salesforce where there are 100s of odd, obscure metrics based around quantity and usage – making them easy to exceed and difficult to track.

None of the recently announced security name changes have been updated though…

Microsoft Teams customer promotions


To help drive adoption of Teams, Microsoft have announced a couple of customer promotions:

Audio Conferencing for free

For Enterprise Agreement customers, the offer is available immediately until January 21, 2021 and licenses are free until the end of your enrolment.

For purchases via partners and the web portal, you get the licenses free for 12 months. Offer starts October 1, 2020 and ends March 31, 2021 and isn’t available in China or India.

35% off Teams Advanced Communications

Available now for Enterprise Agreement customers (ends January 31, 2021) and “coming soon” if you buy via partners or the web portal. This is available worldwide.

See Microsoft’s post here.

Microsoft Product Terms: August 2020


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Nothing too major this month, as expected:

  • The Teams Advanced Communications SKU has been added
  • There are a few updates to SQL Hybrid Benefit info for Server Subscriptions
  • Added extra Power Platforms info covering:
    • Purchase minimums
    • Extended Use Rights for Portals
    • Additional pre-requisites

Nothing new for Power Platform, really just moving key info from the licensing guide to the Product Terms – which is the way it should be.

Microsoft Teams Advanced Communications SKU


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Announced during Microsoft Inspire, August 1, 2020 will see a new add-on SKU for Microsoft Teams – “Advanced Communications”. Sitting as an add-on to any SKU that includes Teams it will give a range of features including:

  • Larger meetings
  • Customized lobbies
  • Compliance recording

although it seems not all features will be available immediately. It’s an interesting move…it seems quite a narrow set of features to put into a chargeable SKU – especially at $12 per user per month – so I’m keen to see how well this takes off. Perhaps it will be one of Microsoft’s semi-regular u-turns where they decide not to charge in the end?

Props to Matt Landis who spotted this first – he has more info on his blog too.

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