Microsoft Teams Premium
Microsoft Teams Premium vs. Standard: Is the additional license worth it?
A lot has happened with Microsoft Teams in recent months. With the introduction of the Teams Premium license model, certain standard features will be fully or partially integrated into a premium license. This has implications for the general licensing model as well as future features, as it is now up to Microsoft to decide for each new feature in Teams whether it will be available in the base version or reserved for Teams Premium users. Previously, there was no such discussion, as there was no separate license and all new features were automatically integrated into Teams.
Whether this new licensing model makes sense and how it will be accepted by users remains to be seen. What is certain, however, is that certain features, especially for meetings and webinars, privacy options, encryption and AI options that require more processing power will move to the premium license in the future. In this post, we’ll take a look at some of these features so you can get your own idea of the new licensing model.
It’s not uncommon for business-critical information to be shared in Teams meetings. With the enhanced meeting protection in Teams Premium, confidential meetings can be protected in the future. Videos or shared content are thus provided with an individual watermark.
When an appointment is created in the calendar, it can be specified in advance whether a watermark will be used. This is then placed over the entire screen and is visible to everyone. The watermark can represent an email address or the company logo, for example.
Watermarks protect business critical information at meetings
Customized meeting lobby
With Teams Premium, the meeting lobby can finally (!) be customized with company branding in the form of individual backgrounds and color schemes. All basic colors can be customized, as well as buttons and fonts. The management is done by the administrator to avoid possible brand abuse.
A frequently requested feature has now been introduced with the individual meeting lobby.
To save time and effort, basic settings for specific meetings can be defined in Teams Premium using the meeting templates. For example, fixed options can be created for regular customer appointments or jour fixes. This saves the organizer of a meeting from having to set them manually. Of course, the organizer can customize the template, but the administrator can limit the extent of customization options. Teams Premium thus enables easier and more efficient organization of meetings.
Time and effort can now be saved with predefined meeting templates
Advanced encryption categories
In addition to the previous classic encryption of meetings, Teams Premium now offers the option of end-to-end encryption. Conversations with two participants can thus be conducted even more securely, but are limited to audio, video and screen sharing.
A little side note: In the admin settings you will more and more often come across the premium icon, which indicates that a certain function is only available with the premium license
Custom Together Mode moves to Teams Premium
Another new feature is the customization of Together Mode (collaboration mode) in Teams Premium. This mode will basically remain in the basic version, but only with the Premium version will it be possible to customize the scenery. This means choosing your own backgrounds and placing people freely.
The freedom of movement in toghether mode will probably be reserved for premium users only
The live captions and transcription transcribe and translate what is spoken into the desired language
Intelligent Meeting Recap
We all spend a lot of time in meetings, but are any of them really productive? All of us know meetings that you wish you could cancel. But you attend anyway to stay on track, even though the people attending are often busy multitasking. Sometimes you decide to skip a meeting to focus on important, time-sensitive tasks. But we end up having to slog through notes and transcripts to find relevant information.
The “Intelligent Recap” promises an alternative for this. The intelligent recap, which is based on Open AI Technology 3.5 (GPT 3.5), will automatically summarize meetings in the future. Spoken language or chats are converted into notes, documents are summarized and content is generated. To-do lists and Planner Tasks can also be created automatically. This feature will also only be available in Teams Premium. For example, if it is mentioned at the end of a meeting that a certain topic needs to be caught up on, a corresponding task will automatically be created. It remains to be seen what else will be possible with this feature in the future – it is certainly promising. An upgrade to GPT 4 will also only be a matter of time.
The “Intelligent Recap” will automatically summarize meetings in the future and thus facilitate the post-processing
Licensing of Teams Premium is an important factor to consider. It is not a standalone license, but an extension of the standard Teams subscriptions. To use Teams Premium, you need a Microsoft 365 license that already includes Teams. Usually, this is an E3 or E5 license, which is then supplemented with the Teams Premium licensing. However, the question arises as to who needs a Teams Premium license. There are different scenarios for this.
External participants generally do not need a premium license to participate in virtual meetings. However, certain scenarios may be an exception, such as a meeting with the end-to-end encryption described earlier. If the virtual meeting is made available to external participants via “Bookings”, no premium license is required. However, the meeting organizer usually needs the premium licensing.
To register and use the extended meeting lobby, also known as the Green Room, the organizers need a premium license, but the participants do not. In the meeting lobby, the organizer can spend a few minutes before the webinar to get everything ready and edit the documents before adding the meeting or webinar attendees. Attendees without a premium license are at least allowed to view live translations as long as the organizer has a premium license.
Here you can find a comprehensive comparison of all features from Teams Premium to Standard: https://learn.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoftteams/teams-add-on-licensing/licensing-enhance-teams
Conclusion: Is the new premium version worth it now?
The monthly costs amount to ten euros per user. The question is whether this price is justified. In our opinion, it depends on what requirements your organization has and what features you need in your everyday work. It can be assumed that Teams Premium will be further expanded in the future. Its success will depend on how intensive the actual usage will be among users and how many will opt for the additional license. New Premium features such as Intelligent Recap or Live Transcription appear very promising, provided that expectations are actually met in daily use.
The rollout of Teams Premium is already in full swing and may already be available for your company. In the process, some features will move from Teams Standard to Premium. If you are already using a feature intensively, you should now consider whether it is worth switching to Teams Premium. Once Teams Premium moves to GA (Genaral available) status, you have a transition period of 30 to 60 days. After that, features that move to Premium will no longer be usable in Teams Standard. If the features will still be needed in the future, a move to Premium becomes inevitable.
Christoph is a Solution Architect for Microsoft 365 and has been with SOLVION since 2009. His main task is the support of customers with their concerns around SharePoint, Microsoft Teams and various Microsoft 365 Apps.