March 14th, 2023 marks Microsoft Teams‘ 6th anniversary. Since launching in 2017, Teams has seen massive success with over 280 million daily active users.
No matter what Microsoft license you may or may not have, you have probably used Teams in the last three years.
Teams is amongst the lineup of Microsoft products that are seeing major upgrades. It joins other counterparts in the product family that integrate AI, such as Syntex and Power BI. In fact, Microsoft is rumored to be experimenting with AI incorporation into more familiar programs like Word and Outlook.
Teams Premium launched in early 2023, introducing its users to (and gatekeeping, in some cases) more advanced features. This is in response to hybrid and WFH business models becoming more common, as users have been looking for new solutions to meet productivity needs. Regular old video calling just doesn’t cut it anymore.
Here are some of the perks that come with Teams Premium. We see added features that contribute to the user experience, including improving branding cohesion, configurations for convenience, and the introduction of AI to Microsoft 365 desktop applications. Here are our six favorite Teams Premium features:
This is the chance to show off your organization’s branding identity. Users can add their company logo, custom images, and branding colours. These changes are visible to all meeting attendees, although the selection of photos is up to users with administrative privileges.
Afraid of video leaks? Users can now add a watermark to prevent stolen or leaked material. Watermarks are likely to deter viewers from recording and re-uploading unauthorized footage.
And even if they do, it’s a great way to show viewers of that reuploaded material where the original source is. While the concept of watermarking is not new, facilitating more privacy in Teams calls is.
3. Video Reproduction Permissions
Teams Premium now allows permissions to decide who can record meetings, which is especially helpful for private conversations. Further to that, administrators can disable viewers from copying text from the chat window.
For organizations with E5 licenses, users will have an added privilege. Compliance admins can configure these settings for Teams meetings in Microsoft Purview to determine which meeting options should be enforced and when. Meeting organizers can leverage sensitivity labels to automatically apply the most relevant and important settings based on the sensitivity of the meeting.
4. Meeting Templates
On the IT admin side, meeting templates are now available. Meeting templates are helpful for customizing meeting settings- for example, a department team meeting would be structured differently from a client discovery call. IT staff may configure templates according to business needs and policies.
For users with a Teams for Education license, or users employed in an educational organization, there are three default templates provided.
Each template has slight variations amongst its configurations. For instance, the Class template will not notify the host of users leaving and joining the call, whereas the Lecture template enables this setting. Note that these are simply templates and default settings and can be changed.
5. AI: Intelligent Recap
Teams is now “infused” with AI, according to the official Microsoft 365 blog, with a feature called “Intelligent Recap”. That’s right- Microsoft has “teamed” up with OpenAI’s Chat GPT 3.5 for this powerful addition.
Intelligent Recap generates tangible tools to help with meeting takeaways and productivity, including:
Tasks – action items will be created during and after the meeting.
Auto-generated chapters – timestamps to help audience review and navigate the meeting recording.
Personalized timeline markers – individuals may choose to bookmark meeting timestamps for their own use.
Intelligent transcript search – users can now search through transcripts for key moments. The transcript distinguishes speakers from each other, and the search function is tailored to each user based on who they are most likely to search for.
6. Webinar Features
Teams Premium allows the webinar experience to be taken to the next level. Webinars differ from private video calls, as webinar speakers have to consider their audience and content.
Registration waitlist and approvals: If you’re looking for your room to have a capacity limit, this feature is great for selecting attendees.
Automated reminder texts and emails: a little reminder can go a long way. Send registrants an automated reminder via SMS or email of meeting details to encourage attendance.
Green room: like a physical green room before heading out on stage, organizers and presenters will now have a ‘virtual’ green room where they can convene before going live.
On the other hand, there are also features that were previously free for regular Teams users that are now exclusive to Premium. These features include:
Live translated captions
Timeline markers in Teams meeting recordings when a user leaves or joins meetings.
Custom organization Together Mode scenes
SMS notifications to remind registered attendees of their meeting details
Microsoft Teams Premium is available at $7 USD per month per user for introductory pricing. After, it will return to its original pricing at $10 USD per month per user. Features that are switching over to Premium-only will have a grace period for up to 90 days. After that, the above features will be exclusive to the Premiums tier.
As always, needs are different for everyone. For example, unless you host a one-man-show vodcast series, it’s unlikely you will need to upgrade to Premium. However, it may be worth considering the features that will no longer be available in the Free version of Teams.