At the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of organizations transitioned to hybrid work. While this was a great way to ensure that operations were running seamlessly, communication posed a great challenge, especially with the majority of people working asynchronously across different time zones.
In turn, this necessitated the need to incorporate a communication tool that would mitigate this gap. A lot of organizations settled for Microsoft Teams, Skype, Slack, or Zoom as their primary communication tool. According to Microsoft’s FY23 Q2 report, Microsoft Teams has hit more than 280 million monthly active users.
It’s no secret Microsoft has been busy at work pushing updates as well as features to the teleconferencing tool to enhance its user experience and appeal. What’s more, it even launched a new entry dubbed Microsoft Teams Premium to further enhance the experience.
In this guide, we’ll focus on deciphering what Microsoft Teams Premium is and all the features it unpacks. Here’s everything you need to know:
What is Microsoft Teams Premium?
While you might already be conversant with Microsoft Teams free and Microsoft Teams paid, Microsoft has built further upon these experiences and debuted Microsoft Teams Premium.
Teams Premium is a new tier built on Microsoft Teams that is designed to enhance the tool’s meeting experience more personalized, intelligent, and secure. The offering is powered by GPT-3.5, OpenAI’s language model.
With this new entry, users will now have access to a unified experience that is cost-effective. Previously, Teams users had to incur extra costs to incorporate add-ons to their experience, but with the new offering, they’ll now be able to access these features and more under a singular experience at a significantly fair price point.
Features and pricing
What will you get when you get the Teams Premium add-on? Last year in December, Microsoft launched the offering on a 30-day trial, but it has since shipped to general availability with a host of new capabilities as well as features.
At the moment, you can get the add-on at an introductory fee of $7 per month per user till June 30, after that, the offering’s pricing will revert back to the standard $10 per month per user.
Note: You must have an existing Microsoft 365 or Office 365 license to access Teams Premium.
What exactly does the $10 subscription get you?
Teams Premium’s meeting experience is deeply integrated with AI. This is Microsoft’s bid to ensure that users get to do more with less.
A nifty feature that ships with the add-on is the intelligent recap. With the feature in place, the user’s productivity is enhanced significantly as they can now focus on more important things. The feature generates meeting notes, recommended tasks, and personalized highlights automatically.
It helps you cut down on unnecessary administrative work like taking notes or figuring out important takeaways that shift your focus from what truly matters. In turn, you are able to work smarter rather than harder.
What’s more, you can even use the automatically generated meeting notes powered by GPT-3.5 as well as highlights to catch up with important details shared during the meeting in case you were engaged elsewhere at the time.
Additionally, Teams Premium makes it easier for you to quickly review meeting recordings. The offering features a neat tool, AI-generated chapters which splits the recording into sections based on the meeting transcript.
This way it is easy to identify the section you are interested in and navigate there swiftly. The capability is also available for PowerPoint Live meeting recordings.
Microsoft has also gone the extra mile and included a cool tool that makes the meeting review process easier. If you use meeting recordings for future reference often, you can now find specific segments of the meeting with personalized timeline markers.
It should be noted that these markers will only be visible to you, that way it’s easier to identify when you joined or left a meeting in the meeting recording.
This allows you to catch up with everything that you might have missed. Microsoft has also highlighted its future plans to expand this capability further to show when your name was mentioned and also when the screen was shared.
Moreover, Teams Premium further enhances communication with live translations for captions, especially for organizations that interact with different people from different parts of the globe that might not necessarily speak the same language.
The offering features AI-powered real-time translations from 40 spoken languages, which means that attendees in the meeting will now be able to take part in the meeting and understand the information being passed.
You’ll no longer need to incur any extra costs for additional real-time meeting translation services thus saving you money while simultaneously enhancing the meeting’s productivity.
Important: The live translations for captions feature will be available for all meeting attendees provided the organizer has a Teams Premium subscription.
Curated meeting experience
The ability to curate and customize your meeting experience in Teams is one of the most requested features by organizations. Luckily, it ships with the Teams Premium add-on designed to create an engaging experience.
Teams Premium features a host of branded meeting tools that will push your organization to the next level and leave a lasting impression. These tools will help feature the logo and company colors when holding meeting virtually for memorability and further engagement.
What’s more, users can also enable brand-approved organization backgrounds and organization together mode scenes. This way it becomes very apparent to everyone that’s part of the meeting what your company stands for and the values you uphold.
Furthermore, with the new offering IT admins now have the capability of creating customized meeting templates such as a client call or brainstorming meeting to automatically include preferred settings.
This saves you a lot of time that you would have otherwise spent trying to curate the meeting experience to suit your needs and expectations.
With Teams Premium, you can assign Teams policies easily using custom user policy packages. Previously, users could only assign these meetings, messaging, and app policies individually which proved to be quite a tedious task.
Custom user policy packages let admins create a customized bundle of policies for users with similar job descriptions in the organization thus saving time and promoting consistency.
Secure meeting experience
A lot of meetings across organizations are now taking place virtually, while this is a time saver and convenient way of meeting, there are quite a number of setbacks that render this option unfavorable, especially in instances where sensitive information is being shared.
However, Teams Premium ships with an extra layer of protection to mitigate these issues. First up is the advanced meeting protection tool that lets users upgrade their safeguards for important meetings without disrupting the meeting experience.
What’s more, the new tier also adds new meeting options like watermarking and the capability to limit who can record the meeting proceedings. The former is designed to prevent sensitive information from leaking, while the latter helps you establish privacy during the meeting and ensures that the details shared remain exclusive to the parties involved.
Additionally, the offering unpacks an advanced encryption option that is available for IT-enabled users dubbed end-to-end encryption (E2EE). The option lets you disable core meeting features to further establish a secure meeting experience.
If you run a business that requires you to interact with clients a lot and set up appointments then you might want to consider getting the Teams Premium add-on to further enhance communication.
First up it ships with Virtual Appointments in Teams. This helps you save time and money that you would’ve spent sourcing for an add-on that will let you achieve this.
According to Microsoft:
You can delight customers with a seamless join experience that allows external attendees to join virtual, branded lobby rooms through text messages or email on any device browser—without them having to download an app.
What’s more, admins can manage and set up both scheduled and on-demand virtual appointments in one convenient location courtesy of appointment queuing.
Additionally, if you want to evaluate how well virtual appointments and drive customer outcomes are working out for your business, you can make use of Teams Premium’s department-level or organization-level analytics that will be based on wait times as well as missed appointments.
Better registration experience at webinars
If you’re looking to grow your business further and want to use webinars to get there, then the Teams Premium add-on is a necessary tool. It ships with webinars designed to help you host these events easily while simultaneously saving you time and money.
What’s more, webinars in Teams Premium let the presenters join the virtual green room to facilitate early preparation. This way it is easier for them to establish a connection and go through the brief. The webinar experience becomes seamless. Attendees are at liberty to interact with presenters via chat or Q&A.
Additionally, the webinar presenters now have more control over what attendees get to see thus enhancing professionalism and engagement. Moreover, the registration process has also been improved with registration waitlist and manual approval and the ability to customize the registration start and end times.
It should be noted that you can take your presentation to the next level using RTMP-in and an external encoder to deliver dynamic content. You can also use Teams Premium’s automated reminder emails to keep attendees on their toes and excited about your webinar. The email will feature a custom-branded header, webinar details, and a link to join the event.
And finally, you can make use of Microsoft’s Enterprise Content Deliver Network (eCDN) to further enhance live experiences within your organization. The feature lets you live stream global meetings, all-hands gatherings, and more seamlessly using Teams Live Events.
Moreover, it helps you establish a good internet connection thus ensuring that the video quality is good.
Note: Microsoft had previously highlighted its intention to scrap some key features from Teams licenses and transition them to the new Teams Premium license. The features include: live translated captions, custom Together Mode scenes, and virtual appointment options.
Do more with Teams Premium
Rather than sourcing for add-ons individually to cater to your various meeting needs, Microsoft Teams will provide you with a unified experience at a cheaper price. At this point, we invite you to also check out our detailed guide on how to get the most out of new Teams features.
Do you have a subscription Teams Premium subscription? Share your experience with us below.