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Microsoft Teams Performance Improvement & Updates

Microsoft Teams Performance Improvement & Updates

Introducing Teams Premium

Microsoft has launched Teams Premium, an add-on license to Microsoft Teams that brings advanced meeting capabilities to organizations with Microsoft 365 subscriptions. It offers more personalized and intelligent meetings, enhanced protection for meetings, advanced management and reporting capabilities for IT, and advanced Virtual Appointments.

Teams Premium has an introductory price of $7 per user per month, which will increase to $10 per user per month on July 1st, 2023. In the Microsoft 365 admin center, organizations are now able to access a 30-day trial license for Teams Premium. Organizations can assign up to 25 trial licenses to users to test Teams Premium features as they become available.

Organizations need to be aware that some Teams features, such as Live translation of captions during Teams meetings, have moved to Teams Premium however users will have a grace period of 30-60 days after general availability to continue using these features before they lose access and require a Teams Premium license to continue.

Teams Premium brings the latest technologies, including Large Language Models powered by OpenAI's GPT-3.5, to make meetings more intelligent, personalized, and protected, whether it's one-on-one, large meetings, virtual appointments, or webinars.

Teams Premium is available worldwide through all purchasing channels. The only way to ensure consistent access and experiences to Teams Premium capabilities is for organizations to assign a license to any user who needs access to its advanced features. Certain meeting and event features, such as live translation of captions will benefit all meeting attendees including external participants, as long as the meeting organizer has a Teams Premium license. To help you determine which users require a Teams Premium license, here are some guidelines:

  • External participants in Virtual Appointments do not need a Teams Premium license to access advanced Virtual Appointments features.
  • For the intelligent recap feature, all meeting participants require a Teams Premium license to benefit from this capability.
  • Meeting organizers who are licensed with Teams Premium can enable live translation (for captions), advanced meeting protection, and advanced webinars for all meeting participants (including guests and external participants) without requiring them to have a Teams Premium license. If an attendee has a Teams Premium license but the meeting organizer does not, the attendee can still access live translations.
  • If the meeting organizer is licensed with Teams Premium, meeting participants (including guests and external participants) do not need a Teams Premium license to access advanced meeting protection and advanced webinars.

New Teams Rooms Editions

Prior to September 2022, Microsoft offered two Teams Rooms editions - Standard and Premium. The cost per device per month for Teams Rooms Standard was $15, and for Teams Rooms Premium was $50. The Premium edition included additional security, management and support features.

Those editions were retired as of September 1st, 2022, and Microsoft introduced two new editions: Teams Rooms Basic and Teams Rooms Pro. For customers who currently use Microsoft Teams Rooms Standard and wish to keep their current features as well as gain access to future advanced features, they will be impacted by a significant cost increase as a result of moving to Teams Rooms Pro. The other option available to these customers is Teams Rooms Basic, but it has limitations and fewer features. In this blog we will review both the Basic and Pro editions, so you can better understand the main differences between the two.

Teams Rooms Basic is a free SKU, which customers can use for up to 25 devices, and includes a basic set of features like scheduling, joining meetings, content sharing, and collaborative whiteboarding, as well as basic security and management capabilities. There are a couple of caveats with Teams Rooms Basic that organizations need to be aware of. The use of a Teams Rooms Basic license is limited to licensing a single certified Teams Rooms system in a room. If a user intends to log into multiple Teams Rooms systems within a room using the same resource account, a Teams Rooms Pro license must be utilized. Teams Rooms Basic licenses cannot be assigned to Teams Panels, only Teams Rooms systems such as a Surface Hub. Additionally, unlike Teams Rooms Standard, Teams Rooms Basic does not include Teams Phone which is the ability for the room to also be a Phone. So if you have the license assigned to devices that are also licensed with Calling Plan, you will need to either purchase Teams Phone stand-alone, or a plan that includes Teams Phone. If your organization has Teams Rooms-certified devices and Teams Rooms Basic meets your requirements, you can order the licenses directly from the Microsoft 365 admin portal.

Teams Rooms Pro is an all-in-one solution that offers the latest hybrid meeting experiences with a strong emphasis on inclusivity, user-friendliness, flexibility, security, and management. It provides many advanced features like intelligent audio and video, front row and large galleries, and real-time collaboration capabilities. It is sold at the price tag of $40 per room per month. The Teams Rooms Pro offering also comes equipped with the Teams Rooms managed service platform, which utilizes artificial intelligence to automate updates, detect issues, and resolve problems on a large scale. Teams Rooms Pro supports both Teams Panels and dual-screen setups and unlike Teams Rooms Basic, if a user wants to log into more than one Teams Rooms system in a room using the same resource account Teams Rooms Pro allows them to do so.

The Rebranding and New Features of Common Area Phone

With many employees no longer commuting to the office every day, the need for technology to support these new work scenarios has become increasingly important. To address this need, Microsoft Teams has expanded its software offerings to accommodate new workplace use cases and provide additional device functionalities. One example of this is the November 2022 rebranding of the Common Area Phone (CAP) license to the Teams Shared Device license, which enables broader functionalities involving shared devices.

The Teams Shared Device license will maintain its support for the current user experience of phones deployed in shared areas, offering features such as call queue and auto attendant support, call park and retrieve, cloud voicemail, and group pickup. However, this license will also now support additional use cases for Microsoft Teams Displays and Microsoft Teams Panels to address the evolving use cases for shared and common spaces that do not require the full functionality of a Teams Rooms license.

This rebranded license is available across all licensing channels, and the price will remain unchanged at $8 per device per month. If you are one of the many organizations that has assigned a user license, such as O365 E1, to devices, note that it is not allowed and will be blocked from signing in as of July 1st, 2023. The Teams Shared Device license may be a good option to replace the user licenses you have assigned to devices today.

Here are the top use cases for the Teams Shared Device license:

  • Teams Displays - The Teams Shared Device license on Teams Display includes a hotdesking experience. Hotdesking on Teams Display simplifies finding a workspace by allowing employees to locate and reserve flexible workspaces. With a Teams Shared Device license, a user can reserve a desk. They can make a call on Teams display. Additionally, the user can access meetings and files by signing into the hotdesking device using their personal credentials.
  • Teams Panels - The Teams Shared Device license enables standalone Teams Panels experiences, which allow users to reserve common spaces that do not require a Microsoft Teams Room, like a gym.
  • Teams Phones - Customers can continue to use their Teams phone devices for calling capabilities. A few of the features of Teams Shared Device license are call park and retrieve, cloud-based voicemail, call queues, and forwarding rules.

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