What is different about the new Premium version of Microsoft Teams? And what does it add to the hybrid and remote user experience?
Microsoft Teams represents a number of significant changes to the way that we work that have happened over the years. For example, as a platform that combines digital communications and productivity, it represents how we have become increasingly reliant on digital solutions for work. Of course, it also represents how, for the last 3 years, we have relied heavily on remote work and communications. According to one company we spoke to – a London-based Microsoft Solutions Partner that provides IT support for Healthcare providers – stated that Microsoft Teams has become an essential solution for a lot of businesses around the world that have adopted remote or hybrid practices in response to COVID-19.
What is Microsoft Teams?
Though it has been around for 5 years, Microsoft Teams’ rise to fame saw its peak during the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses all over the world suddenly had a significant need for video conferencing; but this is just the beginning of what Microsoft Teams does. According to the company we spoke to that specialises in Microsoft 365 consultancy, Teams acts as a platform for productivity – unifies internal communications, it integrates cloud storage, and users can work collaboratively on documents, spreadsheets, and presentations, all within the app.
What is Teams Premium?
Recently, Microsoft announced a new, optional premium add-on license for Teams. Microsoft Teams Premium, as it is called, is intended to take the experience to the next level with a range of additional features. A lot of these features are based around the use of AI, there are other features that are there to contribute to the remote and hybrid working experience of the application.
Features in Teams Premium for Hybrid Working
The features included in Microsoft Teams Premium are mostly based around the increased reliance that businesses have on virtual meetings and communications. Some of the new features in Teams Premium include…
The integration of intelligent functions in Teams is perhaps the most popular addition to the platform. These features are aimed at making the platform more intuitive to the needs of the user(s). For example, one new feature is the intelligent recap, which makes suggestions for actions (as well as which participants an action pertains to); it also creates a meeting recording with auto-generated chapters and insights. Another AI feature in meetings with Teams Premium is live translation for captions, which currently works in 40 spoken languages.
Several features aimed at increasing the security of meetings have been included to Microsoft Teams Premium. Firstly, there is the option for to limit recording privileges for participants; and meeting hosts can enable watermarking for any recordings that are permitted, thus making it harder to leak content anonymously. Teams Premium also has integrations with another Microsoft product, Purview Information Protection, which is designed to streamline the process of assigning sensitivity labels to data and content across an organisation’s Microsoft infrastructure. When used with Teams Premium organisations will be able to automatically apply data protection labels to meetings.
As we have mentioned already, businesses nowadays engage in many more virtual meetings and appointments than ever before. The managed IT services company we spoke with confirmed that not only their own meeting hours have increased, but so have most of their clients. This is why they have been recommending Teams Premium as a means of streamlining virtual meetings, all thanks to the meeting templates feature. This allows organisations to create templates for meetings with pre-configured settings, which can be accessed from a dropdown in the Teams calendar.