Is Microsoft Teams Premium the next best thing? Does Microsoft bring us new surprises?

Are you aware that over 1 million organizations use Teams globally? Neither did we, but we found out at the recent Microsoft Ignite 2022 event. The constant growth of Teams is in the sheer number of features (450 added in the last year alone) native integration with the rest of the Microsoft 365 suite, but also compatibility with many other solutions and devices from other vendors.

In less than 5 years, Teams has reached over 270 million active users and has become the centerpiece of Microsoft’s portfolio. At Ignite 2022, Teams had a dedicated section where they showcased new features, the ability to use avatars, etc. But the main news was the launch of Teams Premium, an add-on that takes advantage of all the suite’s features and additionally offers advanced options for customizing the communication experience, more intelligent capabilities, collaboration options and security.
But let’s take them one by one:

The key element that brings Teams Premium to this level is the so-called „Meeting guides” – pre-configured Microsoft settings customized by internal IT with which end-users can quickly and simply choose and use the „template” they need – a 1:1 meeting, a brainstorming session, a team meeting, a meeting with managers, etc.
In addition, Teams Premium offers even more options for customizing the interface, by adding logos, changing the background and virtual spaces where interactions take place, etc.

In the area of intelligent functionality – to which Microsoft is paying increasing attention – the following stand out:

Intelligent recap – automatically structures the recording by speakers and topics covered, accompanied by specific time cues (for example, when a participant’s name is mentioned or when an image is shared, etc.) – useful functionality for users who could not attend a meeting. This allows participants to search the recordings and access only the sequences that interest them. In turn, the search engine provides customized suggestions, making it easier to find relevant information quickly.
Automatic task recommendation, generation and allocation – using Machine Learning algorithms – works like a virtual assistant to ensure that no necessary task is forgotten.
Live Translations – provides real-time subtitled translations in 40 languages. If the virtual meeting organizers have a Teams Premium License, all participants can benefit from live translated subtitles.

An important new element in the collaboration area is the advanced webinar options. Thus, in addition to the basic functionalities available, in Office 365 and Microsoft 365, Teams Premium brings in addition the possibility to use a registration waiting list, where approvals are done manually, automatic sending of reminder emails, creation of a dedicated virtual room for moderators and presenters, image control options accessible to participants, etc.

For Business-to-Consumer (B2C) virtual sessions, Teams Premium comes with advanced scheduling and meeting confirmation options (initiated by the organization or at the client’s request), automatic SMS reminders, virtual space customization possibilities, follow-up tools, monitoring and tracking of all appointments, analysis of results, etc.

The main enhancement is advanced protection for sessions where confidential or business-critical information is transmitted, such as board or top-management meetings, preparations for a new product launch, financial reporting meetings, etc. Teams Premium offers the possibility to use watermark technology to block information leaks, limit recording rights of interactions, etc.

Microsoft 365 E5 users can also use the complementary Microsoft Purview Information Protection tagging system to protect the content of virtual sessions held with Teams Premium. (Microsoft 365 customers have the option to use Teams Premium as an additional license).

Teams Premium is aimed at organizations that want to make the most of their virtual meetings with smart features, personalizing interactions and making them more secure. The add-on will be available as a preview from December, with an official market launch next February.

We are looking forward into the next best thing from Microsoft.


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