If remote meeting capabilities were a “nice to have” perk before Covid, the pandemic made it a “must have” for the vast majority of companies. For companies already using the Microsoft platform, it made sense to increase their use of Microsoft Teams to make it easier to hold meetings with clients and colleagues “face-to-face” without being in the same physical location. In addition to enabling people to work-from-home, MS Teams is a user-friendly program that provides a structured way for employees to communicate and collaborate with each other.
While the pandemic is finally waning, hybrid work remains at least partially fixed in the culture of many companies that are seeking ways to adapt to this change while still remaining productive, efficient, and profitable. Microsoft is just one of many software companies dedicating time and resources to upgrading their solutions to meet and exceed the needs and expectations of their customers.
The biggest Microsoft Teams news is the recent introduction of Microsoft Teams Premium, giving virtual meetings a huge upgrade. Let’s explore some of the key new Microsoft Teams features included in MS Teams Premium and how they are going to change the way companies manage and run their Microsoft Teams meetings and events.
Microsoft Teams Premium – New Features
Microsoft is constantly improving MS Teams and adding new features to make the product even more indispensable to users. In 2022, they added 400 new features, but the newest upgrade really takes the cake with the incorporation of AI technology – specifically the same technology used in ChatGPT – into Microsoft Teams Premium.
Here is a rundown of the key new features:
New AI-based features will completely change the way people use Microsoft Teams for work meetings. An MS Teams – ChatGPT collaboration provides “intelligent recap,” which uses GPT3.5 to record online meeting notes and then suggest action items and task assignments based on the notes. It will also include personalized time markers visible only to each individual user. This means each person will be able to see when they joined and left the meeting and can scroll directly to watch the recording or read the notes from any parts they may have missed. Users will also be able to see whenever their names were mentioned in the online meeting recap, making it easier to keep track of any tasks that may have been assigned to them.
Global businesses often have meetings that involve employees in different countries who speak different languages. With MS Teams Premium, meetings can be translated in real-time into 40 languages. Each participant can choose the language that s/he wishes to see in the captions, ensuring that everyone understands what is happening in each meeting. Only the meeting host is required to have the premium version for this feature to work.
Microsoft Teams business uses include many different types of meetings – internal team meetings, company-wide training sessions, one-on-ones, client calls and more. People tend to just use the default meeting settings even if they aren’t necessarily optimal for the type of meeting being held. The administrative tools in Microsoft Teams for managers will enable them to create templates defining the specific settings for each type of meeting. Then, employees simply choose the type of online meeting they are creating and the correct settings will be applied.
Security and Privacy
Security and privacy concerns are a challenge for companies when virtual and hybrid meetings take place, and safeguards must be put in place to ensure that confidential information isn’t leaked or accessible to hackers. MS Teams Premium includes a feature that allows documents to be watermarked to prevent people from sharing links. In addition, limits can be placed on who is allowed to record the meeting and end-to-end encryption can also be applied.
Companies have been spending money on add-on solutions to make virtual appointments more efficient. There is no longer a need for this extra expense, as Microsoft Teams Premium includes the ability to send clients a meeting link via text or email. They simply click the link and can enter a branded virtual lobby or waiting room before the meeting starts with no need to download an app. This feature also provides metrics so companies can track things like how long clients are waiting for meetings to start or no-show rates.
Webinar capability is also upgraded in MS Teams Premium, also reducing the need to purchase add-on software. A virtual green room is available for presenters to wait before it’s their turn. The presenters and host are able to interact with each other or even do a dry run without entering the main webinar space, which can accommodate up to 1,000 viewers. The presenters are also given more control over what viewers see during the webinar, making it look much more professional and engaging.
MS Enterprise Content Delivery Network (eCDN)
MS eCDN will now be fully integrated into MS Teams Premium, offering a seamless and secure way to live stream company-wide gatherings and trainings. This technology will reduce the load on the corporate network and ensure that everyone sees high quality video wherever they are located without the need to install any additional software.
Benefits of MS Teams Premium
Upgrading to Premium will offer significant benefits to businesses in several different ways:
- Improved Meeting Quality – regardless of the type of meeting – internal or external – connecting to a meeting will be seamless and the video and audio quality will be higher.
- Increased Accessibility and Inclusivity – the live translation feature will enable employees and clients from all over the world to participate in meetings in their mother tongue.
- Enhanced Collaboration and Engagement – ChatGPT integrations will enable people to see when their names were mentioned in meetings and in what context, making it easy for them to know who to follow-up with and which team members to collaborate with.
- Time and Cost-Savings – the intelligent recap feature will automate meeting minutes, immediately saving significant employee time. Although Microsoft Teams pricing for Premium is more expensive – $10 per user per month as opposed to the current $4 per user per month – the additional cost will be made up for in savings on add-on softwares that are no longer necessary as well as staff time that would otherwise be spent on deciphering meeting minutes to determine follow-up actions.
Getting the Most Out of MS Teams Premium
As Microsoft’s Nick Herskowitz said: “Now – more than ever – organizations need solutions to adapt to change, improve productivity, and reduce costs.” This is exactly what Microsoft has set out to do with MS Teams Premium. Companies will be able to continue to embrace the remote and hybrid work culture while becoming more productive and providing employees and clients alike with a seamless and branded user experience.
Cutting down on the number of different solutions needed for webinars or larger online gatherings, as well as saving significant employee time will result in valuable cost savings and an increased bottom line. If you haven’t yet, now is the time to explore the new and improved MS Teams Premium and uplevel your online and virtual meetings.
Improving Your MS Teams Experience with LeapXpert
The LeapXpert Communications Platform integrates seamlessly with Microsoft Teams via our mobile and desktop app. Through native integration, Teams users can communicate with clients through messaging channels in a compliant and secure way. Find out more about how LeapXpert can help you maximize your use of Microsoft Teams while remaining fully compliant with all laws and regulations.
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