Love them or loathe them, we’re spending more time in meetings than ever before. According to a 2021 study, the average professional spends over half their working week attending in-person and virtual catch-ups. And time spent in meetings seems to be increasing – probably as a consequence of ‘hybrid’ working patterns (what once might’ve been resolved with an informal chat, may now need a scheduled call with out-of-office staff).   

Given how much time we’re spending in meetings, it comes as no surprise that Microsoft launched Teams Premium this February – a new, paid-for video call environment with plenty of bells and whistles. Announced at last year’s Ignite conference, Teams Premium comes with several innovative and genuinely exciting capabilities. It also includes many features which were previously offered free as part of a regular Teams license, but which you’ll now have to pay for (it’ll cost around £8 per user, per month).  

Let’s learn more about what Teams Premium is and what it includes. And we’ll ask the all-important question: do you really need it?  

What is included in Teams Premium? 

Teams Premium provides all the same call, chat and collaboration features as the Teams platform you’ve been using up until now. It differs by adding several new capabilities and storage options, as well as bringing over some of the more advanced features which were previously included free with Teams.  

For a full list of Teams Premium features, check Microsoft’s website. But here’s what we think is most significant: 

Enhanced security 

Teams Premium offers multiple advances around security. Sensitive meetings and content can be ‘watermarked’, which is meant to deter leaking. You’ll get extra controls for meeting security (restrict who can record calls; use end-to-end encryption…). And you can apply sensitivity labels to meeting content with Microsoft Purview (a new information management service).  

AI-powered meetings 

After ChatGPT took the internet by storm last year, Microsoft’s investment OpenAI – the firm behind ChatGPT – seems to have seriously paid off. Teams Premium meetings will now get several ChatGPT-powered services that should make meeting admin less tedious. It can take meeting minutes, identify actions/tasks that are important to individuals, and generate meeting summaries. There’s also the ability to translate captions live – a great example of real-time translation 

More customer-friendly 

If you regularly use Teams to schedule calls with customers, then Teams Premium provides features that’ll make connecting with them a lot easier. You can schedule appointments via SMS, and allow people to join call via their mobile web browser (rather than having to download the Teams app).  

Bigger, better webinars 

Run lots of webinars? Then Teams Premium could be a worthwhile investment. It lets you deliver HD video to more attendees, comes with green rooms for presenters, better branding options, distraction-free presentations, reports and analytics on attendance, and much more. 

Potential benefits of Teams Premium 

So, is it really worth investing in Teams Premium? That answer will obviously depend on your organisation and context. But there are a few stand-out benefits to consider.  

Get more of what you need in one place 

If your organisation uses video call software heavily, there’s a good chance you’re paying for several add-ons and separate subscriptions for additional features you need. Arguably, Teams Premium could save you quite a lot of money by packaging more of those features into one bundle.  

Genuinely helpful AI 

The AI-powered features of Teams Premium seem genuinely very helpful – and could help ease a lot of the tedium and administrative work around meetings. Meeting summaries, task assignment, intelligent recaps and so on could make meetings more productive.  

Better security features 

No video call is ever going to be immune from security threats, leaking or spying. Still, we think the security improvements will make it just that much harder for people to record meetings or steal sensitive information and are therefore very welcome.  

Great for appointments 

People are using video call more often for all kinds of appointments – from GP visits to counselling to speaking with mortgage advisors. Features such as SMS reminders, scheduling tools, and the ability to customise meeting rooms can really help both customers and service providers.  

Do you really need Teams Premium? 

Teams Premium clearly comes with a lot of ‘bells and whistles’ that should make meetings, one-to-ones, appointments and webinars smoother and more productive. But do you really need it? Each organisation is different, but we think it can be especially useful for the following kinds of scenarios: 

Anyone who uses video call extensively in customer-facing scenarios 

As noted above, Teams Premium has a lot of additional features that really set it apart for appointments of various kinds. By letting you brand meeting rooms, customise meeting templates, send out SMS links and more, it can make the customer experience of interacting with your company a lot smoother and personalised.  

 Intensive users of video call services 

In companies with many remote workers, where staff spend a significant proportion of time on calls (say, more than a third of their working week), Teams Premium should be a consideration. Its AI features in particular should make all those calls more productive and efficient.  

 Anyone who runs lots of webinars 

To be sure, Teams Premium isn’t the only webinar service out there. But with its many new features, it can compete with more established brands. And if you use it for other kinds of chat and collaboration, it could make more sense to do it all with one subscription. 

Suggested: What tech do you need for hybrid work? 

Learn more

At FITTS, we can see a lot of potential benefits to using Teams Premium. While we certainly don’t think it’s necessary for every organisation, many would benefit from paying a little extra to get access to those advanced features – and have them all in one place.  

Interested in learning more about Teams Premium and what it could do for your business? Contact us today for a free consultation.