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Microsoft Teams to Charge for Call Recording, Contact Center API

News item: August 4, 2020

The new model includes a license for call recording, a contact center API, and other ‘advanced’ features.

At Microsoft Inspire, collaboration giant Microsoft stealthily launched a new licensing model called “Advanced Communications.” On the popular Microsoft Teams-themed blog Tom TalksTom Arbuthnot, Principal Solutions Architect, Modality Systemsand Microsoft Certified Master/MVP, said that Angela Donohue, Group Product Marketing Manager, Microsoft Teams at Microsoft, confirmed the new licensing model will be available on August 1, 2020. I reached out to Arbuthnot, who told me what the new model means for Teams users across the globe. He expanded, adding:

“This new license means that each user who needs advanced meeting features, call recordings, contact center APIs, has to pay extra”

He did note, as limited information is available, meeting features might only apply to a small assortment of users in an organization. “Many regulated companies have high numbers of compliance recorded users and it looks like they might all need Microsoft’s new Advanced Communication license. They’d also have to pay for a third-party certified solution to collect, store, process, and manage call recordings.”

This will have an impact on a company’s return on investment (ROI) for organizations migrating to Microsoft Teams for telephony, Arbuthnot cautioned. Microsoft’s fresh licensing model will cost $12 per user, per month Arbuthnot confirmed. When the new model’s made available in August, some users cannot immediately access all the features, but here are some of the features that will be available come the August 1, 2020 launch date.

  • Compliance Recording Graph API Access: Includes access to the compliance/policy call recording Graph API. Third-party products required to connect to the API and record sessions
  • Contact Center solution Graph API Access: An API that supports contact center integration for licensed users. A third party contact center solution, still needed
  • Live’ event of up to 20K participants: Up to 50 concurrent meetings per tenant, 16 hours in length

Post-launch, other customers can access extra tools and communications enhancements set to appear throughout 2020 including:

  • 1,000-person interactive Teams meetings: Traditional Teams meetings will allow up to 1,000 participants
  • Large overflow meetings: Up to 20,000 attendee large meetings (up to 1,000 in interactive mode and up to 20,000 in ‘view-only’ live event mode presented in a single meeting
  • Customized lobby: Controls and custom branded meeting lobby

For access to meeting features, meeting organizers need to have a license, while attendees do not need a license. One of the other downsides to the new features, they do not meet the communications compliance standards for Teams chats. “Communications DLP isn’t included in Advanced Communications. You will need the relevant E5 or Microsoft 365 E5 Compliance add-on to E3 to enable this functionality.”

Those in the commercial, public, education and non-profit sectors, along with those in the enterprise industry can take advantage of the upcoming offer. What’s your take on Microsoft’s latest move? While the features offer a lot of flexibility for users, they are not great for companies looking for a single solution to do everything an organization needs. They also require companies to spend money on several third-party solutions for them to function.

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