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28 August 2020

Microsoft launches the Advanced Communications licence

By: Geomant

Update 18th October 2020: Microsoft has changed this licence. Microsoft Teams Recording API and Contact Center API no longer require Advanced Communications Licence. More details here.

With the established world of communications and collaboration being disrupted during the lockdown, and new ways of working becoming quickly established, there has been increasing pressure on Microsoft to add additional features to Teams.

The rapid development of Teams

As more and more organizations turned to the platform to help them make the best of challenges they had never faced before, it was predictable that the most forward-thinking businesses would demand even more from the technologies available.

Most would agree that Microsoft have risen to this challenge. Now, it seems, the introduction of the new Advanced Communications licence is a sign that Microsoft needs to recoup some of the investment required to bring this additional capability to the market.

What is the Advanced Communications licence?

On August 1, Microsoft launched their new Advanced Communications licence. This is a new Microsoft Teams add-on SKU that is available at $12 per user per month.

The licence comes with a selection of new features. These include the ability to significantly scale the number of participants in a Teams Live Event. With a Teams Advanced Communications License, users will be able to host up to 20,000 participants at events. There is also the promise that additional tools and communications enhancements will be added going forward.

The other two features available with the licence at launch are compliance recording integration and contact center solution integration. This gives access to the APIs which Microsoft has provided to allow third-party software developers (ISVs) to offer Teams Recording and Contact Center functionality.

Who needs to purchase this licence?

With the scaled-up Live Event feature, only the organizer will need the add-on licence. In most cases, this should just be a small number of Teams users within any company.

But, with the API features, the need for the licence is more all-encompassing. Everyone who needs to be recorded and anyone using the contact center application will be required to have a licence. For a regulated organization, or a business with many front-line staff, this could include a significant proportion of their Teams users.

Additional cost that needs to be considered

This API charge is a clear example of how Microsoft plan to recoup at least some of their investment in Teams, going forward. Organizations who wish to add third-party extensions to the platform will be those most affected by this new development.

From now on, all businesses will need to take into account this additional cost when developing the business case for Teams Recording and Teams Contact Center.


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