Do You Need Microsoft Advanced Communications Licenses for Large Meetings?
by Jim Lundy
The short answer is an emphatic YES. This week, Microsoft announced an additional service for Microsoft Teams that focuses on large meetings and recordings. The new service is called Advanced Communications and is an add-on service for Microsoft Teams targeted at very large meetings or very long meetings.
What Is Advanced Communications for Microsoft Teams?
Microsoft Advanced Communications (AC) is focused on large meetings that go beyond 1,000 people. While there are some clear benefits to the service, the new pricing has confused many enterprises. First let’s discuss what Advanced Communications offers:
• Meetings can go from 1,000 to 20,000 people once the license is enabled for an admin
• Meetings can have a lobby that is branded
• Allows up to 50 concurrent meetings
• Enables a meeting to last up to 16 hours
Teams and Live Events—Know Your Licensing and What You Need
With Microsoft, you need to be clear on what you need to have to do live events with Teams. Part of that is licensing. There is far too much to review in this blog, but see this reference for the basic overview from Microsoft.
Advanced Communications Pricing—Just Admins or Everyone?
Pricing is where Microsoft dived in very quickly without totally explaining all of the capabilities in the service. While education clients of Microsoft can use the service for free until October 1, commercial enterprises need to sign up right now and pay $12 per user per month. Microsoft points out that only admins need this license, but as with previous licensing issues with Skype for Business, we expect many other prices—so just buy the license for many users.
Making Money During COVID—A Tax on Schools and Universities
In the time of COVID, introducing this new service, which has new features as well as a price increase for Teams, isn’t the best move by Microsoft. By making AC free to all schools seeking educational solutions until October 1, Microsoft will hook them on using it and then start sending them the bill. The key issue for a school is the number of concurrent sessions. Any school that wants to do more than 50 live sessions with Teams will have to turn this on.
Advanced Communications is needed in the market, but there are many other enterprise video providers who can offer large broadcasts like what Microsoft is proposing for less money. Before diving in with both feet, enterprises need to consider alternative options.