Microsoft Races to Match Zoom Meeting Capabilities with Teams Advanced Communications


Microsoft Teams on Android Phone

Scrambling to match Zoom’s capacity to host up to 1,000 interactive video meeting participants, the answer from Microsoft is Teams Advanced Communications.

Launched during this month’s Enterprise Connect virtual conference, Advanced Communications is an optional SKU to commercial Microsoft 365 subscriptions. It will cost $12 per month, per user on top of Microsoft 365 subscriptions. Microsoft is offering 60-day free trials.

Advanced Communications is the only option Microsoft is offering for Teams customers who need to scale to 1,000 meeting participants. Microsoft emphasized that it will not offer Advanced Communications without Microsoft 365 subscriptions.

While the Microsoft Teams Advanced Communications option is available now, the company released it with minimal features. Notably, the software giant has not yet turned on the option for up to 1,000 meeting participants. Microsoft said that option, among other new capabilities, will come to Teams Advanced Communications later this year.

Microsoft's Nicole Herskowitz

Microsoft’s Nicole Herskowitz

“Advanced communications [is] a new offering designed to help our customers scale teams to a whole new level, while maintaining professionalism and IT control,” said Nicole Herskowitz, general manager for Microsoft Teams, during an Enterprise Connect session.

Currently, the maximum number of participants that can attend an interactive Teams video conference is 300. Zoom already supports up to 1,000 interactive attendees, and up to 20,000 can attend a view-only session. When Microsoft delivers the complete Advanced Communications option, Teams will be on par with Zoom’s meeting participant limit.

Microsoft’s road map as of Aug, 21 showed support for 1,000 Microsoft Teams attendees might not arrive until December. A spokeswoman said the company does not have an official release date for that feature.

We recently broke down 12 new Microsoft Teams virtual meeting features.

While coveted features remain in development, the Advanced Communications option released this month allows 20,000 view-only participants for live events. The subsequent update will allow 20,000 to also participate in meetings in view-only mode.

Other Teams Advanced Communications Features

Besides expanding the capacity of participants, Teams Advanced Communications will eventually include another Zoom feature: support for branded meeting lobbies.

Advanced Communications will also enable integration of calling workflows into communications systems. Furthermore, it will provide monitoring, tracking and analysis of data to track performance on devices.

Further out, Microsoft said it will add tools to build other customizations and communications improvements. the company walked back a misstatement that Advanced Communications would include compliance recording and communications data loss prevention (DLP). But Microsoft now offers APIs that will allow integration compliance recording and contact center platforms.

However, partners have lamented that such APIs are usually free. Among them is Matt Landis, CEO of Landis Technologies, a Microsoft gold certified partner.

Partners Critique License Fees

In a recent blog, Landis, who welcomed the features that Advanced Communications ultimately will include, questioned the …

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