Microsoft has unveiled pricing details for some advanced features in its popular Teams communication and collaboration platform. Specifically, Teams users will now have to pay for options that allow recording, transcription, and analysis of meetings and video conferences. While aimed at business users, the per-minute costs could incentivize more succinct meetings.
Recording Video Conferences
One of the new paid features is the ability to record Teams video conference calls. This could be useful for companies that want to archive meetings for future reference or share with employees who couldn’t attend live.
Using Microsoft’s recording API, users can record a Teams video call and save it as an MP4 file. The cost for this will be $0.03 per minute of recording.
Consider a one-hour video conference call with 10 participants. That would incur a fee of $18 to record and access the one-hour MP4 file.
In addition to recording, Teams will charge for using its speech-to-text capabilities to transcribe video conferences. This automated transcription can turn the spoken audio into text transcripts.
The transcription API will cost $0.024 per minute. The output is a VTT file that contains the transcript organized by speaker and timestamp.
Microsoft says this structured transcript data can help users search and analyze the contents of a meeting more efficiently. The per-participant timestamping allows tracking of individual contributions and levels of engagement.
The transcription API can also generate supplemental metadata like the mood and engagement levels of participants. Microsoft provides documentation on interpreting these metrics, which could allow analysis like:
- Which parts of a meeting had high or low engagement?
- Were participants more positive or negative overall?
- Who contributed most or least?
This could help managers assess meeting effectiveness and participation.
The features are currently in public preview with general availability expected later this year. While per-minute pricing may seem trivial, costs add up quickly with frequent usage. The fees give enterprises another factor to consider in optimizing their Teams workflows.
And during an era of increased remote work, it provides some incentives — albeit minor — for avoiding bloated and inefficient meetings. The per-minute billing means bosses may think twice before letting meetings run excessively long.