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Teams Essentials, the first standalone offering by Microsoft is now available

Longer Meeting Times, Bigger Room Capacities, Increased  Storage and Live Support… all at a very reasonable price!


Good news! 

If there’s anyone who had it harder than others during the Covid-19 experience, it’s small businesses. Nearly every aspect of operations quickly needed major adjustments regarding staff, remote workers, scheduling, and most of all, technology in place. 

While very hesitant to spend on technology for good reason, it was the access to critical tools and technologies that forged the path, noting these small businesses/groups needed solutions designed specifically for their own unique needs. 

“What affordable set of tools could quickly be put in place
that would allow remote employees the same user experience
on any Internet device, from any location?” 

Come to find out, it was largely how you answered this question about providing “technical equality” that would dictate your success in this “new normal” business climate. 

And the right answer, more times than not, was Microsoft Teams.  

Well, I Already Have Free Teams, what is Teams Essentials? 


Microsoft Teams saw an increase of 75 million users throughout the pandemic, bringing their total up to 145 million users who chose the familiar platform for their communication and collaboration needs.  
Source: The Verge 

But as time went on, it became apparent that a single version of Microsoft Teams didn’t really fit everyone’s unique needs and led to the development and subsequent release of their first standalone Teams offering, which they named Essentials.   

Microsoft Teams Essentials, this first offering of Microsoft Teams was designed specifically with small to medium businesses and unique groups in mind.  It brings together the same fantastic features as the original, combining these with great benefits, live support, bigger storage space and increased use/time limits.  Some companies are finding this very helpful in their quest to better serve clients and to provide for all hybrid, remote and on-site employees.  These functions include group chat, file sharing, calendaring and even unlimited group video calls for up to 30 hours.   

And what’s more, it’s priced really, really well.  Contact us at In the Cloud Tech to see what kind of price fits your needs. We are finding that Teams Essentials absolutely, without question, is by far the best and most affordable all-in-one communications and collaboration solution available. 

Ok, How is it Built Differently? 


To begin with, all businesses from suppliers to retail to service oriented efforts can easily get together to meet, collaborate, communicate, and work with their clients in many new ways that were designed to thwart all sorts of issues brought about by the pandemic.
 

One example provided by Microsoft was a UK based dental practice who like many of us, just started incorporating in Teams functionality last year.  Now, with Virtual consultations and real-time 365 collaboration with peers, the Bristol UK company (Bristol Dental Specialists), reports delivering faster, friendlier, and more cost-effective patient care with Microsoft Teams. 

“We chose Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams
as our workplace productivity tools
because they help us spend more time with our patients
and communicate effectively with colleagues both inside and outside the practice.” 


– Dr. Ben Cross: Specialist Orthodontist and Founding Partner 

Bristol Dental Specialists 

These needs and functionality are not limited to traditional for-profit companies, as affordable tools in communication are incredibly important for nonprofits, religious groups, education and even community groups who also struggled to get together and collaborate.  These groups all have/had one thing in common, the need to get back to fully operational quickly, while also having a minimal IT staff to do it.  

The lack of internal IT expertise was not a problem, as Teams Essentials was developed to allow companies to get up and running very fast.  It enabled everyone (those with and without a Teams account) to participate both easily and effectively, and more importantly, without compromising security. 

“Communication is so important, and with Teams,
we’re working together better than ever to provide patients
with a standard of care that really sets us apart.”
 


– Rebecca Metcalfe, Senior Treatment Coordinator, 

Bristol Dental Specialists  

To be perfectly clear, the free version of Microsoft Teams is still available, but Teams Essentials offers extended limits like longer meetings, the capacity for more people, live support and more secure storage.  To see what would benefit your organization the most, let’s take a closer look at how Teams Essentials can better support your business needs. 

Teams Essentials, Teams Essentials, the first standalone offering by Microsoft is now available


Expansive Limits and Simple Features = Professional Meetings
 


Working closely with clients, partners, and employees can be a frustrating challenge without the right communications and collaboration tools.  Like trying to collaborate live in 365 through Zoom for example.  Just not going to happen.  But with Teams Essentials, it’s as easy as opening a file during a meeting.  Based on this notion, Teams Essentials combines the best of existing Teams capabilities with new features and limits specifically for those businesses and community groups who felt as if Free Teams did not really fit their needs. 

Essentials upgrades include:

  • Extended meeting times — With meetings that can last up to 30 hours, there’s no worrying about Teams Essentials meeting running over its time limit, whether you’re meeting one-on-one or in a group.
  • Large meeting capacity — With the ability to host up to 300 people at once, Teams Essentials offers the ability to bring everyone into the same virtual meeting space.
  • Additional cloud storage — Running out of storage or wasting time searching for documents has been solved by Teams Essentials. Easily co-author, view, edit, and store Office 365 files on a total of 10 gigabytes (GB) file storage, which is twice the amount of storage available in the free version of Teams.
  • Support from Microsoft—Teams Essentials is backed by Microsoft and runs in the Azure cloud. This means security, reliability, performance, and support. Microsoft is here to help with the technology you need—within your budget. 

Teams Essentials, Teams Essentials, the first standalone offering by Microsoft is now available


Hmmm . . .  So What Will I Need? What Do I Get?
 


Microsoft Teams Essentials brings together the all best of Teams with meetings, chat, calling, collaboration and can connect to your existing email system to provide an integrated experience.  Imagine having all Teams notifications in your existing email inbox, all calendar events in the Teams layout, all the 365 programs ready and waiting for collaboration, video meetings to all your contacts with one click and the ability to sign into Teams with your existing email address.
  Wouldn’t that be helpful?  To have everything in one place?  That could be accessed from any location on most any Internet device? 

You might just say it were some sort of ‘bringing together’ or ‘unification’ of all your communications. One that would result in ‘Technical Equality’ for all your employees, because they all had exactly the same tools and user experience every time.

Once connected you can see responses to scheduled meetings and invitations to collaborate in your mailbox as well as in Teams. You can also view and interact with incoming meetings from your Teams calendar whether they are using third party meeting software or Teams. 

Teams Essentials is a key solution for organizations with more than 100 user meetings that the traditional Teams allows, whether they’re using on-premises or hosted Exchange – to bolster communications through Teams Phone Systems or Calling Plans, or to serve as a communications hub for frontline works. 

How and Where Do I Get This Microsoft Essentials? 


Microsoft Teams Essentials is available from In the Cloud Tech, just call us at 888-603-1033 or visit our website at inthecloudtech.net. 
 

Customers looking to use Microsoft Teams for personal use can get access to these same features and extended meeting limits with a Microsoft 365 Family and Microsoft 365 Personal subscription. 

Microsoft is committed to providing technologies that power business core needs. That’s why they built Teams Essentials and recently announced strong, expanded security offerings for small and medium businesses/groups, designed to help businesses with low IT staff to protect against ransomware and other cyberthreats.  

With Teams Essentials, Microsoft is excited and pleased to have rolled out this first offering and to take another step in their commitment to enable businesses to collaborate securely from virtually anywhere. 

Plan, Deploy and Use Teams Essentials 


When you’ve completed these above tasks, you’re ready to plan, deploy, and use the Teams app.
 

  • Install the Teams app – Install the Teams client on your PC or mobile device by going to Download Microsoft Teams and selecting an option under Teams for home. Ensure that you’ve downloaded a Teams for home option as Teams for work and school are not compatible with Teams Essentials. Screenshot of Teams for home download option.
  • Get Familiar with Teams – The best way to become familiar with Teams is to start using it right away. Take some time to explore the application so you have a better understanding of its capabilities.
  • Plan for adoption – For businesses, planning for user adoption can be as simple as individually showing your users how to use Teams. Often, business customers don’t consider this step for new applications, which negatively affects the application’s success and adoption.  Here at In the Cloud Tech, we’ve taken it a step further as every Teams Integration/Migration, Cloud Project, Managed Service or Teams Telephony project, comes with included adoption training time and resources to ensure the most successful launch possible.
  • Manage Teams Essentials – Like the free version of Microsoft Teams, you have a limited admin role as the first person to sign up for Teams Essentials in your organization. You can add and remove team members and specify whether anyone can invite other members with this role, but you won’t have advanced administrative capabilities or access to the Microsoft Teams admin center. 

Upgrade from a free version of Microsoft Teams 


If your organization is using a free version of Microsoft Teams, you can easily upgrade to the Teams Essentials version by purchasing a plan for your users directly in Teams.
 

Upgrade Requirements 


You can upgrade to Microsoft Teams Essentials if you’re the person who signed up for the existing Teams free subscription. In the free version of Microsoft Teams, the first person who signed up for Teams in your organization has a limited admin role.
 

Keep In Mind, There Are Some Limitations… 


Keep the following limitations in mind:
 

  • You can’t switch back to Teams (free) after you upgrade. 
  • You can’t merge multiple Teams (free) tenants into a single paid tenant. 
  • All users must be in the same domain. (All users will get a login in the format username@domain.com.) 
  • All users must be upgraded: a mix of Teams (free) and paid subscription users in the same tenant isn’t supported. 

HOW DOES MICROSOFT TEAMS ESSENTIALS COMPARE TO OTHER MICROSOFT TEAMS PLANS? 

Microsoft Teams Plan 

Microsoft Teams (free) 

Microsoft Teams Essentials 

Microsoft Teams Essentials (AAD Identity) 

Microsoft 365 Business Basic 

Feature 

 

 

 

 

Meeting and Calling 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Unlimited group meetings 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

 

Unlimited 1:1 calls 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Group meeting participant capacity 

100 

300 

300 

300 

Group meeting duration 

60 minutes 

30 hours 

30 hours 

30 hours 

Screen sharing 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Customized Backgrounds 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Live transcription 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Schedule meetings 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Calendar app 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Together mode 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Live reaction 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Noise suppression 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Meeting attendees can join meetings without an account 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Send meeting invites to a phone number 

Yes 

Yes 

 

 

Meeting recordings & transcripts 

 

 

Yes 

Yes 

Real-time translation 

 

 

Yes 

Yes 

Breakout rooms 

 

 

Yes 

Yes 

Whiteboard 

 

 

Yes 

Yes 

Host webinars that include attendee registration pages, email confirmations, and reporting. 

 

 

 

Available in Business Standard 

Chat and collaboration 

 

 

 

 

Unlimited chat (private & group) 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Real-time collaboration in Office apps 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Guest access: Chat w/anyone inside & outside your company 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Polls 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Group chat templates 

Yes 

Yes 

 

 

Teams and Channels 

 

 

Yes 

Yes 

Productivity apps and services 

 

 

 

 

File & document cloud storage (per user) 

5 GB 

10 GB 

10 GB 

1 TB 

Word, Excel, PowerPoint web & mobile apps 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Google calendar sync 

Coming soon 

Coming soon 

Yes¹ 

Yes¹ 

App Extensibility (250+ integrated apps & services) 

 

 

Yes 

Yes 

Exchange email hosting with customer email domain address 

 

 

2 GB² 

50 GB 

Security and compliance 

 

 

 

 

Microsoft Teams data encryption at rest and in transit 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Yes 

Single sign-on to all services 

 

 

Yes 

Yes 

Administration and support 

 

 

 

 

Administration tools for managing users, apps, settings & policies 

 

 

Yes 

Yes 

Migrate existing data & users to Microsoft 365 

 

 

Yes 

Yes 

Ability to add-on services including Audio Conferencing & Teams Phone 

 

 

Yes 

Yes 

1 Provides connection to Google Calendar and other 3rd party calendars with the following configuration: Microsoft Teams Essentials (AAD Identity) Configuration Guide 

2 Teams Essentials (AAD Identity) through partner includes 2GB Exchange mailbox and no archiving, allowing users to sync with third party email providers. 

Want to Know More About Teams Essentials?

Contact Us for More Information.

Teams Essentials May Be For You!

Get Technical Equality for all Employees through Unified Communications.
Teams Essentials

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Cloud eBook whitepaper - Top 6 Strategies of Unified Communications as a Service, register to download.
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Cloud eBook whitepaper - Top 10 Benefits of Unified Communications as a Service, register to download.
Top 10 Benefits of Unified Communications
Cloud eBook whitepaper - Top 6 Strategies of Digital Transformation, register to download.
Top 6 Strategies of Digital Transformation