The increase in demand for online conferencing tools has been exponential in the past few years. According to a Grand View report on video conferencing statistics, the market is projected to grow from 2021 to 2028 to reach a CAGR of 11.4%.
Growth of the work from home culture is one of the major reasons for this sudden increase in demand for collaboration tools. Teams can collaborate and work on projects together even remotely with online conferencing platforms.
Microsoft Teams is one such popular platform for online conferencing. The company reported hitting the 250 million monthly active user milestone by mid-2021. For businesses, MS Teams platform is offered in the form of Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Microsoft 365 Essentials, and Microsoft 365 Business Standard plans.
Why There Is an Increased Demand for Microsoft Teams Essentials?
Managing operations and flourishing in such challenging conditions has been the hardest for small businesses. Understanding the requirements and budget of small businesses, Microsoft introduced the highly affordable, standalone Microsoft Teams Essentials plan.
The all-in-one plan is an upgraded version of the free MS Teams version with features like calendaring, longer group meetings, more cloud storage, etc.
Now, small businesses can meet their core collaboration needs and ensure customer satisfaction by opting for this plan. This blog discusses the unique features of MS Teams Essentials for small business owners.
10 Unique Features of Microsoft Teams Essentials
Microsoft Teams Essentials comes as a combined solution for chatting, audio and video calling to streamline communication and save time. In addition, it can connect with existing business tools for project management to help employees stay organized and work efficiently.
Some of the key features of Microsoft Teams Essentials for small organizations are:
- Meeting Capacity
In the Essentials plan, you can host up to 300 participants simultaneously compared to just 100 in the free plan. This capacity extension allows you to conduct department-level and company-wide meetings.
All the employees at different organizational levels can be in the same virtual room and interact with each other directly. Anyone with or without a Teams account can join the meeting through a web browser.
- Meeting Duration
Businesses do not have to worry about exceeding the meeting time limit of an hour with the MS Essentials edition. You can have one-on-one discussions or group meetings lasting up to 30 hours on MS Teams. It becomes easier for employees to collaborate remotely during work hours via meetings.
- Cloud Storage
MS Teams Essentials offers 10 GB of cloud storage to help users store, view, edit, or co-author Office 365 files. This is double the amount of storage available in the free version to store all your content in a single place. It decreases the likelihood of problems like running out of storage.
- Administration and Support
Businesses can set up the Teams Essentials system quickly without the need for any IT expertise. Team Essentials runs in Microsoft Azure cloud to ensure reliability, security, support, and high performance.
You can get it to run instantly after setup. With MS Teams Essentials, you can also get 24*7 support from the Microsoft tech team via the phone or Web.
- Integration with Calendar
You can plan your schedule better by integrating Teams with not just Outlook Calendar but also Google Calendar, which is a default option on many devices.
This integration helps in effectively managing daily, weekly, and monthly meetings. In addition, Microsoft plans to soon introduce Google Calendar integration as part of the Teams Essentials edition.
- Group Chat Template
You can boost your productivity and save time by using the group chat template. This option allows small businesses to quickly start group projects, assign tasks, host meetings, and get feedback via polls.
In addition, it works as a comprehensive collaboration hub to work on projects with anyone without having to switch between different applications for separate tasks. This option will soon be introduced in both desktop and Web versions of the Teams platform.
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- Meeting Invites
MS Teams enables you to invite anyone to a meeting and ensures that they can join without any hassle. You just have to enter the email address of participants in the Teams meeting invitation. Both Skype and Outlook contacts can be imported.
The participants will receive a joining link for the meeting at their email address. Once a participant clicks on the joining link at the set day and time, the meeting will open directly in their web browser.
There is no need for them to spend time installing the Teams software or create a user account and sign in.
- Unlimited Chat Messages
MS Teams comes with an in-built chat option that enables you to communicate with other office employees as well as those outside the organization. It allows chat between personal and work accounts.
The tool supports sharing of files, images with alt descriptions, weblinks, and so on in unlimited chat messages. The limit on file attachments is 2GB/ user.
In group chats, you can have up to 300 participants. You can keep the chat ongoing during the meetings and after they end so that the conversation never breaks or loses context.
- Chat Dashboard
You can use the mobile chat dashboard to view and access all content shared in any one-on-one or group chat at once. The shared content is organized in distinct categories such as web links, files, images, upcoming events, locations, task lists, etc. This feature is offered by Microsoft to simply unlimited content searches.
- Additional Capabilities and Tools
MS Teams provides several features like customized virtual backgrounds, screen sharing, scheduled meetings, and noise suppression to enhance the professional meeting experience and make them more engaging.
Together mode allows users to view all members as live avatars in a virtual space with friendly backgrounds like a coffee shop. You can also access web versions of MS Office apps like Excel, Word, and PowerPoint via MS Teams.
In addition, employees can collaborate in real-time through the mobile apps of MS Office. Data is encrypted in transit and at rest to ensure security and compliance.
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If you want a cost-effective, professional, and user-friendly solution to collaborate virtually and securely from any location worldwide, the MS Teams platform is a great choice. Small organizations, both for-profit and otherwise, can purchase the Teams Essentials solution from Microsoft or Microsoft cloud partners.
You can pay on behalf of up to 50 users for one account and invite people via email by adding their names and email addresses in Microsoft admin center settings. In addition, there are MS Teams plans for customers who want to access the platform for personal use.