April Fool’s Day 2020 the New Deadline
Update: July 1: Microsoft has now dropped the idea of charging users for priority notifications and will instead consider this feature to be part of the base product.
In June 2019, Microsoft introduced Priority Notifications, the ability to mark a message in a 1:1 chat as urgent. When a message is urgent, Teams continues to notify the recipient every two minutes for a period of 20 minutes until they read the message (Figure 1). Common scenarios envisaged for the feature include notifying a doctor about an important case or flagging an issue to an on-call engineer.
In essence, an urgent message nags the recipient until they read it. Opening the Chats app is not enough to stop the two-minute clock, and priority notifications are delivered even when a user’s presence is set to Do Not Disturb.
Charging for Priority Notifications
Microsoft’s charging model allows enterprise Teams users (with Office 365 E3 or E5 or equivalent licenses) to be able to send as many priority notifications as they like while restricting frontline workers (with F1 or equivalent licenses) to five priority notifications per month. If frontline workers need to send more, Microsoft will charge per message. Obviously, Microsoft believes that priority notifications will be popular with frontline workers who use the Teams Shifts app to advise workers of shift changes, the need to staff positions, and so on. Users are not charged to receive priority notifications.
Microsoft hasn’t disclosed how much they plan to charge and the lack of clarity on this point (plus the need to create a robust charging mechanism) is what has probably caused them to push back the starting point for charging from December 31, 2019 to April 1, 2020 (see Office 365 notification MC199161).
Microsoft refers to the non-charging period as a “promotion.” You might also think of it as an introductory offer to help tenants with frontline workers understand how they might use (and pay for) priority notifications.
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