Microsoft to Enable Teams Recordings and Transcription for VOIP and PSTN Calls

Plugging a Gap in Teams Recording

In April 2021, Microsoft introduced a new setting in the Teams calling policy to control the ability of users to make 1:1 calls. The AllowCloudRecordingForCalls setting is now being leveraged to help plug a gap in the Teams call recording story. Message center notification MC279469 (updated August 24, Microsoft 365 roadmap item 83947) describes the capability to record and transcribe 1:1 Voice over IP (VOIP) and telephone (PSTN) calls. Until now, Teams users could record 1:1 calls with other Teams users. This announcement extends coverage to 1:1 VOIP and PSTN calls made using the Teams Phone system (which implies that users have a calling plan).

The need for PSTN calling varies from organization to organization. As Ståle Hansen argues in his article “Is PSTN connectivity for Teams relevant in 2021,” the fact that some 80 million people now use the Teams Phone system monthly indicates a strong demand for this capability, especially in businesses which depend on the phone for customer contact.

According to Microsoft, being able to record and transcribe these calls is a critical feature, saying “In absence of chat, PSTN callees do not have a way to view call recordings and transcriptions.” I think they mean that although you can’t note decisions and pass messages in chat in a PSTN call, you’ll at least be able to note important points in the spoken discussion and have those points captured in a transcript that’s available and can be shared afterwards.

Deployment begins to commercial and GCC tenants in late September and should be completed by mid-October. GCC High and DoD must wait another month.

Teams Calling Policy Requirements

To record calls and generate transcripts of calls to VOIP or PSTN numbers, the calling policy assigned to Teams user accounts must have the following settings enabled:

  • AllowCloudRecordingForCalls: Controls if the user can record PSTN and VOIP calls. By default, the setting is True.
  • AllowTranscriptionForCalling: Controls if the user can generate a transcript of a call. By default, the setting is False.

For example, to update the default Teams calling policy to allow users to record calls and generate transcripts, the command is:

Set-CsTeamsCallingPolicy -Identity Global –AllowCloudRecordingForCalls $True -AllowTranscriptionForCalling $True

A meeting recording is stored in the OneDrive for Business account of the user who records the call. It is available in the call history and call details panel. Teams creates the transcript in the same way as it does for other meeting recordings and the transcript is also available in the call history and call details panel. The recording owner can remove the recording if necessary (or recordings, if they record multiple segments of a call).

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