Outlook and Teams Premium Both Claim Sensitivity Label and Meeting Recap Features

But What the Two Products Will Deliver is Very Different

Among the features listed by Microsoft at the launch of the Teams Premium product at Ignite 2022 are sensitivity label support for Teams meetings and intelligent meeting recap. Sounds good, but then the Outlook team revealed that they will ship sensitivity support for Outlook meetings and a meeting recap feature among the set of new capabilities planned to be available to targeted release customers before the end of 2022.

Teams Premium

The Teams Premium product is currently slated to cost $10 user/month, yet Outlook appears to be about to deliver the same functionality at zero cost. Does that make sense? Actually, it does, but in a weird kind of way.

Teams and the Exchange Calendar

Teams depends on Exchange for its calendar. The Teams calendar app is built on top of the Exchange calendar, which handles the scheduling of meetings. Teams uses a deeplink to connect the scheduled events in the Exchange calendar to the online space used to host meetings. As far as Exchange is concerned, it delivers a scheduling capability for meetings and nothing more. What happens to extend that basic functionality is entirely under the control of the app that creates the extension. This is how Teams handles features like meeting roles, the lobby, and so on.

Outlook, Teams, Meetings, and Sensitivity Labels

Outlook will “provide the capability to apply sensitivity labels to meeting invites and protect them too. ” In other words, Outlook will allow organizers to apply a sensitivity label to a meeting and the protection assigned by the label will apply to meeting artifacts, like attachments.

The Teams description focuses more on the automatic application of sensitivity labels (an Office 365 E5 feature) “to apply relevant meeting options automatically.” Apart from the automatic application of labels, the assignment of meeting options is a capability like the way that containers (Teams, Groups, and Sites) inherit settings like privacy and guest user access from sensitivity labels.

It therefore appears that Outlook will extend the existing method of protecting messages with sensitivity labels to cover meeting invitations. Teams Premium will inherit settings from sensitivity labels to make sure that critical meetings and all the artifacts associated with the meeting are properly protected.

Meeting Recaps

Outlook’s definition of meeting recap is that “users have new discoverability and productivity features to easily find and access information about a meeting including files, transcript, and the recording directly from the calendar event in Outlook.” The screen shot for Outlook meeting recap posted by Microsoft shows how users can click a View meeting recap link in meeting properties to see the meeting transcript and other information. It’s a nice way to catch up with what happens during a meeting.

Teams Premium applies Artificial Intelligence to derive more value from the same meeting data. Microsoft says that “intelligent recap uses AI to suggest action items and owners” and “After the meeting, intelligent recap will create smarter recordings with automatically generated chapters and insights such as when your name was mentioned, when a screen was shared, or when you left a meeting early.” This is a more proactive and expansive use of information gathered during a meeting.

Of course, whether users will like Teams suggesting action items and owners automatically is quite another matter. And adding automatically generated chapters (markers) to the video recordings of Teams meetings is only useful if someone actually goes back to review the recording. As we know from the data Microsoft shared when they introduced the auto-expiration feature for Teams meeting recordings, relatively few people consult a meeting recording after it is stored and available to participants.

Confusing Naming

It would be nice if Microsoft product groups didn’t use the same terms for very different features. The bottom line is that the public information revealed by Microsoft to date indicates that Outlook will deliver support for sensitivity labels for meeting items and a basic meeting recap. Teams Premium uses more from Microsoft’s bag of AI tricks to introduce intelligence into understanding what meeting data means and how it could be better used. Of course, all of this could change before the software is generally available, so final judgment must be reserved until we see the Outlook and Teams Premium implementations in real-life scenarios.

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