Microsoft Ignite 2021 Announcements – Microsoft Teams: Mesh
At Microsoft Ignite 2021, Microsoft Teams has been a focal point with many new upgrades and added features, abilities, and versatility. Another game-changing announcement, in addition to Microsoft Connect, but in the same vein, is Microsoft Mesh. Like Microsoft Connect, Microsoft Mesh brings the level of connectivity up a few notches.
Microsoft is taking the steps to claim a stake while shaping the future of the metaverse. Mesh for Teams will bring interactive, 3D experiences to your Teams by providing immersive spaces, personalized avatars, and holoportation that is accessible from a Mesh-enabled app on any device, including mobile phones, desktops, tablets, VR headsets, and the HoloLens 2. Without a doubt, a Virtual Reality (VR) or Augmented Reality (AR) headset will provide the maximum effects of immersive collaboration. With mixed reality applications, meeting experiences will transcend 2D meeting platforms that businesses are currently utilizing for their hybrid models of work.
But wait! What is the difference between VR and AR? These terms are not new, but there is a difference between these two types of realities. AR utilizes technology that senses the physical world with specific lenses or devices, like HoloLens 2 or any device that is AR compatible. It projects additional information onto the existing environment. AR allows the user to see the real environment plus the projected information whereas VR shuts out the real environment. It shuts out everything and provides an entire simulation where none of what you see is from the real environment. Though the terms AR and VR are commonly used interchangeably, they are in fact, not the same thing, and should not be used interchangeably.
How many times have you sighed before logging into a video meeting, wishing that you could just stay in your comfy clothes or not worry about your bedhead? With customizable options, you can choose how you want to appear and how you want to attend in your meetings. With Microsoft Mesh, you can choose to roll the video in real-time, or you can choose an animated 3D version of yourself. Even though your avatar is animated and in 3D, a VR or AR headset is not required, and it will be functional in a 2D meeting.
Whether you choose to roll the video in real-time or send your avatar, your Teams members will see and feel your presence as if you are there in real life. How? Microsoft leverages AI and by listening to your voice and taking vocal cues, Mesh will be able to animate your avatar as if it was really you. For 3D meetings, a more immersive experience will include your avatar raising its hand as you choose the raise hand during the meeting, or you can animate emojis around it.
Unlike the social media metaverse, Microsoft’s metaverse is building upon the belief that personal experiences are the key to building an interactive space that feels, sounds, and looks like the “real” person you are used to. Even though the animated avatar is a rendering of the user, the animated avatar will speak, react, and even provide eye contact and facial expressions like the person it is representing. The inclusion of these fine details will provide Teams members the feeling of presence. A sense that the animated avatar is you.
Microsoft Teams will have virtual spaces within itself which will allow Team members to meet and socialize by playing games or network and collaborate through the use of any Microsoft app. With built-in translation and transcription support, the language barriers are reduced when Team members from around the globe meet in the virtual space.
Microsoft Mesh for Teams brings members together from around the globe in a virtual, immersive, and creative space. Whether you are a holoportation (a projection of your photorealistic and lifelike self in mixed reality) or an animated avatar, the collaborative world that you will share with your Team members will be an immersive and fluid experience. Gone are the times of waiting for answers as members log in from different time zones. Instead, with immersive, virtual, and digital spaces, Teams can come together, review, discuss, brainstorm, create, train, learn, share, and make informative decisions in a shorter time frame. A powerful tool, Microsoft Mesh ensures mutual and clear understanding for all Team members by allowing members to see each others’ perspectives and with the ability to provide overlaying contextual data, explanations are easily explained with visuals. Creative and collaborative problem solving has no boundaries with augmented reality, animated avatars, and immersive spaces.
Microsoft Mesh has been developed for Teams and its impact will touch those from the business world to the daily lives of people as global supply chain management to virtual conferences and events, especially sporting events, leverage Mesh to conduct business. Efficient, cost-effective, and accessible, Microsoft Mesh is an innovative step towards shaping and forming the future of the metaverse for businesses and people.