The way we conduct meetings may soon change forever following a major new update to Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft's video conferencing software is making the leap from 2D to 3D at Ignite 2021 with the introduction of Mesh for Microsoft Teams.
Since its launch back in 2017, Teams has continued to evolve thanks to new features such as grid view, Together mode and Presenter view which helped make 2D meetings more immersive. Now though, by combining the mixed-reality capabilities of Microsoft Mesh and the productivity tools of Microsoft Teams, Microsoft's video conferencing platform is entering a new dimension.
Beginning in the first half of 2022, Mesh for Microsoft Teams will enable new experiences through the introduction of personalized avatars and immersive spaces where users can connect and have shared immersive experiences in 3D.
Personalized avatars will also allow Teams users to maintain their presence in meetings without having to turn on their webcams. They can even connect with eye contact and express emotions using live reactions that will be represented through their avatars. At the same time, organizations will be able to create immersive spaces that resemble physical spaces such as conference rooms, design centers and networking lounges just like in Teams' Together mode but now in 3D.
Gateway to the metaverse
Mesh for Teams is designed to be accessible to all users as they can access Microsoft's new virtual space using their smartphones, laptops and even mixed-reality headsets like Microsoft HoloLens.
In addition to making online meetings more personal, engaging and fun, Mesh for Teams will also serve as a gateway to the metaverse for many users. Just like Facebook is doing with its Meta rebrand, Microsoft also wants to give its users access to a persistent digital world inhabited by digital twins of people, places and things.
In a new blog post, Microsoft's CTO of digital advisory services, John Roach compared the metaverse to a new version or a new vision of the internet where “people gather to communicate, collaborate and share with personal virtual presence on any device”.
Teams users will also be able to leverage their existing documents, presentations and other content from Microsoft 365 and share and collaborate using this content spatially.
Mesh for Teams is launching in preview during the first half of 2022 and we'll likely hear more on this new online collaboration tool and Microsoft's vision for the metaverse as we get closer to its official launch.
Looking to prepare yourself for the launch of Mesh for Teams? Check out our roundups of the best headsets for conference calls and best business VR headsets