Microsoft Teams get 3D animated avatars because metaverse

Microsoft also wants a piece of the meta-verse, so at its Ignite conference today, the company announced 3D avatars for those Teams meetings where you do not want to be in front of the camera. These animated personalized avatars are part of what Microsoft calls ‘Mesh for Teams’, which combines the company’s Mesh platform (not to be confused with Windows Live Mesh) to drive shared experiences in virtual reality, augmented reality and elsewhere with Teams and its built-in productivity tools. These are still the same meetings that should have been an email, but different.

To access Mesh for Teams, you can use everything from a smartphone to a VR headset or a HoloLens. Microsoft is quite open about the fact that this is its metaverse game of productivity, “designed to make online meetings more personal, engaging and fun,” writes Microsoft’s John Roach in today’s announcement. “It’s also a gateway to the metaverset – an enduring digital world inhabited by digital twins of people, places and things. Think of the metaverset as a new version – or a new vision – of the Internet, one where people come together to communicate , collaboration and sharing with a personal virtual presence on any device. “

In that vision, you still hold meetings, but they get more fun now because of the meta-verse. Or something like that.

Image credit: Microsoft

“As a company whose focus is on productivity, on knowledge workers, it’s something that customers really ask of us, and it’s linked to the vision of mixed reality that we’ve been working on for 12 years. It’s all connected. ” always said enthusiastic Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman.

For now, for most users, Mesh will not be much more than these 3D personalized avatars that mimic your own speech but not movements. Microsoft says that companies can also create their own spaces – or meta-verses, because that’s the term we use now – within Teams, where people can almost interfere and collaborate.

“There will be a sense of presence, even if it’s as simple as being able to take your sound and manifest it as a facial expression. It’s the first release,” wrote Katie Kelly, a lead project manager at Microsoft working on Mesh for Teams. “The ambition is to closely follow it with Microsoft’s abundance of AI technologies so we can use the camera to insinuate where your mouth is and mimic your head and facial movements.”

Accenture has tested some of these with Microsoft. The company built a virtual campus for its employees to “gather for coffee, presentations, parties and other events.” It also uses it to deploy new employees. Accenture apparently employs 100,000 people every year. With 600,000 employees, I’m not sure the meta-verse is going to help with that turnover rate, but they are high-paying consultants, so they probably know best.

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