Microsoft Teams, the popular workplace communication application, is set to debut new immersive spaces and avatar features in January 2024, according to announcements made at Microsoft Ignite. The updates are part of Microsoft’s broader push into emerging technologies such as MR headsets, immersive communications methods, and AI.
The new avatar features for Microsoft Teams are enabled by the company’s Mesh platform, which leverages RT3D VR/MR assets and platforms to enhance enterprise collaboration. With the new update, users will be able to create custom 3D avatars directly within the Teams application, without the need to leave the service. This allows for a more personalized and engaging experience in virtual meetings.
In addition to the avatar system, the update also introduces 3D environments via Mesh, providing users with a range of options for meeting spaces, whether large-scale or small-scale. These immersive spaces also offer spatial audio systems for more effective and private conversations, as well as interactive activities and customizable animations for communication.
The introduction of immersive features in Microsoft Teams comes as a response to the challenges of remote work, particularly Zoom fatigue. By providing an immersive alternative to webcam-based dial-in methods, the new features allow users to participate in meetings without needing a webcam, replacing the conventional video feed with a customizable avatar. This is particularly beneficial for workers in unsuitable working environments or with poor internet connections, who may not be able to share video feeds during meetings.
However, it’s important to note that streaming an RT3D space may require a strong WiFi connection, and Microsoft is working on developing and deploying more details on its industrial Metaverse roadmap and AI ambitions in 2024. This update is part of Microsoft’s broader effort to establish itself as a leader in immersive technologies and digital communication platforms.
The debut of these new avatar features in January 2024 is an exciting development for Microsoft Teams users, offering a more engaging and customizable experience for virtual meetings and collaborative work. As remote and hybrid work continue to be the norm for many industries, the integration of immersive features in workplace communication platforms holds great potential for enhancing collaboration and productivity.