Before 2020, the idea of remote work as a long-term, widespread option for workers was one that few companies wanted to pursue. When the pandemic hit, workers are forced to abandon their offices and learn to collaborate online, Microsoft productivity experts have observed two trends: remote workers are far more efficient than most business leaders ever imagined, and they miss each other.
In other words, the ability to work from anywhere and connect with colleagues online is awesome, but remote meetings can feel impersonal and lack the small moments that build relationships and careers. Ongoing studies in Microsoft’s research organization prove this out: people feel more present and engaged in meetings when everyone turns on their video cameras, for example. But the video option can be awkward and binary – on or off. Too many people, too much of the time, are a static picture or bubble with initials.
Microsoft today has unveiled a solution to this problem that begins rolling out in 2022: Mesh for Teams. The feature combines the mixed-reality capabilities of Microsoft Mesh, which allows people in different physical locations to join collaborative and shared holographic experiences, with the productivity tools of Microsoft Teams, where people can join virtual meetings, send chats, collaborate on shared documents and more.
The metaverse is here, and in our increasingly digital world, we continue to focus on bringing humanity to every digital interaction. You've probably started to hear this word being thrown around lately.
What is Metaverse? A metaverse is a digital space inhabited by digital representations of people, places and things. Think of it like a new version, or may be a new vision, of the internet. Many people talk about the internet as a place, Now we can actually go into that place to communicate, share, and work with others. Its an internet that you can actually interact with- like we do in the physical world. And its not just a vision anymore. Right now, you can go to a concert and experience a show with other real people inside a video game. You can walk a factory floor from your own home. You can join a meeting remotely but be in the room to collaborate with your co-workers. Those are metaverses. The future is already here!
Microsoft is working to help you better represent your whole self in the digital space, while also ensuring that you can bring your humanity and your agency over that representation with you. If the past few years have taught as anything, it's that we need that flexibility. The world has never been more connected, but lately, we've often needed to distance ourselves physically. The closer we can reflect our physical selves in the digital realm, the more of these barriers we can break. Teammates can join meeting from anywhere. Real-time translation allows people from diverse cultures to collaborate in real-time. This is what takes this from a cool idea to a critical one. The metaverse has the ability to stretch us beyond the barriers and limitations of the physical world.
Mesh for Teams – which anyone will be able to access from standard smartphones and laptops to mixed-reality headsets – is designed to make online meetings more personal, engaging and fun. It’s also a gateway to the metaverse – a persistent digital world that is inhabited by digital twins of people, places and things. Think of the metaverse as a new version – or a new vision – of the internet, one where people gather to communicate, collaborate and share with personal virtual presence on any device.
The first step most users of Mesh for Teams will take is to join a standard Teams meeting as a customized avatar of themselves instead of as a static picture or on video. Organizations can also build immersive spaces – metaverses – within Teams. Mesh for Teams users can take their avatars into these spaces to mix and mingle, collaborate on projects and experience those serendipitous encounters that spark innovation.
When Mesh for Teams begins to roll out in preview in the first half of 2022, users will have a variety of options to choose from to create and join a Teams meeting as a unique, personalized avatar. Other attendees might also be represented by avatars, show themselves on video or use a static picture or bubble with initials.
People like you and me, they sit in front of a desk. What do we do? We collaborate. What are we doing right now? We’re collaborating. So, it turns out that Microsoft has this phenomenal, amazing collaboration tool called Microsoft Teams, that’s where people collaborate today. This collaboration tool can serve as a gateway to the metaverse – to show an audience of 250 million users a new approach to remote and hybrid work. Mesh for Teams allows knowledge workers to build and use self-expressive avatars and experience immersive spaces.
Al Zubair Group is an authorized Microsoft MRPP Partner, focused on Microsoft Teams Rooms Solutions.
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