Microsoft is entering the metaverse chat through its Teams app just days after Facebook announced its rebranding to Meta.
Microsoft will introduce its virtual collaboration platform Mesh into Teams next year as it works to merge the company’s mixed reality and HoloLens capabilities to improve meetings.
“We got hit by meeting fatigue in the virtual world,” said Nicole Herskowitz, general manager for Microsoft Teams. “After 30 or 40 minutes max in a meeting, it was very hard to stay engaged and focused.”
This update will allow Microsoft Teams users to utilize 3D avatars without the need for a VR headset. Workers can use their avatars in 2D and 3D meetings, allowing them the option to use the animated version of themselves without turning their webcam on.
Using AI, Microsoft will be able to take a person’s voice and animate their avatar for a 3D meeting.
“I think the thing that really separates how Microsoft is approaching metaverse and our own experiences is starting with the human experience, so the feeling of presence, talking to somebody, making eye contact, and reactions are going to be important,” said Katie Kelly, principal product manager for Microsoft Mesh.
Beyond avatars, companies will have the ability to create their own virtual spaces, AKA metaverses, within Teams.
Microsoft Teams is aiming to incorporate this update during the first half of 2022.