Anyone who works in a team hates remote meetings, those video calls where at least the initial 10 to 20 minutes are spent solving technical problems.

So of course, companies like Meta and Microsoft want to “revolutionize” those tasks with virtual and augmented reality, because of course having a 3D avatar come to the virtual conference room for us is the future we’re all dreaming of. And that’s just what’s coming inside Microsoft Teams.

The metaverse competition kicks off

Microsoft has just announced Mesh, a collaborative platform for virtual experiences that will be integrated directly into Teams starting next year. The technology will combine the efforts in mixed reality and HoloLens that the company has been promoting in recent years.

With this, the idea is to participate in video calls in which anyone can enter with their own animated 3D avatars, in the purest style of what Facebook has announced, but focused for now on collaborative work.

Microsoft hopes that these kinds of features will help deal with “virtual meeting fatigue.” That something like Mesh will help reduce the tedium of having to be on video calls all day long.

Those avatars can represent you in both 2D and 3D meetings, so you can opt to have an animated version of yourself if you don’t feel like turning on your webcam. The avatar will be able to interpret your vocal signals to show animations, so that it “looks like it’s there with you”.

But besides avatars, it is rather in “immersive spaces” where Microsoft sees its Mesh integration as most useful, and where it will focus more efforts to build “a metaverse for businesses”. The idea is to create virtual spaces within Teams where people can interact and socialize with games, or even use Microsoft apps to collaborate on projects.

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