Days after Facebook rebranded to Meta to reflect a broader corporate focus on building virtual spaces for consumers and businesses, Microsoft has outlined its own vision of the metaverse, built around the workplace. Rolling out in 2022, Mesh for Microsoft Teams will combine 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.Meet the future-ready modern workplace, using the best technology from Microsoft
Think of the metaverse as a digital world that is connected to many aspects of the physical world, including people, places and things. As organisations accelerate their digital transformation, the metaverse will enable shared experiences, helping people meet up in a digital environment, making meetings more comfortable with the use of avatars and facilitating creative collaboration across the globe.
In the first half of next year, everyone in a Teams meeting will be able to be present without being physically present by using personalised avatars and immersive spaces that can be accessed from any device, with no special equipment needed.
“You can actually feel like you’re in the same place with someone sharing content or you can teleport from different mixed reality devices and be present with people even when you’re not physically together.”, says Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman.
“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,” Microsoft adds.
Organizations will also be able to create immersive spaces that resemble physical spaces such as conference rooms, design centers, and networking lounges. Mesh for Teams users will be able to take their avatars into these immersive spaces to mix, mingle and collaborate with other users. For example, a product design team within Microsoft might create an immersive space for its daily standup meeting, driving team cohesion and collaboration.