Microsoft, always at the forefront of online collaboration, has a sensational experience in store for us with the public pre-release of Microsoft Mesh, scheduled for October. This update brings a whole new dimension to our meetings in Microsoft Teams. In this article, I’m going to tell you why I’m so keen to try it out, and how it’s going to change the way we work remotely.
First of all, what is Microsoft Mesh?
Microsoft Mesh is a mixed reality platform that will transform the way we collaborate online. Imagine yourself in a virtual meeting, but instead of simple videoconference screens, you’re in a virtual room with 3D avatars of your colleagues. You can see their facial expressions, their gestures, and feel a presence more real than ever. That’s right, Microsoft Mesh! Here is an example:
Microsoft Mesh isn’t just another innovation, it’s a solution that enables your employees across the 4 corners of the globe to connect like never before in an immersive 3D space, making virtual meetings and events feel more like face-to-face connections. Immersive spaces have unique attributes that create a perception of being physically together in a 3D digital space, including spatial interaction, co-presence and immersion.
Features in Teams
From October onwards, your Microsoft Teams meetings will never be the same! Here are just some of the incredible features that await you in the immersive spaces of Teams:
When you enter an immersive space, you can choose an avatar you’ve already created for your standard Teams 2D meetings, or create a new one. It’s easy to customize your avatar to reflect your appearance, style or mood.
- 3D environments
Choose one of our ready-to-use 3D environments to suit your meeting needs, whether it’s a large social team meeting or a small round-table discussion.
- Seat allocation
Select where you’d like to sit during a meeting or event to encourage connections with your colleagues. You can also move freely from one conversation to another.
- Spatial audio and audio zones
Have several simultaneous conversations and communicate effectively in sub-groups without talking over each other.
- Interactive activities
Play integrated interactive games to strengthen team cohesion in immersive spaces. For starters, you can find a few designated areas for roasting marshmallows, tossing bean bags, answering fun ice-breaker questions, and much more.
- Live reactions
Use live reactions such as hearts, thumbs up, applause and more to express yourself during discussions.
Immersive spaces in Teams will enable all participants in your meeting to collaborate. I can clearly see the scene above, as in a training session, for example.
You can also create your own personalized immersive spaces in Microsoft Mesh tailored to your company’s specific needs, such as employee events, training courses, guided tours or in-house product presentations. Use a no-code editor to easily customize the event, or the Mesh toolbox to leverage the power ofUnity for fully customizable immersive experiences.
With the Mesh editor in the menu bar, you can customize immersive experiences to meet the unique needs of your event, without writing a line of code. Event designers will be able to choose from a range of ready-to-use immersive spaces, customizing them by adding images, videos and screen sharing in a 3D canvas. These customizations can then be saved as a template and reused by all members of your organization.
Microsoft has even thought of developers: thanks to the Mesh toolbox, they will be able to create their own fully customized 3D immersive spaces using Unity.
Organizers will need to plan their events using an existing template, or create a new event in Mesh. When it’s ready, they can rehearse or make changes and get ready for the big day. Participants will be able to easily find their Mesh events directly in their Outlook calendars and in the Teams client, without having to go elsewhere to view and join events. See for yourself a simulation below:
The Mesh immersive spaces will be available as a public preview in October. Here’s what you need to know.
Check that you have one of the following licenses: Teams Essentials, Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Microsoft 365 Business Standard, Microsoft 365 Business Premium, Microsoft 365 E3/E5, and Office 365 E1/E3/E5. If this is the case, in Teams Admin Center, activate the Microsoft Mesh application as soon as it becomes available.
- End users
Once your administrator has activated the Microsoft Mesh application in Teams, you’ll be able to access the display menu of your usual Teams meeting and select an immersive space.
Note: Immersive spaces will be available first in the classic Teams client and later in the new Teams client.