Microsoft dips Teams in the metaverse with avatars due May • The Register

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    Microsoft Teams users have more ways to express themselves to other participants in their increasingly frequent video calls.

    Redmond continues to add features that allow users to change the appearance of the environment during video conferencing, from blurring the background to placing shots of the background scenery.

    Teams users now have more filters to add colorful animations to their screens and change the hue of their videos.visual effects filters placed in public preview will be generally available this month.

    And for those of you who just want to turn off your camera and step away from your screen during a video meeting, Microsoft will roll out 3D avatars starting in May that will let other participants watch something else instead.

    Filters and upcoming avatars are both part of a larger push by Microsoft, Zoom, and other video conferencing technology vendors to make on-screen calls and meetings more and more frequent. less pain more attractive.

    Video conferencing is already on the rise, but the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a near-overnight spike in demand and the resulting normalization of hybrid work environments, keeping technology usage relatively high. increase.

    In January, Microsoft said Teams had arrived. 280 million Monthly active users, up from 270 million a year ago, show “sustained momentum since the pandemic,” said chief communications officer Frank X Shaw. In February, we launched Teams Premium with a variety of new features and paid subscription plans.

    Alexis Johnston, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Teams and Platform, wrote: blog post“But with tight schedules, we don’t always have time to be ready and give our best.”

    Video filters allow users to “express themselves better by removing unnecessary distractions and bringing personality to each meeting.”

    Microsoft initially offers filters via an app called Custom Filters on the Teams platform. Filters can be applied from the lobby before joining the meeting or while the meeting is in progress.

    Apps are enabled by default, but for privacy and compliance reasons tenant admins have control over enabling or disabling them, but apps require explicit user consent , cannot be pre-installed.

    Initially, filters can only be applied from the desktop, Johnston said.

    Users will have to wait another two months before they can finish the video completely. In a short two-sentence update about Microsoft 365 roadmap, Microsoft said Avatar is coming in May. This provides a way to participate even for those who, for whatever reason, cannot face the idea of ​​being on camera.

    “Avatar in Microsoft Teams provides a much-needed camera break while enabling effective collaboration. ,” the company wrote. .

    Microsoft showcased the idea of ​​avatars and teams at the 2021 Ignite event. This is part of a larger mesh initiative to build a foothold in the emerging metaverse discussion. The show described it as a way to bring mixed reality into the world of Teams via a HoloLens headset or his Mesh-enabled app on your smartphone, tablet, or PC.

    The company also pitched the idea of ​​creating a virtual space for Teams where full-body avatars can meet and interact. If that’s your thing, I’m sure you’re very excited.

    It was supposed to roll out in the first half of 2022, but is now rolling out a year later. ®


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