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    Microsoft Thinks It Can Do Corporate, Legless VR Avatars Better Than Meta

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    Big tech's big dreams of a corporate metaverse filled with virtual reality workplaces aren't quite over yet, at least according to Microsoft. The Redmond, Washington, tech giant has finally announced 3D mesh integration for Microsoft Teams, offering a new wave of generic-looking legless avatars to make your work meetings a little less awkward.

    As envisioned by Microsoft, this new team mesh This integration essentially allows users to access a 3D avatar and paste it into a pre-built 3D office space. These include stunning locales, such as a small outdoor auditorium and a futuristic lakeside house packed deep in the woods, where no one ostensibly hears the screams.

    Businesses can add logos to banners and play internal videos on TVs dotted within those spaces. You can drift around these drab corporate spaces. metaquest headset Or you can simply view your avatar via your PC.

    In a mesh environment,[表示]from tab[没入空間 (3D)]You can access it directly from the Teams UI by selecting the option. The system uses spatial audio to mimic the ability to have isolated conversations within these 3D environments. These environments also incorporate some games, such as cornhole. If your 3D avatar's dull face isn't enough to express your excitement, you can use live reactions like emojis just like your 2D team.

    All of this is available to businesses that pay for one of the Microsoft Teams Business plans. Microsoft enables businesses to create environments and spaces using the Unity toolkit. However, a Microsoft Teams Premium license is required. mentioned In last year's mesh blog.

    Microsoft shared that several companies are taking advantage of these new Teams features, including IT company Accenture and everyone's favorite Gulf of Mexico oil spill response team BP. But don't worry. They were using it to promote offshore wind projects, not billion-dollar projects. It is made with fossil fuels. The new 3D Teams environment was created for team members working remotely to share space and foster in-person camaraderie without the hassle and cost of traveling to the same location for company retreats. .

    What is still missing? Well, first of all, the legs. Meta's Horizon Worlds avatars finally achieved bipedal integration last year, but it still hasn't completely fixed how awkward these human duplicates look in-game. Microsoft first shared his Mesh vision back when the “Metaverse” was hooked on Silicon Valley big money, before it was inevitably replaced by generative AI. Microsoft initially created a system where people wearing Hololens headsets worked around a fake holographic table and collaborated in a shared space as if they were all really standing in the same room, all powered by the Azure cloud platform. I was imagining being there. We are not there yet.

    It's unclear whether we'll ever get there. Last year, Microsoft's VR ambitions didn't pan out. The company cut its 10,000 employees worldwide at the beginning of 2023, which took away a significant portion of its Hololens and other VR divisions. Microsoft previously acquired AltspaceVR, a long-time VR platform provider. Still, by this time last year, Redmond's company had folded the team, shuttered its long-running social VR space, and moved all remaining team members to work on his Mesh.

    “The way we work has changed,” Nicole Herskowitz, Microsoft's vice president of teams, said in a blog post Wednesday. While that may be true in that far more people are working from the comfort of their homes, it hasn't changed how and when work is completed. Teams Mesh integration turns virtual meetings that already had an “this could be email” vibe to them.

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