At the Ignite 2021 conference, Microsoft reflected on over a year of a global pandemic and how it has reshaped how people work. Microsoft Teams has been at the heart of the company’s collaboration and communication output as it tries to connect an increasingly mobile workforce. To further enhance remote work further, the company is announcing Mesh for Microsoft Teams.
Microsoft argues while remote work tools like Microsoft Teams and Zoom provide video and chat interactions, meetings can still feel impersonal. Certainly, when all participants in a meeting have their video feed on, research shows other members feel more engaged.
Microsoft wants to encourage users to move away from static images or initial bubbles, and Mesh aims to do this.
Mesh for Microsoft Teams provides users in different locations with a way to engage in shared holographic connections. It works across collaborative features, chats, sharing, and virtual meetings. It builds on Microsoft Mesh and Together Mode, which arrived last year on Teams as an AI tool that provides a shared background for meeting participants.
Jeff Teper, corporate VP for Microsoft 365 Teams, SharePoint, and OneDrive, says Mesh will make Teams more immersive:
“We’ve seen that those tools have accomplished both goals of helping a team be more effective and also helping individuals be more engaged.”
Mesh for Microsoft Teams will be available on mobile and desktop versions of the service for Microsoft 365 customers. Users can create custom avatars to replace a static image, immersive spaces (think of digital metaverse), where avatars will interact and collaborate.
The feature was announced by Microsoft Technical Fellow Alex Kipman, one of the leaders of HoloLens and Microsoft’s mixed reality output:
“Welcome to Mesh for Teams. As a company whose focus is on productivity, on knowledge workers, it’s something that customers are really asking us for. And it’s coupled with the vision of mixed reality that we’ve been working on the 12 years. It’s all coming together.”