Meta has recently revealed its grand ambitions for the metaverse, which will combine the powers of VR, AR, and MR to bring the world to the internet. Virtual avatars of users that they may use everywhere, including conferences and meetings, are an important aspect of the metaverse. That, however, will take some time. But not for Microsoft. It has introduced Mesh, which is a metaverse counterpart that delivers collaborative tools in virtual reality to Teams users.
Mesh will employ Microsoft’s mixed reality technology with HoloLens goggles for virtual meetings, conferences, and video conversations that Teams members may attend in avatars, which appear to be less entertaining than Meta’s version for the metaverse at the time. Better integration of this technology, similar to the Meta Horizon Workrooms, would be in all Microsoft 365 apps and services. So, for example, if you want to work on a paper remotely, you can just put on your headsets and do so in your VR avatars.
While VR avatars are being heralded as the next big thing in collaboration between colleagues and friends, Microsoft’s Mesh platform will allow users to attend normal web- or app-based Team’s meetings as both their VR avatars and themselves. There will be a 3D avatar that you can personalize for Team’s video conversations, and it will be available even if you don’t have a headset. Your avatar will appear in both 3D and 2D depending on the meeting.
Microsoft’s goal with Mesh is to construct a metaverse that is better and more complete than Meta, Facebook’s parent company. This would imply more accessibility and flexibility for users, which is why Microsoft’s avatars will be non-binary, allowing anybody to select how they wish to portray themselves. Furthermore, the company is developing translation and transcribing capabilities for Mesh-powered meetings in which anybody may participate in their native language.
Microsoft stated that the new virtual environments and avatars will be available in the first half of 2022. Meta, perhaps, will be able to devise a comparable plan with a launch date by then.