Just days after Facebook changed its name to Meta in the quest to enter the virtual world known as metaverse, Microsoft has announced that the company would soon get involved in the metaverse space.
According to a release by the company, Microsoft is coming up with a collaborative platform for metaverses called Mesh. The platform is scheduled for launch in 2022.
The release stated that the move would see the company combine existing technology on its platform such as HoloLens which would effectively make it possible for avatars to actively participate in virtual meetings such as video calls in the company’s mixed reality project.
The implication of the Mesh planned by Microsoft in Q2 of 2022 is that the rivalry between Facebook and Microsoft is bound to increase. It is definitely the future of virtual meetings according to the company.
The concept behind the Microsoft Mesh is geared towards reducing fatigue associated with extended virtual conferencing time:
“We got hit by meeting fatigue in the virtual world,”
explains Nicole Herskowitz, general manager for Microsoft Teams.
“After 30 or 40 minutes max in a meeting, it was very hard to stay engaged and focused.
The idea is to build avatars in a virtual metaverse that can actually represent team members in 2D and 3D meetings.
The user can adjust and tweak the avatars to have the sort of appearance that they desire. According to Katie Kelly, principal product manager for Microsoft Mesh, the company’s product will use the voice of the user and reproduce the same with the avatar through the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Other features will include the avatar animation such as the ability to raise its hands.
The platform which will work well with VR or AR headsets has the added advantage of inclusiveness using human experience.
According to Kelly:
“I think the thing that really separates how Microsoft is approaching metaverse and our own experiences is starting with the human experience, so the feeling of presence, talking to somebody, making eye contact, and reactions are going to be important,”