Mesh Avatars – Opening the doors of the workplace Metaverse in Teams

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This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: New blog articles in Microsoft Community Hub.

Welcome to 2022 and a new era of Microsoft Teams evolutions! 

 

With the TAP introduction of the Mesh Avatars, I realized that we might have been stuck on gear one for a long time regarding IT collaboration tools. We will take some time in this article to discuss that, and I will do my best to share what I love about this new capability and what I wish we could improve. So, take a good cup of coffee and stay tuned!

avatar-one-teams.gif

 

The discovery

Before this, I was exposed to similar products. Still, I must admit that I am super excited in this case, considering what is in front of us with Microsoft Mesh, opening the doors of the workplace metaverse. I must confess that the strange thing about this is that I am not one hundred percent on board when it comes to this, with questions popping up in my head, such as bandwidth consumption, over-gamification of the workplace, carbon emissions, etc. It might all be irrelevant and a work in progress on the Microsoft side of things, and more importantly, I am also super excited about all the capabilities this will bring in the future, to put, for instance, people on the same level whether they are working remotely in the basement at their grandparent’s place in Germany, at the fast-food hooked on the Wi-Fi In Tokyo, or at the office in Mumbai. More importantly, I imagine it will be profitable in terms of accessibility & inclusion if used wisely within companies making the invisible visible and the visible invisible. 

 

The setup

Day one arrived. I felt like a kid setting up a profile on a Nintendo Switch. It was that intuitive! I must admit that I was blown away by the number of customization available in the tool (for something that is not a video game). During the creation process, I wanted to ensure I would keep my age, glasses, hair, and post-COVID shapes (I need to exercise again, that is for sure). Once this was done, it took a couple of days for me to be able to test it! TADA!

avatar-two-setup.gif

 

The first test

OMG! How cool was that! I think I will remember that day. Once I had everything setup up and had taken my marks, two things became apparent to me within a couple of minutes:

1 – the de-activation of the avatar is not yet obvious (click right on the picture to clear the avatar).

2 – the avatar reactions should be merged with the standard ones not to hide the current meeting chat (feedback link).

 

Testing people reactions

I realized that people wanted to try it ASAP! And I felt sorry for the Mac users who had not yet rolled in.

Let’s be clear here! People want it! People want to try it! And people smile when they first see it!

 

After a couple of days

It is great to use in large meetings. One day, I had a 1-to-1 where we used it on both sides, and I must admit that I am not yet ready for that (maybe you will be). My biggest takeaway is that it’s a great tool to use from time to time to break out from the monotony of our daily professional interactions. 

 

What’s next?

I am not sure, to be honest. While I type this, acknowledging that my initial intent was only to share how extraordinary this discovery has been in the last couple of days, I keep thinking:

  • Will we be capable of using avatars from 9 to 5?
  • What will be the right balance in meetings between substance and form? 
  • Will we have avatar pajamas & custom-branded corporate outfits? 

 

We are all exposed to metaverse articles all year long, but things start to accelerate when it knocks at the door. Crazy ideas about virtual workshops, meta onboarding, town halls, queuing systems, and patient meetings in the cloud have become a reality. I believe that while we take the time over the coming years to discover what we will be capable of doing with those new tools, we will slowly need to build new ways of working to partner with users in this journey. Will a code of conduct be required at some point, or will things naturally adjust? Let’s see.

 

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Thank you!

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