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From pixels to presence: new features coming to Microsoft Mesh

In January, we announced the general availability of Mesh in Teams. We launched with the promise of unlocking deeper engagement for hybrid and remote teams across the world. Today, we’re thrilled to unveil our latest advancements designed to optimize the avatar creation process with the help of AI and enrich your virtual collaboration.

AI-Enabled Avatar Creation

Our journey of reimagining virtual interactions began with digital avatars. Since the private preview of avatars in October 2022, we’ve added more lifelike skin, increased options for facial and body customization, and expanded hair style and skin tone options. However, with hundreds of combinations available, some users have expressed feeling a little overwhelmed when creating their avatar. We’re excited to announce that we’ve devised an AI-powered solution that makes avatar creation more efficient and more accurate. AI algorithms will analyze the visual features in your submitted photo to predict the best possible matches for your face shape, hair, eyewear, and facial hair. These best matches are combined to create three avatar options for you to choose from.
mesh gif.gif

In public preview this month, simply take or upload a photo of yourself and let our AI-enabled technology¹ craft an avatar that represents you. Find more information about creating your avatar with a photo here. To manage avatars in Microsoft Teams, learn more here.

Show up the way you want

Avatars ensure everyone has a presence in the meeting room, even those who might not feel comfortable on camera. To accomplish this, it is important for your avatar to look and interact like you would. Beginning May 17th, explore the new wardrobe options, more professional attire, and improved texture, fit, and color of the clothes available in the Avatar Builder.

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In July, we will add emotes as another way to express yourself in the 3D immersive spaces built into every Teams meeting. While you’re in an immersive space, select the “reactions” button in the menu bar at the bottom center of the immersive space view. Find the new emotes below the original Teams reactions and begin expressing yourself during meetings.

Tailored to your needs

We launched Mesh in Teams with two ready-made 3D immersive spaces, Lakehouse and Oasis, built into your Microsoft Teams meeting². Each space was specifically built for different meeting scenarios. Lakehouse was created for social scenarios and is equipped with various interactive activities to encourage conversation and connection. Oasis offers different seating arrangements and room sizes to accommodate presentations and roundtable discussions. Beginning in June in public preview, we are releasing a new space tailored for workshops, brainstorming sessions, and employee orientations. Let these curated 3D spaces elevate whatever moment you’re planning— whether it’s a networking event in Lakehouse, presenting a PowerPoint in Oasis, or hosting a breakout discussion in our new space.

This is a conceptual visualization of the upcoming event editing feature.

Access these immersive spaces from the View menu³ in any Teams meeting via PC or Meta Quest VR Headset . . Mesh in Teams will continue to reach more users as Mac access begins rolling out to general availability later this month.

Watch this video to learn more about how to join immersive spaces in Teams.

Enhance collaboration and interaction

In August in public preview, we will release content sharing improvements, including enhanced readability, to ensure ease of comprehension and enable productive discussions. Content refers to anything you can screenshare, whether that’s a PowerPoint presentation, Loop component, or website. With regards to engaging with other teammates in an immersive space, we will also release several avatar interaction improvements. This month, we’ve added different camera perspectives to view your avatar from (i.e., first person, third person, third-person wide view) and, in July, we’ll include improvements to avatar personal boundaries.

This is a conceptual visualization of the improved customization experience.

Expanded connection with custom experiences

For those looking to deliver more customized or larger-scale events, we’re excited to announce several features coming to the Mesh app⁵ in early July.

First, we’ll release an improved customization experience with a more streamlined process for event setup, an easier way to place objects in the space, and turnkey event templates. We’ve also invested in new ways to enable presenters to connect more meaningfully with their audiences. Larger events require multiple rooms to accommodate more attendees. To support this experience, we will enable presenters to visualize reactions of every attendee across all rooms while they present to help capture important real-time audience feedback. If presenters prefer to make more intimate connections with smaller groups of participants, we are also releasing room hopping to allow presenters to move from room to room.

We’re excited that our new features improve one-time event experiences and are equally aware that one-time events are just one of the scenarios custom immersive experiences are built for. Imagine a learning-focused space with a multitude of organization specific resources or a collaboration-focused space crafted to imitate a control room with 3D models, product images, and screens of data. It may not be possible for an attendee to take in all of that useful information during one scheduled time block. In early July, attendees will be enabled to revisit event links whenever they want to revisit content and reconnect with their team.

These enhancements are just the beginning. We’re committed to continuously evolving Mesh to provide you with the best virtual collaboration tools.

Learn more about getting started with Mesh in Teams and creating custom immersive spaces in our Mesh app here.

¹ Your photo is not retained or used for any other purpose. The create avatars from photo feature doesn’t make any other predictions outside of your facial features. Learn more here.

² Find licensing information here.

³ Learn more about how to access Mesh in Teams from any Teams meeting here.

 On the Meta Quest VR headset, Mesh in Teams is only accessible via the Mesh app. Learn more here.

⁵ Find licensing information here.

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