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Metaverse: Microsoft To Allow Users Appear In Meetings As Avatars

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Microsoft records soaring quarterly earnings

Microsoft takes first move in bringing Metaverse to offices as it wants to allow users appear in meetings as Avatars of themselves.

It said by middle of next year, it is bringing the Metaverse to blend the digital and physical worlds together.

The software giant said users of its Teams collaboration will, in 2022, be able to appear as avatars — or animated cartoons — in video meetings.

It also said it would allow workers to do things like view PowerPoint presentations in the metaverse.

The move is to make remote working seamless, the company said.

It added that remote workers will also be able to use their avatars to visit virtual work spaces.

It said the virtual workspaces would include the replicas of their places of work.

The company said the adoption of personal avatars is the prerequisite for ensuring workers become comfortable with new forms of virtual interaction.

Meanwhile, Microsoft has said that its technology is not exactly like the one Facebook champions.

It said its technology for integrating virtual and physical worlds is based on Mesh.

Microsoft unveiled the Mesh technology earlier this year.

It said Mesh is capable of handling far more complex virtual interactions on different types of hardware, from PCs to virtual reality headsets.

Jared Spataro, the head of Teams, said “With 250m people around the world using Teams, the introduction of avatars will be the first real metaverse element to seem real.”

Why the Integration:

Microsoft said the move to integrate virtual into physical workplaces arose as a result of the effects of pandemic.

He said while some employees have or are returning to the office after the pandemic, others choose to work remotely.

Consequently, it wants to make working remotely seamless for the over 250 million Teams users.

ALSO READ: Reasons Why Facebook Changed Brand Name To Meta

On the choice of avatars, Spataro noted that its research showed that using personal avatars conveyed a sense of “presence.”

He said the personal Avatars make meetings more engaging, while freeing workers from having to constantly appear before a camera.

The company also said that Workers who had been in a meeting where someone else appeared as an avatar were also more open to using the technology themselves.

Appearing as an avatar “seems simple, it seems like just one step, but that’s the type of step I think people are ready to make”, Spataro said. “Maybe it’s even kind of light-hearted in the beginning.”

Microsoft also said that it would use AI to make the Avatars move their mouths to depict the wordings each user makes.

Microsoft’s straight jump into integrating Metaverse to workplaces is similar to Meta’s crusade for Metaverse.

Last week, Facebook announced that it has renamed itself to Meta so as to accommodate Metaverse.

Implication:

Anthony Chinonso Ogbonna is the editor of Techuncode media. He is a seasoned journalist whose stint cuts across broadcast, print and, especially, the online media. A graduate of Mass Communication from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Anthony holds a Masters Degree in Multimedia Journalism. He aligns his belief with those of world tech communities, holding tenaciously that the world is solely driven and can only be best with tech. Furthermore, Anthony believes that technology is simple, fun and is not what one, especially Africans, should be scared of, hence, his passion for telling compelling stories about tech in ways relatable to the ordinary user. He has his hobbies in reading and designing (new hobby though.)

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