On the occasion of MS Ignite 2022, Microsoft announced the arrival of avatars in meetings and a Premium version of Teams boosted with AI.
With the pandemic and then the establishment of hybrid working practices in companies, Teams has become one of the key tools allowing employees to communicate, share and exchange in the most diverse contexts of connection and presence.
And Microsoft, which has added more than 450 new functions to its platform in one year, intends to continue in this direction. The publisher took advantage of MS Ignite (which is held this week) to announce a plethora of new features, some of which will be reserved for a new Premium subscription.
Teams avatars are (almost) here
Among the new features that will be accessible to all, Microsoft has announced that it will launch a “Preview” version of its Teams Mesh Avatars, which have been mentioned for a long time. The idea is actually quite simple. Each Teams user is assigned an avatar (which they customize as they wish). This avatar will have two purposes:
– the first is to serve as a sort of digital twin for immersive meeting experiences through Microsoft Mesh, the publisher’s shared virtual universe platform.
– the second is to “replace” you when you do not wish to appear in person: instead of your face, your Teams correspondents will see that of your animated avatar (the expressions of the avatar using your own facial expressions captured by the Webcam) . A feature that is ultimately quite similar but less fun than the Avatars of Zoom or the Animaze application (which works with Teams).
In other words, these features give a taste of metaverse: a Microsoft study also shows that 51% of Gen Z users see themselves working in metaverse spaces within two years.
More immediately, these avatars are designed to allow users ” to take a break from their camera explains Jared Spataro, Modern Work manager at Microsoft. ” They allow you to create personalized avatars that represent you “.
Teams Premium to put AI into action
Beyond these virtual functions which it remains to demonstrate that they will be adopted in a professional context, Microsoft has above all announced a new subscription grouping advanced IA functions. Thus, the Teams subscription will be enriched next year with a new “Teams Premium” offer which adds Microsoft’s collaborative hub a myriad of new features boosted with artificial intelligence (AI) in order to improve collaborative experiences. and meeting security while offering more personalization.
For $10 per month, users will be offered a set of new options all powered by AI:
* Smart recap: This is one of the key features of the Premium offer. It allows users to have a personalized summary of Meetings (especially those they were unable to attend).
* AI-generated tasks: An AI “listens” to the meeting and automatically generates a list of “actions to be carried out” (and assigns them to the right people) based on what is discussed during the meeting.
* Personalized insights: Automatically marks meeting highlights, typically when someone’s name is mentioned, when a screen is shared, or when people join or leave meetings.
* Intelligent search: The search in the automatic transcriptions of the meetings is enriched with new attributes such as for example limiting the search to the sentences pronounced by such or such person.
* Live translations for captions: Automatic translation of subtitles (themselves automatically generated) into 40 languages.
* Meeting Guides: This is to help users choose the most appropriate Meeting experience (call, brainstorming, help desk support, etc.).
* Branding: Users will be able to personalize the meeting experience with their company’s logo and themes, for example with personalized scenes for the “Together” mode or personalized backgrounds in the company’s colors on the camera feed.
* Advanced meeting protection: It is possible to specify that a meeting is highly confidential in order to activate a set of additional protections such as very granular control of recordings and transcripts, or integration with the Microsoft Purview information governance system.
* Advanced webinars: A new advanced version of Webinars makes its appearance with functions such as a list of registrations with manual approval, automatic sending of reminder emails, a virtual “green room” for meeting leaders and management of what users connected see their side.
* Advanced virtual appointments: Here again, the idea is to offer a richer appointment experience, with functions such as an automatic reminder by SMS, a personalized virtual “lobby” in the colors of the company, and post-appointment follow-up .