In August, the northern hemisphere was still in the hot summer, and Facebook had not changed its name to Meta. A group of technology media reporters put on VR headsets and prepared to attend a virtual press conference to experience Facebook's office application Horizon Workrooms remotely.
In the virtual meeting room, all the avatars with only the upper body are looking and groping curiously. And Facebook executives such as Zuckerberg danced and introduced various functions:
▲ Zuckerberg dancing and dancing
You can have immersive meetings in Horizon Workrooms, share the real computer screen content on the screen, go to the whiteboard to record the sparks of brainstorming, and spatial audio will make you more immersive. A virtual meeting room can accommodate up to 50 people, of which up to 16 people can join in avatars, and others can be accessed through video calls…
This scene kicked off the prelude to "Meta universe part-time job."
▲ Horizon Workrooms
Following Meta's big fanfare and its transformation into Meta Universe, Microsoft recently announced its entry into Meta Universe. Unexpectedly, there are so many possibilities for happiness, and their first choice is to work in Meta Universe.
Microsoft’s meta-universe starts with "immersive meetings"
On November 2, when Metaverse was mentioned at the Microsoft Ignite conference, Microsoft Chief Administrative Officer Satya Nadella said:
With the combination of the digital world and the physical world, we are creating a brand new platform: meta universe.
The meta-universe enables us to embed calculations in the real world and embed the real world into calculations, bringing real existence to any virtual space. The most important thing is that we can show our humanity, choose how we experience the world, and who we want to interact with.
This is no longer just looking at the shots of the factory floor, you can be in the workshop; it is no longer just a video conference with your colleagues, you can be in the same room with them.
Subsequently, Nadella announced that Microsoft will launch Mesh for Microsoft Teams.
Simply put, it is to introduce the mixed reality function of the virtual experience platform Microsoft Mesh into the office collaboration software Microsoft Teams. According to officials, as soon as the first half of 2022, you will be able to experience immersive meetings and more immersive remote collaboration in the preview version of Mesh for Teams.
First of all, there is no need to prepare delicate makeup for the video conference. You will have your own personalized 3D virtual image. When you don’t want to open the camera to show your face, you can let it appear on your behalf.
Microsoft will use AI to capture your voice, infer your mouth shape, facial expression, body language, etc., and present it on the virtual image. Smiling, frowning, angry… All emotions and movements can be expressed naturally, allowing you to have a face-to-face conversation with your colleagues, knowing that you are a living person in front of you.
You can wear HoloLens with 6 microphones and 16 cameras to experience an immersive meeting, or you can use other VR headsets, mobile phones or laptops to access it. With the technical support of Mesh, people can communicate, collaborate and share here through any device.
Enterprises or teams can also build different virtual spaces on Microsoft Teams.
In the virtual meeting room, you and your colleagues' 3D villains can talk about the progress of the project, brainstorm and collide with the small universe; if you are tired and want to take a break, you can also go to the lounge and other areas, meet for a cup of coffee, and relax with a game . Spatial audio can add a sense of presence to these experiences.
Word, PPT, Excel and other Microsoft Office software you are familiar with can be called at any time. From then on, it will no longer be a dream to work overtime in Metaverse to write manuscripts and do PPT.
In addition, with real-time translation and transcription technical support, even if you meet colleagues from different cultural backgrounds here, you can overcome language barriers and quickly collaborate.
Microsoft's "meta universe part-time job" experience emphasizes immersion and sense of presence.
Prior to this, Microsoft Teams had introduced the Together mode, which believed that placing video conference participants in the same static virtual background would make each other feel together and help enhance team cohesion.
▲ Together mode of Microsoft Teams
In contrast, Mesh for Teams has richer scenes. If you want, you can even move the entire office to a virtual space in minutes. The experience has also become more three-dimensional and immersive. After all, the communication and feelings between colleagues are not only the passionate collision of meetings, but also the occasions of office corridors, fishing, chatting, gossip, sharing life and other moments.
Accenture Consulting is the first company to experience "Meta Universe Work" in Microsoft Teams. It currently has 624,000 employees in 120 countries around the world.
They used these technologies to build a "virtual headquarters" where employees can get to know each other, learn, collaborate, increase their relationship, and find a sense of belonging. It is said that Accenture has organized more than 100 team events.
During the epidemic, Accenture also conducted induction training for tens of thousands of new employees from all over the world in this virtual space. They cross the limitations of the real world and gather together to experience the corporate culture immersively, meet new colleagues, and quickly accumulate a network of contacts in dialogue and other interactions.
"It may sound old-fashioned, but people like it. It's better than finding a career mentor and chatting with you in a video conference for 2 days." said Ellyn Shook, Accenture's chief human resources officer.
And Jason Warnke, Accenture Global Digital Experience Director, said that sometimes people forget that they are in a virtual space. After recognizing the avatar of a colleague, they naturally walk over and have in-depth and meaningful conversations. "This is this virtual space. The most amazing place."
Choose the least sexy scene, Microsoft hopes to power the meta universe
After the Microsoft Ignite conference, Microsoft released another short video explaining what the meta-universe is in their eyes:
You can think of Metaverse as a new version of the Internet, or a new vision. There, people gather together to communicate, collaborate and share through personalized avatars on any device.
Social, entertainment, games, fitness, education… so many unconstrained meta-universe scenes, why does Microsoft use office collaboration as the starting point?
In an interview with Bloomberg, Nadella said that many consumer scenes sound like science fiction. In contrast, the epidemic has made it more common for companies to explore digital solutions. It is still far away to realize the public's understanding of the meta-universe, but the meta-universe has already begun to have commercial uses.
In fact, for Microsoft, Mesh for Teams is just a beginning, a prototype, and an entrance to the meta-universe.
"Fast Company" reported that Microsoft is not interested in "owning/ruling a meta-universe." It hopes to power the meta-universe. It hopes that the Mesh platform can become the glue that connects multiple worlds.
In an interview, Microsoft technical researcher Alex Kipman said that many people think that there is a metaverse, but he agrees with the view of the multiverse. "Every website today may become a metaverse tomorrow; and what makes the Internet interesting, It’s a connection between websites.”
Microsoft Mesh was launched in March of this year, a mixed reality platform powered by Azure that allows people to join a collaborative and shared holographic experience through multiple devices (smartphones, laptops, VR headsets, etc.).
▲ Microsoft Mesh
To a certain extent, you can regard Mesh as a basic technology. Today, the office collaboration platform Teams is the first to be blessed. Tomorrow, there will be more application scenarios to have a meta-universe immersive experience through API.
Some of Nadella's presentations at the Microsoft Ignite conference can also see this pragmatic and ambitious idea:
We are combining people, places, and things with the virtual world, whether it is in the consumer sector or in the corporate sector.
In the entire Microsoft cloud, from Azure IOT to Azure Digital Twins, to Connected Spaces and Microsoft Mesh, we are building the inner elements of the meta universe, a meta universe platform for you to create and build.
▲ Nadella talked about various technical solutions for Yuan Universe
For now, compared with the meta-universe "big pie" drawn by Meta, Microsoft's meta-universe concept sounds much more restrained and practical.
In addition to "Meta Universe part-time job," Microsoft also revealed that future Xbox games will be added to the Meta Universe project. Nadella said that "Halo" series (Halo), "Minecraft", "Microsoft Flight Sim" can all be meta-universes, but the focus is on how to bring them from 2D to a complete 3D world .
On November 3, when Microsoft President Brad Smith attended the Lisbon Internet Summit in Portugal, he pointed out that technology giants such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Apple are likely to develop their own meta-universes. But it is important not to let "hype" obscure technological trends.
Everyone is talking about the meta-universe, as if we are entering a new dimension. This is not a paradise to go to after death, we still have to live in the real world and get along with people.
(Meta universe) will become very large and important. We must ensure that it protects privacy, digital security, and prevents false information and manipulation.
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