If you’ve ever wanted to appear to be in a meeting, Microsoft Teams is here to help. According to the Microsoft 365 roadmap, 3D avatars will be available for Microsoft Teams in May of this year. What’s intriguing about the avatars in Teams is that users will be able to utilize them even if their camera is switched off.
The avatar will emote based solely on your voice, so users who don’t want to be on camera (and their organization is fine with it) can still have a fully animated avatar bopping around the conference while the user is simply speaking.
Avatars for Microsoft Teams give you a much-needed camera break while still allowing you to work efficiently. With customizable avatars and replies, you can add a new layer of choice to your meetings and represent yourself the way you want.
Katie Kelly, principal product manager for Microsoft Mesh, detailed the experience in an interview with The Verge in 2021:
“It’s not binary, so I can choose how I want to show up, whether it’s video or an avatar, and there’s a variety of customized options to choose how you want to be present in a meeting. We are able to interpret your vocal cues to animate that avatar, so it does feel present and it does feel like it’s there with you.”
After the addition of avatars to Microsoft Teams, the firm intends to create a Teams app on the Meta Quest headset, where users will be able to utilise them as well. It’s unknown when that app or avatar experience will be available.
While Microsoft intends to strengthen its ties with Meta’s Quest headgear, the social media company is going through a difficult period. Today’s announcement comes on the same day as Meta announced additional layoffs affecting around 10,000 employees. Meta has reduced the price of the Meta Quest Pro and Meta Quest 2 in order to increase sales of its VR headset.