It seems that the entire world has been talking about Facebook’s recent rebranding to Meta and, more specifically, the vision of the metaverse that CEO Mark Zuckerberg set out for the future of the group. Not to be outdone, Microsoft stood up and announced their intentions to fully integrate Mesh into Microsoft Teams from 2022.
What is Mesh?
Mesh is a foundational technology layer that aims to hold various metaverse worlds together. A company, for example, can set up a virtual world where employees can connect and meet in a number of different configurations while maintaining the same digital identity throughout. In other words, your digital avatar becomes your portal to the rest of the functionality within the ecosystem.
No matter how you’ve dialed in, or what device you’re on, Mesh does all the work behind the scenes to make it all seamless. Your avatar will look like a cartoon version of you and will display all your facial expressions in real-time, giving your avatar that realism that we need when we are meeting virtually.
Integrating with Microsoft Teams
Microsoft has been working on Mesh for a few years now, but the integration with Microsoft Teams is going to bring it to a much wider audience. Teams has an estimated audience of 250 million people worldwide and it acts as the central communication hub for millions of companies in every industry you can imagine.
Applying the Mesh technology here is the first real use case we’re going to be able to see of the metaverse concept at any real scale. Bringing this level of VR integration to a community of this size is incredibly exciting for the industry and it will be fascinating to see how it plays out. The business meetings of the future will look very different from our traditional video conferencing right now, and this is a big step towards that future.
What does this mean for the industry?
If this integration achieves what it sets out to, it will create vast new demand for AR and VR headsets that will allow employees to fully experience Mesh. Corporations might see a headset in the same way as they see a laptop – a crucial piece of technological infrastructure that they must provide for every person in the workforce. That would do an incredible amount for widespread adoption of this hardware.
In addition, the mass adoption would also cause a ripple effect in terms of the sorts of things that can be built on top of this world. Microsoft really wants to enable developers to build on the Mesh infrastructure in a composable way, and there’s no saying what sort of innovation can come out of that. The future of work looks like it will incorporate VR and AR – especially if a large portion of work remains remote and distributed.