Microsoft announced that animated avatars are now available in preview for its Teams collaboration platform.
Via the Avatars app in the Microsoft Teams App Store, Technical Access Program members can now design up to three avatars for use in meetings and choose from a variety of response gestures.
The so-called Mesh avatars were first announced for Microsoft Teams in blog post (opens in a new tab) John Roach, CTO of Digital Advisory Services, in November 2021.
Grid avatars for the workplace
Mesh avatars allow greater freedom of expression in a hybrid work environment, and users can customize physical attributes, accessories, and other aspects of themselves.
Microsoft’s release of this feature at Ignite confirms its commitment to blur the line between videoconferencing software and metaverseswhich some business leaders consider to be the next big development in collaboration tools after switching to hybrid work.
These spaces are designed around mesh avatars interacting inside a virtual space equipped with the tools teams need to collaborate, such as: tables, storage of documentsand video conferencing software.
If Microsoft continues to develop features adjacent to the Teams metaverse, it may be able to thwart Meta plans for the sector with its own Horizon Workrooms metaverse.
Horizon Workrooms can be seen as a less convenient offering compared to Teams, a video conferencing application that is already used by many organizations and benefits from Microsoft 365 integration.
Until then, organizations wishing to try out the new mesh avatars but without access to private preview can sign up for updates on Team site (opens in a new tab).