Microsoft joins the meta Universe War: to seamlessly bond different meta universes

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Key points:
1 Microsoft announced that from 2022, it will directly implant the virtual experience collaboration platform mesh into teams to create its own meta universe.
2 Microsoft teams will get new 3D avatars to promote the development of the meta universe environment. Users can use them without wearing VR helmets.
3 in the team internal virtual space envisaged by Microsoft, people can play online games and socialize, and even use Microsoft applications for project cooperation.
4 different from meta’s meta universe vision, Microsoft does not want to control the meta universe itself, but wants to connect different meta universes.
Tencent technology news on November 3, a few days ago, social networking giant Facebook renamed its brand meta to promote the plan to build a meta universe for consumers and enterprises. Now, Microsoft has also joined the meta universe war to establish a virtual world within its collaborative office software teams.
Microsoft said that next year it will directly implant the virtual experience collaboration platform mesh into teams to seamlessly bond different metauniverses. This is part of Microsoft’s ambition to combine the company’s hybrid reality and hololens with conference and video call functions, which can be attended by anyone, thanks to 3D avatars.
3D avatars will appear in Microsoft collaborative office software teams in 2022
Through the latest statement, Microsoft and meta seem to have launched a fierce competition in the field of metauniverse, especially in the field of future work. Microsoft mesh always feels like the future of teams conference. It becomes active in the first half of 2022. After months of working from home and adapting to mixed work, Microsoft is trying to make the meeting more interactive, such as together mode and other experiments.
3D avatars help alleviate virtual conference fatigue
Nicole herskowitz, general manager of Microsoft teams, explained in an interview: “we encountered conference fatigue in the virtual world, which hit us. After a meeting of up to 30 or 40 minutes, it is difficult to keep people actively involved and focused.” the initial conference fatigue led to the birth of the common model, Now Microsoft hopes mesh can further help reduce the cognitive burden of having to make video calls all day.
Microsoft teams will get new 3D avatars to promote the development of metacosmic environment. You can use them without wearing VR helmets. These avatars can represent users in 2D and 3D meetings, so if they don’t want to turn on the webcam, they can choose the animated version of themselves.
Katie Kelly, chief product manager of Microsoft mesh, said: “These avatars are not binary, so I can choose the display mode I want, video or avatar, and various customization options to choose how you want to attend the meeting. We can interpret your voice prompts and make your avatar vivid, so you can really feel its existence and feel like it’s around you.”
Microsoft will use artificial intelligence (AI) Listen to your voice and animate your avatar. If you switch to a more immersive 3D conference scene, these animations will also include raising your avatar’s hand when you click the raise your hand option, or making animated emoticons around your avatar. Immersive space is what Microsoft thinks this mesh integration is most useful, especially in building meta for enterprises Microsoft envisions a virtual space within teams where people can play online games and socialize, and even collaborate on projects using Microsoft applications.
These virtual environments will obviously work best on VR or ar helmets, but thanks to the work of animated avatars, they will be open to anyone on multiple devices. Kelly explained: “I think the real difference between how Microsoft realizes the metauniverse and our own experience starts from human experience, so the sense of existence, talking to people, eye contact and response will be crucial.”
Microsoft teams will introduce many 3D avatars
Microsoft has even increased its support for translation and transcription, so you can meet colleagues from all over the world in the virtual teams space, with fewer language barriers. Kelly said: “Microsoft teams is expected to start using these virtual spaces and virtual avatars in the first half of 2022. Our goal is that by the first half of next year, you will be able to enter the immersive virtual space, and then be able to collaborate and use Microsoft tools.”
Enterprises will be able to build their own virtual space or metauniverse within teams. This is what Accenture, a consulting agency, has been experimenting with since it created its own virtual park for employees before the outbreak. This virtual space soon became useful because the company used it to recruit new employees during the outbreak.
Seamless connection of different meta universes
From 2022, people will be able to hold meetings in virtual space by wearing VR or ar helmets. Instead of simply communicating through video, people will be able to appear in the form of 3D avatars to express facial expressions in real time, including smiles and frowns. Alex kipman, a researcher of AI and hybrid reality technology at Microsoft, promised: Your avatar can express anger, happiness and other emotions. ”
While launching the hololens ar helmet, Microsoft has been developing its own virtual world through mesh for several years. But so far, it is difficult to find out what mesh is. This is mainly because mesh is only an underlying basic technology: it is through any device (Smartphone, laptop, helmet, etc.) The way to connect people. Enter the shared space where they can interact, no matter how they enter.
Now, with Microsoft announcing the introduction of mesh into teams in 2022, we have clearly seen what mesh will look like in popular applications for the first time.

The vision of metauniverse announced by meta last week is similar to the platform displayed by Microsoft. The company can create its own 3D brand space on these two platforms, and people’s avatars are cute and cartoon. However, Microsoft leaders directly drew a line between meta’s metauniverse and their own methods, because although meta wants to have a metauniverse, Microsoft is more willing to provide power for it.
In 2022, Microsoft teams will include virtual conference space
“The outside world thinks there will be a meta universe, and everyone will live in ‘my’ meta universe. But in my opinion, this is an anti Utopian view of the future. I believe in the multi universe. Every website today is tomorrow’s meta universe. The interesting thing about the Internet is that websites can be freely connected,” kipman said
Microsoft imagines teams as the prototype of the meta universe, where companies can build their own virtual space. Microsoft does not rule its own meta universe as meta desires, but regards mesh as a role of providing basic adhesive to help connect multiple meta universes. This is not just a philosophical view of technology. Microsoft’s mesh allows companies to use APIs, just like applications on today’s iPhone, to help companies build their own metauniverse and have a lasting identity in all these virtual worlds.
“If we have an infinite number of avatars instead of a few or one, our strategy will succeed,” kipman explained
The mesh of Microsoft team gives us a glimpse of the true face of the metauniverse. As a pilot partner, Accenture placed tens of thousands of new employees in a virtual global headquarters during the outbreak of the epidemic. Employees in the HR department will spend two days helping new employees adapt through interactive seminars, including more typical meeting rooms, fishing ponds for teaching identity fraud, and the leadership essentials mountain they climb, so as to understand the characteristics that Accenture is looking for in leaders. New employees can even take virtual group photos of each other.
“It may sound old-fashioned, but people like it. It’s much better than having a coach talk to you for two days in teams,” said Ellyn Shok, Accenture human resources officer
The size and scope of the company’s meta space will vary, depending on how much development funds the company has invested in digital real estate. More consistent is the user side of the experience: specifically, how the user’s Avatar interacts with these avatars in the metauniverse. Microsoft’s interactive rules for users’ image in the meta universe may be more important than the design of the virtual world.
Why introduce 3D avatars?
Microsoft’s anchoring philosophy for mesh is that you can come not only because you are yourself, but because of who you want to be. As mentioned earlier, users can use webcam or mobile phone to enter teams as before, but you can also choose to appear in your own cartoon image.
If you are on a pure audio call, Microsoft will use software to translate your words into the appropriate mouth shape. The speech also led to the accompanying gestures and expressions. If you have a webcam available, Microsoft can use this data to map these expressions more accurately.
The first question we ask Microsoft is, why do we always see cartoon avatars in virtual space? Are they useful? Or do they just cover up the emotions in real communication? Facts have proved that these cartoon images have several important functions, especially for those of us who don’t like to appear in front of the camera all day.
Translation and transcription functions will help bridge language barriers
Jared Spataro, vice president of Microsoft 365 and teams, said: “Today, people are faced with a dilemma when attending digital conferences. They must choose whether to turn on the camera or turn off the camera. Turning on the camera means that you stand in the front and in the middle, and people will see your every move. Turning off the camera means that you almost don’t give social cues, so it’s difficult to feel fully engaged in the conference.”
In fact, we all wonder if the colleague who turned off the video and kept silent really attended the meeting. Microsoft’s own human factors laboratory has tested these extremes: they tied EEG to people’s heads and saw people exhausted in the video. They also found that when you have an avatar, 70% of the participants think that person is present. Kip “Choosing a 3D avatar is the best choice for us to present a 3D human body at today’s level of graphics technology. Microsoft avatars will be able to project your own body language and map your actions through webcams or other ways,” Mann said
These avatars look complex enough to mimic facial expressions, and Microsoft obviously doesn’t want to screw it up. “You need to be able to show yourself in a real way, including frowning and expressing anger. Because as a business and emotional construction, it’s important for the avatar to represent you as real as possible,” kipman said“
Equally important, Microsoft wants you to bring your mesh avatar out of teams and into the multiuniverse. Mesh APIs adapt to this possibility, balancing the persistence of users’ own identity with the rules that may be built in any different meta space they access.
Kipmann imagined that you (and your avatar) might attend a virtual concert on Sunday night and pick up a T-shirt. The next morning, your avatar should be able to wear that T-shirt to work with teams. If appropriate, each individual meta universe can impose its own rules. Kipmann said: “if the Department of Defense (DoD) “We don’t want T-shirts with Mickey Mouse in, we just want uniforms,” said the metauniverse. According to the way they process data today, they can ban the wearing of Mickey Mouse T-shirts in the metauniverse. ”

Perhaps the dress code of the Ministry of defense is not so eye-catching at first glance, but kipman explained that the PG level metauniverse can establish rules and norms around some avatar choices to ensure that families and adults have safe space, which is a quite eye-catching failure of the Internet today. Of course, mesh for teams is still under development, and many of its functions have not been described in detail. But it is clear that Microsoft is trying to strike a balance between serious self-expression and reasonable regulation.
The meta cosmic war intensified
It is estimated that if the current trend continues, the market scale of metauniverse will reach US $800 billion by 2024.
In Microsoft’s view, one aspect of the metauniverse is “the pinnacle of Intelligent Cloud and intelligent edge”. Satya NADELLA, chief executive of Microsoft, said in a keynote speech at Microsoft inspire this summer: “the enterprise metauniverse combines the Internet of things, digital twins and mixed reality.
With our meta universe stack, you can start with digital twins and build rich digital models for anything physical or logical, whether assets, products, or complex environments that span people, places, things and their interactions. These digital twins are tied to the physical world in real time, so you can monitor the environment and collaborate in it using hybrid reality “You can run simulations and apply AI to analyze and predict future states.”
The definition of the metauniverse and what it contains vary from stakeholder to stakeholder, but the competition is becoming more and more intense. A few days after Facebook was renamed meta, Microsoft promoted the establishment of a metauniverse within teams. Meta is studying concepts very similar to Microsoft, mainly representing your digital avatar in virtual space. Meta’s reality labs Department has always been manufacturing consumer hardware and software, including quest VR helmets, and expressed its vision of using augmented reality and virtual reality to support remote work last year.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg answered a question about yuanuniverse’s revenue opportunities at the second quarter earnings conference call. “I think digital products and creators will be very powerful. People will express themselves from one place to another through their avatars, digital clothes, digital products and applications they have. Business will be an important part of the meta universe, and you will be able to sell physical products and digital products at the same time,” he said
In addition to the expected enterprise use cases, the consumption based model may also be Microsoft’s meta cosmic goal. Teams has nearly 250 million monthly active users. Even if few users use metauniverse technology, it is worth it for the company. Microsoft and meta will obviously compete fiercely in the meta universe era. This is an area that Microsoft has been investing in for many years, including its hololens project and the acquisition of altspacevr. However, Microsoft and meta are not fighting alone. Many companies have begun to use platforms such as spatial to provide virtual space for events, meetings and network opportunities. (reviewed by Tencent technology / Jinlu)