The US multinational Microsoft announced this Wednesday a new modality for its Teams remote work platform that simulates a physical classroom or auditorium so that participants share the same virtual space and can even interact with each other.
As explained by the considered father of virtual reality, Jaron Lanier, in a meeting with journalists, including Efe, the fact that all the participants appear in the same space (unlike the usual individual rectangles in videoconferences) allows them to interact between them through gestures and eye contact.
The “Together” mode uses artificial intelligence to create an avatar of each participant with their face and bust, place them in the same or different rows of chairs and facilitate interactions such as looking at each other, clasping hands or greeting each other.
“It is a way of making digital meetings during the COVID-19 pandemic a less miserable, isolating, tired and strange experience,” said Lanier, who has collaborated in the development of this tool.
In addition to the classroom or auditorium, Internet users can also choose to meet in a virtual cafeteria if they wish, and up to 49 people can participate in the meetings.
Beyond the fun or curious aspect of the modality, the objective is to contribute to making a more humane and less stressful experience of the large number of meetings and virtual classes that are taking place these days due to the health situation, and which are expected to lengthen for several months.
In addition to “Together”, the company from Redmond (Washington state, USA) also announced new tools for Teams such as a dynamic view mode that allows content to be shared between participants, meeting transcripts and the inclusion of their assistant voice Cortana.
Since the health crisis began with COVID-19, the use of tools to hold video calls over the internet has exploded, and Teams fiercely competes with other services such as Zoom, Houseparty, Google Hangouts or Apple’s FaceTime to get the most share. of this market.