Microsoft plans to roll out a new feature to Teams and Zoom that will let you replace your live camera feed with a 3D avatar when you’re on a video call.
The new feature will be released in May, according to Microsoft’s product roadmap. The 3D avatars will be available in many “customizable body types, skin tones, hair colors and hairstyles, clothing, and facial features, as per previous Mesh for Teams announcements,” according to Ars Technica.
The mesh works as an easy way to remain covert when you may not be at your most presentable state. Currently, the full list of Mesh features remains unknown. However, there are some indications of Microsoft’s future plans for the feature making the rounds.
The brand initially announced Mesh avatars in late 2021 when several companies invested in the metaverse. The concept was intended not only as a way to display 3D avatars in Teams, but also for users to interact in virtual reality workspaces with other colleagues. Microsoft said at the time that the avatars were supposed to move only when users spoke, but the brand soon plans to have the avatars match the user’s real-time movement with their webcams.
Microsoft had also intended to release Mesh in 2022, but the release was delayed due to growing interest in artificial intelligence (AI) across the industry. The brand unveiled its collaboration with the OpenAI company and had begun incorporating AI chatbot features into many of its products, including Bing Search and the Microsoft Office suite.
The Mesh project dropped as a priority for Microsoft as interest in the metaverse waned and more workers returned to the office. The company also experienced a series of layoffs in its transition to AI, Ars Technica noted.
Other brands, such as Meta (formerly Facebook) stated in 2022 that the metaverse would take five to 10 years to fully realize. However, it has since moved away from that concept in favor of AI as well.