Last week during Microsoft Ignite, Microsoft showed us the future of virtual collaboration with Microsoft Mesh. Microsoft Mesh “enables presence and shared experiences from anywhere – on any device – through mixed reality applications.” A powerful collaboration platform that brings users together and goes far beyond the limits of traditional 2-D video calls. Mesh uses mixed reality applications to bring users together like they are physically in the same room.
The current preview mode features digital avatars of users around a holographic table. On the table users can bring forth 2-D and 3-D models. Like current Mixed Reality capabilities users can resize objects, adjust their point of view, and place annotations on these models. One of the new features Mesh offers is the ability to save work throughout time and geography. This includes everything users have worked on from their point of view, 3-D model size, and annotations. Allowing anyone to pick up where the last user left off.
Another great feature of Microsoft Mesh is the capability to connect from any device. Microsoft designed Mesh to allow users to connect from a variety of devices such as the HoloLens, Oculus and other VR headsets, mobile phones, tablets, or PC. Although Microsoft recommends the use of HoloLens and Mixed Reality for the best experience.
During the introduction there were some key features to keep an eye out for in the future. The first is the use of actual human holograms instead of avatars. This will create a presence that truly feels like everyone is in the same room together. Second is integration with Microsoft Teams and Dynamics 365. The future of team meetings will be virtual mixed reality rooms, where users interact like they are in person rather than 2-D video calls.
Last is the use of holograms to replace physical prototypes such as cars shown in the image below. Mesh creates a far more efficient business process, saving time, money, and resources. Current business practices either requires everyone to physically meet or provide each team member a physical prototype. Mesh reduces inefficient down time. Once a new 3-D prototype is ready, teams can meet in a few hours instead of a few days or weeks needed to create a new physical model.
You can now preview Microsoft Mesh on either HoloLens 2, Mesh-enabled version of AltSpaceVR, and in the future for developers in SDK. The user interface and capabilities are basic with limited functionality. But the current preview is great to experience a glimpse into the future of how Microsoft envisions Mesh and virtual collaboration.
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