Video calls are now the norm for communication in business, both internal and external. The fact that this has become standard so quickly is amazing, and it really takes meetings to the next level. Of course, there’s a downside too. A lot of us groan when we realize we need to be on camera.
Sure, you can turn your camera off or use a photo of yourself so you’re not just initials showing up on screen. But you lose some visual impact that way. Microsoft has the answer though, and is introducing what they are calling Mesh Avatars.
Microsoft studies have noticed that it is common to feel stress and exhaustion from extending time on camera. Their proposed solution is the Mesh avatar, which is a visual representation of yourself that removes that on-camera stress.
Mesh avatars are cartoon style avatars, the likes of Metaverse or the Sims, and it allows you to be visually present without the use of your camera. It also allows you to have different versions styled to fit different meetings. No need to worry about dress code if you can switch with a click of your mouse. Of course, the avatars will be able to express and react how you choose them to, with a wide range of gestures available.
This is a first step towards true virtual meetings, as 50% of Millenials and Gen Z envision conducting work in the metaverse in the next 2 years. The Mesh avatar is in private preview now for testing (only available to those in the Technology Adoption Program), and we can expect the feedback to tweak and streamline the application before public release. The public release date is yet to be announced.
What do you think of this? Do you think it will make your meetings more interesting and fun? Will you encourage your team to use Mesh avatars when available?