This week at Microsoft’s annual Ignite Conference, the tech giant revealed a bold vision of the future of digital collaboration with the introduction of Mesh, a new mixed reality experience set to shape how people work and socialize online. Microsoft envisions Mesh to spark an evolution in current online work tools which for most people generally consist of shared documents, email, a messaging app like Teams or Slack, and a regular lineup of video meetings. The end goal of Mesh according to Microsoft “will enable geographically distributed teams to have more collaborative meetings, conduct virtual design sessions, assist others, learn together, and host virtual social meetups. People will initially be able to express themselves as virtual avatars in these shared virtual experiences and over time use holoportation to project themselves as their most lifelike, photorealistic selves.”
Mesh is powered by Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform and is designed to run on a range of different devices, including Microsoft’s Hololens headsets, VR goggles, smartphones, tablets, PCs, and more. Mesh is not just an app for holding virtual meetings. Microsoft is hoping architects, engineers, and designers will all see the promise of Mesh, particularly during a pandemic when it is difficult to work with 3D physical models without all contributors being in the same room.
During its presentation, Microsoft demonstrated Mesh’s ability to project a 3D model of a car in real space, allowing engineers to view a life-size AR rendering in a shared virtual space. And while Microsoft did not announce any concrete timelines for integrating Mesh with Microsoft Teams or its Dynamic 365 productivity suite, the company is already planning to add support for Mesh-enabled apps in future versions of its enterprise collaboration software.
While on the subject of VR, check out Oculus Quest 2.