According to a Microsoft roadmap spotted by The Verge, Microsoft Teams will soon let you use a 3D avatar when on video calls, rather than your webcam.
Starting this May, Teams will introduce 3D avatars that you can customize to your liking. This new feature is aimed at giving users a camera break while allowing them to collaborate effectively with colleagues.
According to Microsoft, the Mesh avatars have been in development and testing for a while now, and they’ve received some positive feedback from beta users.
Users will have the ability to choose from hundreds of combinations of physical attributes and wardrobe options.
This will enable users to create avatars that look like them, or something entirely different, if they wish so.
But that’s not all. The avatars have various expressions and reactions, so you can show your emotions and enthusiasm during a meeting.
You can adjust the camera angle and even possibly use them in VR meetings with Meta Quest headsets, but Microsoft hasn’t confirmed if that’s a possibility yet.
“We want you to be able to express yourself via your Mesh avatar, so we created avatar reactions, a mood toggle, and options to adjust the camera angle,” Product Marketing Manager Avery Salumbides, wrote in a blog post last year. “Join your meeting with a smile on your face and show enthusiasm with just the right reaction—whether your coworker makes a point you agree with, says something surprising, or shares a funny story from the weekend.”
While it’s not a necessarily game-changing feature, it could prove useful to users who are tired of being on camera during meetings.
While some argue that video calls are more personal, having an avatar can provide more privacy.
I mean, we’ve all been there. You’re in a virtual Microsoft Teams meeting, trying to look professional and composed, but your messy bed in the background is screaming for attention. It’s a distraction and a source of embarrassment.
As stated earlier, the feature will be available from May but there’s no word on the exact date when the feature will be available in May, but I’m sure we’ll get more information soon.
For the impatient ones out there, you can learn more about Mesh Avatars here.
For now, it’s exciting to see Microsoft pushing the boundaries of what’s possible in virtual collaboration.