The American tech giant, Microsoft, has decided to dive into the Metaverse through updates to its Teams and Xbox gaming console service. The company has also introduced a new product known as “Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces.”
The Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced the company’s Metaverse plans for Teams and Spaces on November 2, 2021, in a Microsoft Ignite conference. He said:
“The Metaverse enables us to embed computing into the real world and to embed the real world into computing. Bringing real presence to any digital space. What’s most important is that we are able to bring our humanity with us, and choose how we want to experience this world.”
The metaverse is here, and it’s not only transforming how we see the world but how we participate in it – from the factory floor to the meeting room. Take a look. pic.twitter.com/h5tsdYMXRD
— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) November 2, 2021
This update from Microsoft Teams is known as “Mesh” and its initial rollout in 2022 will give users personalized digital avatars and extensively immersive spaces to enable them to meet in the Metaverse “that can be accessed from any device, with no special equipment needed.”
Later on down the road of Mesh’s development, firms and institutions will have the opportunity to create custom spaces that support contexts like meetings and “social mixers.”
Microsoft’s new Dynamics 365 Connected Spaces product is expected to have its first preview in December 2021. It will enable the organizations to combine artificial intelligence and the Metaverse with their businesses. The company said that Spaces can be used to harness some observational data from cameras from the “the retail store to the factory floor,” in what it is terming as a “hybrid work environment.”
The General Manager of Connected Spaces wrote in a November 2 blog post:
“With the power of your existing cameras, harness computer vision and observational data to help complete the picture—giving a new perspective into people, places, and things. Following deployment, simply turn on AI-powered models, known as skills, to help understand specific scenarios such as customer behavior at a promotional display, traffic patterns, and insights unique to your space.”
While speaking with Bloomberg TV on November 3, Nadella also stated that Microsoft’s video game segment Xbox will “absolutely” work on linking the Metaverse into its gaming lines. The CEO kept his cards close to his chest during this announcement. He never provided any solid updates for the gaming industry.
“You can absolutely expect us to do things in gaming. If you take Halo as a game, it is a Metaverse. Minecraft is a Metaverse, and so is Flight Sim. In some sense, they’re 2D today and the question is can you now take that to a fully 3D world, and we absolutely plan to do so.”
Microsoft is not the only mainstream giant firm to come out with Metaverse plans in recent days. Earlier in the week, Nike also submitted applications for trademarks of its iconic logo and slogan to use in “online virtual worlds.” The company has also posted two interesting job listings for virtual material designers.
Nike stated that the recruits would “play an integral role in redefining our digital world, ushering us into the Metaverse.”
Social media leader Facebook is now taking a massive plunge into the Metaverse, with a famous rebrand to Meta and the company is working to offer a platform for the creators to develop virtual online businesses, launch its virtual reality (VR) hardware business known as “Reality Labs,” and connect online experiences with the physical world.
In a recent interview with CNBC’s Squawk Box that happened on October 29, Alexis Ohanian, the Reddit co-founder, commented on Facebook’s plans. He labeled them as a “masterstroke in diversion and distraction,” from the many issues that have plagued the social media company.
Ohanian said that Meta should not be “underestimated.” But, he insisted that there is adequate organic movement from the cryptocurrency industry to create an open Metaverse as opposed to the one controlled by the social media giant:
“Right now there is this bottom-up movement to create the metaverse. We have seen what is happening in the crypto community… we are seeing a lot of people building what I think is, and hopefully will become a much more organic type of world rather than a top-down Facebook-imposed one.”