Microsoft Announces News To Enhance The Integration Of Equipment In Hybrid Scenarios
Of the more than 60 million meeting rooms worldwide, only 7.8% are appropriately set up to use video. The functionalities supported by Microsoft Artificial Intelligence improve the user experience and overcome many of the current limitations. The health situation caused by COVID-19 put on the table the need to adapt to new work models – first remote and later hybrids – for which many were not prepared. Since then, Microsoft has facilitated people, companies, organizations, and governments through tools such as Microsoft 365 and Teams. And it continues to improve its solutions with new features that it announces today to achieve a simpler and more efficient environment in this new normal.
The recent Microsoft Labor Trends Index shows that while 73% of employees want the option of continuing to telecommute, 67% want more in-person interaction. However, the same report notes that, in a year in which 160,000 people began telecommuting at Microsoft, and 25,000 new employees joined the company remotely, the percentage of company employees who say they feel integrated is in the low range. The all-time high of 90%.
As remote work became more widespread during the pandemic, it became more difficult to find a satisfactory balance between work and personal life and each employee’s connection to the rest of the organization. While hybrid work improves these areas, finding the balance remains challenging.
Hybrid work, which has become the new reality for many, is still a challenge that most are unprepared for. We know that technology is the key to improving connections, collaboration, and productivity within this new work model. For this reason, we continue to work every day to offer new functionalities and to be able to create a solid foundation for flexible work culture. We are sure that the innovations we announced today in Microsoft 365 will contribute enormously to this, Antonio Cruz, director of Microsoft’s Workplace and Security business unit.
Smart Cameras For A Hybrid World
One of the aspects that can be more complicated in many organizations that carry out their activity in hybrid scenarios is ensuring that all the people who attend a meeting feel equally integrated, regardless of whether they are physically in a room with other colleagues or connected remotely from anywhere. Traditional meeting rooms don’t have the proper hardware, software, or furniture to facilitate hybrid meetings effectively. According to Frost and Sullivan, of the more than 60 million meeting rooms worldwide, only 7.8% are correctly set up to use video, resulting in a poor experience for remote attendees.
Following the news announced last June to facilitate inclusive hybrid meetings, today Microsoft unveils the next generation of functionality with a new category of intelligent cameras, with three technologies based on Artificial Intelligence to bring people closer together:
- Active participant monitoring. Thanks to this technology, from a general video shot of a room, the Artificial Intelligence incorporated in Teams analyzes the scene to detect who is speaking at any given moment -through sound, facial movements, or gestures-, to zoom on the interlocutor and offer a closer frame.
- From a general plan of a single camera, in which several people appear, Teams can also generate different video frames so that each participant appears independently connected to the meeting, matching all the people in it, regardless of whether they are physically assembled or remotely connected.
- People recognition so that Teams will identify and display the profile name of each registered user within their video panel. All this, from a single general plan of the room.
When smart cameras are combined with the dynamic view in Teams, it can deliver more similar meeting experiences where everyone feels represented. As people join a meeting, Teams automatically adjust different elements so that remote participants can easily see the room and content.
Features For Greater Interaction
With the integration of different tools and functionalities such as Microsoft Office 365, Sharepoint, or Teams, hybrid meetings experience a notable improvement to meet the expectations of all organizations. Microsoft today announced the following news:
- Updated “Companion Mode” in Teams for mobile as a companion device in meetings to provide attendees in the room with quick access to engagement features such as chat, live reactions, and Microsoft Whiteboard. In addition, the mobile app also facilitates access to meeting and device controls, such as the ability to join a meeting, present a PowerPoint, mute the room, activate and deactivate the cameras in the room, etc.
- Thanks to the new options, Outlook will allow users to include in their calendar when and where they will work at all times. In addition, the confirmation of attendance at the meeting will indicate whether it will be done in person or remotely so that the organizer can better manage the reservation of the room or the appropriate equipment for each situation.
- The new experience reserving flexible workspaces (hot desking) in the office with dedicated Microsoft Teams display devices. Devices with Teams screens can be used as a standalone primary computer or as a second screen during meetings when hot-desking is done, and when you log out of them, all personal information is removed.
- Cameo, a new PowerPoint experience, seamlessly integrates Teams camera images into presentations, allowing the user to decide how and where they want their image to appear on slides while presenting. Cameo offers design recommendations for optimal and immersive viewing. It will be available in early 2022.
- Speaker Coach comes to Microsoft Teams to analyze user interaction in meetings using AI and provide you with information about your pace, notify you if you are interrupting someone, or ensure that your audience continues to attend.
- Automatic lighting correction to improve the quality of meetings, even in low-light environments. This functionality will be available over the next few months.
- Teams’ arrival to Apple CarPlay this month allows users to join Teams meetings and make hands-free calls while behind the wheel, using Siri.
- Availability of the Viva Connections mobile application in a public preview version over the next few weeks. Microsoft Viva integrates communication, knowledge, ideas, and learning into the workflow.
- It is now possible to share and interact with the content of the applications in Teams during the meetings themselves, allowing scenarios such as solving visual problems or developing brainstorming.
New Platform To Develop Skills In A Hybrid Environment
Through LinkedIn, Microsoft is making it possible for people actively looking for work to find job vacancies that fit the way they work, with specific filters for remote, hybrid, and face-to-face work. In addition, the company is working on including new functionalities that allow the user to know more about how companies are approaching the future of work, including vaccination requirements if they plan to return to an office, remain remote or adopt hybrid models.
People are facing new challenges in work, and it is essential to invest in developing new skills to thrive. In its commitment to training to support teams in the transition to hybrid work, LinkedIn Learning Hub helps companies develop the skills of their employees through personalized content, community-based learning, and knowledge development skills.