In other developments, Nike appears to be embarking on a hiring spree as it tentatively explores jumping into the metaverse.
It looks like Facebook — now renamed Meta — has fired the starting pistol on tech giants and big brands rushing into the metaverse.
Microsoft has announced that it is going to be rolling out updates to Xbox consoles and Teams, the communication platform that has become a mainstay of offices everywhere following on from the coronavirus pandemic.
These new tools are collectively known as Mesh. Explaining how this will work in Teams, Microsoft said:
“The feature combines the mixed-reality capabilities of Microsoft Mesh, which allows people in different physical locations to join collaborative and shared holographic experiences, with the productivity tools of Microsoft Teams, where people can join virtual meetings, send chats, collaborate on shared documents and more.”
The company went on to explain that, while remote workers have been far more productive than many executives could have envisaged:
“They miss hallway moments, kitchen catch-ups and chance encounters. They miss the body language from across the conference room table that says things that can’t be said.”
And while meetings can be more engaging when everyone turns on their video cameras, this experience is also “awkward and binary” at times.
How It Will Work
Crucially, Microsoft says that its metaverse tools will be available across all devices — including smartphones, laptops and mixed-reality headsets — meaning that a lack of technical gear won’t pose a hurdle to getting involved.
Users will be able to create custom digital avatars of themselves — and while Microsoft’s timing suggests that it has been pushed into action by Meta, the tech giant says it has been working on its own metaverse tools for several years.
Indeed, some companies have already been trying it out. The professional services company Accenture has a virtual campus where employees can gather for coffees, parties and presentations — giving new starters a way of bumping into colleagues from around the world.
In other developments, Nike appears to be embarking on a hiring spree as it tentatively explores jumping into the metaverse. The sportswear brand has also submitted applications to ensure its swoosh logo and “just do it” slogan are trademarked in virtual worlds.