Microsoft is introducing Mesh to Teams, aiming to enhance virtual collaboration.

Microsoft has this week announced the integration of its Microsoft Mesh platform into Teams, enhancing virtual collaboration within the company’s business communication and messaging app, which is used by hundreds of millions of people.

According to Microsoft, Mesh in Teams offers 3D immersive environments that can be used for team social events, brainstorming sessions, and round-table discussions. Users can create avatars to represent themselves and engage in productive conversations with features such as spatial audio, simulating real-life interactions.

Users will retain the functionality of familiar Teams features even after integration, but now they can access them within a 3D environment. This includes collaborating on shared content, engaging in Teams chat, and expressing themselves through live reactions. To begin using Mesh in Teams, users can easily choose the “immersive space (3D)” option from the View menu during a Teams meeting on PC.

Custom Virtual Experiences with Microsoft Mesh

Organizations can now host larger events with custom, immersive experiences through Microsoft Mesh. The platform’s no-code editor allows for the customization of ready-made spaces with elements like organizational logos, videos, and presentation content. Furthermore, with the Mesh toolkit users can harness the power of Unity to create their own custom interactive experiences.

Real-World Applications of Mesh

Microsoft noted that several leading organizations such as Takeda, Accenture, bp, and Mercy Ships have already been utilizing Mesh to build their own immersive spaces for onboarding, training, hosting large events, and running simulations:

Takeda‘s journey with Mesh began when the company sought a cost-effective way to help its geo-diverse workforce connect and further their common cultural understanding. The company built the ‘Hirameki Garden,’ a virtual space representing Takeda’s values and serving as a venue for large events. The initiative reflects Takeda’s commitment to fostering corporate culture and innovation.

Leo Barella, Takeda’s Chief Technology Officer, expressed that Microsoft Mesh allows them to design personalized virtual experiences that accurately depict their operating model, corporate philosophy, and values. Barella believes that the potential use cases and benefits of Microsoft Mesh are just beginning to be explored.

Accenture’s onboarding program at ‘One Accenture Park,’ a virtual campus created in Mesh, has successfully integrated over 300,000 new hires. Each new-hire cohort is invited to ride a virtual monorail to different educational exhibits, expert talks in auditoriums, and events in gathering spaces to meet their colleagues and learn about key skills to be successful in their new roles.

Accenture’s One Accenture Park immersive location (Image credit: Accenture)

BpBP, a worldwide energy company, partnered with Microsoft to create ‘Highly Immersive Visualization Environments’ (HIVEs) utilizing Mesh. These digital solutions enable BP’s global teams to collaborate more efficiently and securely from any location in the world, while also reducing costs and carbon emissions. Additionally, experts will soon be able to virtually convene in HIVEs to monitor wind turbines in remote areas or address equipment repairs using digital twins, eliminating the need to physically be on-site.

Roger Rohatgi, Vice President and Global Head of Design for BP, stated: “By partnering with Microsoft Mesh, we can explore how to use advanced technology for faster, more informed, and safer decision-making as we pursue our ambition to become an integrated energy company.”

Mercy ShipsMercy Ships is a global charity that uses hospital ships to offer free surgical care and education to underserved communities in Africa. With the help of Dell Technologies and Link To VR, Mercy Ships created the ‘Global Mercy,’ a virtual version of their hospital ship using Microsoft Mesh. This allows them to train their diverse team of volunteers more effectively by providing immersive training and orientation experiences, saving on travel expenses, and improving operational efficiency.

Dave Shwadlenak, Vice President of Information Services at Mercy Ships, expressed enthusiasm about utilizing the digital twin of the Global Mercy in Mesh. This technology enables our volunteers, who come from various parts of the world to join our ships, to have a virtual experience of our vessels before their actual arrival. This enhances their onboarding process and overall experience.

There are numerous other features and functionalities available to customers currently transforming work with Microsoft Mesh, which is generally available now for businesses and organizations. Business plans are required to access Mesh features in Teams, however, pricing for this starts at USD $4.00 per month with a Microsoft Teams Essentials plan. To learn more about Microsoft Mesh in Teams, click here.

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