Avatars for Microsoft Teams made available to the public this week

Avatars for Microsoft Teams made available to the public this week
Microsoft started to roll out a public preview of its Avatars for Teams feature this week, allowing Teams users to transform themselves into customisable avatars for video meetings.

Originally announced in 2021, the tech giant is finally letting the public get its hands on a feature it says can combat meeting fatigue as well as backgrounds you might prefer to not share with your colleagues and clients.

In a blogpost that announced the feature, Microsoft claimed that only 30% of participants meet with video on despite the fact that video usage has been linked to meeting participation, inclusiveness, and effectiveness.

“Avatars for Microsoft Teams offers an alternative to the current binary option of video or no video,” wrote Avery Salumbides, Microsoft employee and author of the post.

A private preview of the feature was released in October and, since then, Microsoft has improved performance and lighting for avatars. It says the lighting system has improved performance and enhanced the appearance of avatar skin and hair.

Customisation choices have also been expanded with wardrobe, headwear, and accessories to add options like a bindis and hearing aids.

Microsoft also turned its attention to reactions to allow meeting participants to interact with non-verbal communication. Teams emoji reactions, such as raising a hand, can be mimicked by the avatar.  

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