What is Microsoft Mesh?

Caroline LessingerIntroduction

In today’s digital era, the lines between our physical and virtual spheres are becoming increasingly blurred. Traditional video calls and online meetings have seemingly shortened the distances, but what if we could take it a step further? What if we could step inside the screen and interact with a shared digital space as if we were physically there? This is where Microsoft Mesh enters the scene – a groundbreaking Metaverse platform that promises to redefine the way we perceive digital collaboration. In this post, we take a closer look at what Microsoft Mesh is and how it might be the future of remote interaction while reducing the financial and environmental costs of traveling. 

Microsoft Mesh is a platform that provides shared immersive experiences. That offers remote and hybrid workers a sense of co-presence through a more natural way to connect with each other. Microsoft Mesh allows creatives to build custom employee experiences bringing people together for new hire onboarding, training, team building, and much more. By integrating the capabilities of Mesh into Microsoft Teams with Avatars and immersive spaces, employees can connect easily where they work.

Core Features of Microsoft Mesh

Within these shared spaces, be it a Microsoft Teams Meeting in a traditional way or an immersive space, users are represented by Avatars. During a traditional Microsoft Teams meeting the user can decide whether to use the camera or to show their avatar. These avatars can range from simple animated figures to more realistic representations based on the user’s likeness.

Mesh can be accessed via PC and Meta Quest devices.

Microsoft Mesh features Spatial Audio, which enhances the feeling of immersion. Users will hear sounds, coming from the direction corresponding to their avatar’s position in the virtual space. Which is, as a result, making interactions feel more natural and lifelike.  So, Spatial Audio enables participants to experience sounds as they would in an in-person setting. This feature will work even for users without a VR Headset, a PC is all you need. Besides Spatial Audio, you will be able to interact with objects and the environment.

Event Management Capabilities will also be an important feature in Microsoft Mesh. Design a real-time experience by enabling presentations, teleporting users within the environment, and launching content and animations in a set time sequence. And since Mesh is built on Microsoft 365, identity management, enterprise-grade privacy, and security are already built in.

Immersive Spaces for Teams

Immersive spaces by Mesh are integrated with Microsoft Teams. Therefore Mesh is helping employees form more experiential connections where they are working. Avatars for Teams enables its users to build connections without the need for turning the video on. That includes more people in the conversation, whether they need a break due to video fatigue or just feel more comfortable with their video off. In other words: Avatars add a new possible choice to Teams meetings, enhancing engagement and fun.

You can add immersive spaces to a Teams meeting, creating social gatherings. Connecting with others in immersive spaces mimics several elements of in-person gatherings. For example, with Microsoft Mesh, you can have a side chat with a person you want to catch up with. Consequently are multiple conversations within the same space possible, without talking over each other.

Microsoft Mesh for Teams
Picture by Microsoft

Immersive Experiences in Mesh

Immersive Experiences in Mesh empowers creators and developers to design their fully customized 3D experiences for various events, such as a virtual Christmas party or a networking event. Additionally, Mesh includes a no-conde editor and toolkit, simplifying the creation process. However, be aware that there are limitations on meeting sizes and monthly hours. 

Immersive Experiences in Mesh is exclusively available with a Teams Premium license or the 6-Month Microsoft Mesh trial

Use Cases – What can you use Microsoft Mesh for?

Interactive Training is probably one of the most popular use cases. Instead of having a traditional training situation, you can learn with a live instructor or solely on your own, setting your pace. And you can include people from all over the world in your training without the need for them to travel. The education and learning sector is growing and developing fast in metaverse tech.

All kinds of meetings can be held via Microsoft Mesh. Be it town halls, business or other company meetings and events that are traditionally held in 2D. In these meetings, content is shared and most of the participants listen. With immersive spaces, users have the possibility to catch up with colleagues. Spatial audio enables users to talk with a few colleagues in a privat group chat, instead of opening the microphone and speaking to all attendees.  

But Microsoft Mesh could be used even in a private space to host social gatherings for example. It allows people to attend these kinds of events without the need for sharing the same physical location. Spatial Audio allows the participants to have private chats and catch up. But that is not all. It is also possible to have watch parties, where you can share a video or a live stream and watch it together, with the possibility for less intrusive ways of commenting and chatting aloud with others. This could be nice for movies or even games.

Microsoft Mesh for careers

For careers in which people design real things, the function of a 3D product showcase could open a new way of working and collaborating.  Products can be presented in a much better way than just via video. Designs can be examined, viewed from different angles, and presented in an exciting way. This way of product showcase can be used with clothes, cars, bicycles, or other technical devices for example.

With Microsoft Mesh, you can visualize your data. Does not matter how abstract the data might be, you can visualize it. For example, you could visualize how much power a windmill can produce in different weather conditions.  This could be used in the workspace as well as in education. Especially for visual learners, this will be a complete game changer!

Microsoft Mesh could revolutionize the way designers and architects work by turning showrooms into collaborative project spaces, facilitating real-time interactions with 3D models, and streamlining idea collection and remote collaboration.

The recruiting process might be changed as well by Microsoft Mesh. Possible new employees can be shown company spaces and the working atmosphere with virtual showrooms, in which they can even meet people and get to know them.

Microsoft Mesh is now generally available

What do you need to get started with immersive spaces? After your admin has activated the Mesh immersive spaces app in Teams, you can access it by navigating to the „View“ menu during your standard Teams meeting and then choosing „Immersive Space“.

IT Administrators need to verify their licensing for one of the following options: Teams Essentials, Microsoft 365 Business Basic, Microsoft 365 Business Standard, Microsoft 365 Business Premium, Microsoft 365 E3/E5, or Office 365 E1/E3/E5. Once the Mesh immersive spaces app becomes accessible in Teams Admin Center, it needs to be activated.

For Mesh Custom Worlds users need to have a Teams Premium license.

Currently, Microsoft offers a free 6-month trial for Mesh, which is an amazing chance for companies and enterprises to test Mesh and explore its full potential. If you are interested in the free trial, read our Guide to the 6-Month Microsoft Mesh Trial. Here, everything you need to know is explained.