Microsoft Mesh: Is The Metaverse Taking Over?

Technology is forever growing. And with the world being turned on its head for the last couple of years, technology has had even more chance to expand. New ideas popping up to help get us accustomed to this new lifestyle we’ve been pushed into. With an idea coming to life, a new world being created – the Metaverse.

Holograms and virtual realities were an exciting, futuristic ideas that seemed to be a reality in years like 2064. But virtual reality is much closer than you think with Metaverse being introduced last year. Now Microsoft has jumped on the bandwagon with Microsoft Mesh. A place where you can hold business meetings from the comfort of your home but actually be fully immersed in the world you have created. You can bring your projects to life with having a design being in front of you, in the form of a hologram.

With the future of technology already upon us, what is Microsoft Mesh and what can it do for you?

What is Microsoft Mesh?

Microsoft Mesh is a new application created by Microsoft, bringing holograms and virtual reality into to your home. Mesh can connect friends, family and colleagues no matter where they are in the world. This can be through their holoportation or their virtual reality world where you can walk around as your avatar. There are so many possibilities with Mesh – a whole new world for businesses to hold meetings.

Within this virtual world you can create yourself into an avatar and join a meeting from you home office. Although you wont just be slumped over a desk using your keypads to move your avatar around. You will be fully immersed into the world, being able to move around and present your work during a meeting, using the VR headsets. You can stand at the head of the meeting table and draw up your plan on the whiteboard. The VR headset tracking you hand movements to present exactly what you are doing. 

Holoportation

The new era of working remotely is here to stay. Whether you’re 10 miles or 100 miles away from your workplace, holoportation can bring everyone in your business together. The holoportation feature is similar to the hologram feature. In that it can project a realistic, holographic image of your colleague into your home office. Letting you work on a project together or just hold a meeting. The headset will take a photo like capture of yourself and project it to the person you are meeting with – as a hologram. Letting you and your meeting participant interact as you normally would if you were both there in human form.

Yes over a normal Teams call you would still be able to interact with each other, but Mesh brings those interactions back to a normal human level, the way that we have missed so much. Brining back eye contact, hand movements and facial expressions and actually feeling like you are in the same room as your colleague. Bringing work from home situations to a whole new level.

If you don’t want to show your face, just like people don’t want to turn their camera on during a Teams call, then you don’t have to. Easily project your customised avatar to your colleague instead. Again, the headset tracking your hand movements to bring those non-verbal gestures back into the meeting. 

Immersive Spaces

If your are wanting to completely separate your work life from your home life, then Mesh’s immersive spaces can achieve this for you. Separating your work from home life used to be such a simple task for some people but with home offices becoming peoples main place of work, that separation is becoming smaller and smaller. So instead of having a sperate office space for work, you can have a whole separate world for work.

The immersive space uses 3D animation to create a meeting room for you and your colleagues. This almost having the resemblance to a high resolution game. All you have to do is join your Teams meeting and pop on the VR headset. Transporting you into the virtual world where your team is waiting for you around the virtual meeting room table.

But don’t just believe that you are limited to only sitting around the table, that’s not what Microsoft wanted. Microsoft has thought about the normal task and activities that would happen during a meeting. And transferred them as easy as possible in to the immersive space. Allowing your avatar to get up from the table and start presenting in front of your team. Creating and presenting on the whiteboard at hand. With the VR headset and accessories this is all possible, the VR equipment following your head and hand movements to create a perfect representation of you to your colleagues, in your avatar form.

How To Use Mesh?

To be able to use the futuristic capabilities of Microsoft Mesh – you will have to use a VR headset. These headsets act as glasses that instead will show you either your hologram or the virtual reality office space. Making you feel as though you are actually in the Mesh Metaverse. These headsets have trackers that follow you eye and head movements, so wherever you turn your head the headset will show the right display of the room. Mesh supports the most popular VR headsets – Oculus and Hololens. These sleek designed headsets can transport you into a virtual world and changing you into your avatar. Bring you international colleagues into your home through holoportation or create interactive holograms in your home office.

Mesh is essentially an application for you to video conference with colleagues. But Microsoft is extending the video conferencing limits to make Teams meetings more exciting and engaging. Users can use Mesh alongside the Teams application to hold their meetings in the Mesh world, with each colleague turning into their avatar. Tis brings back the meeting experience to those working from home, immersing them back into office life. Even if you are working from abroad, this is a chance for you to actually meet your colleagues and all of you be able to sit around the same able and discuss the way you would if you were really there. Not just holographically or in avatar form.

Quest VR Headset 

If the idea of a whole new world at your fingertips sounds exciting, especially if you are working from home and confided in a small box room, then the Quest VR headsets are your best bet to use Mesh to its full extent. The Quest headset will strap around your head and fully cover both of your eyes. Showing you a full view of the virtual reality office. Because the Oculus Quest will fully cover your eyes, a worry may be over tripping up or falling over any furniture. And no one wants to be moving their home office furniture about a couple of minutes before a meeting. With the Oculus this worry is eliminated out.

When using the headset you will have to draw out the area you will be using the Oculus. So if you were using the Oculus to join a meeting, you would scan the area of your desk you want the Oculus to pickup. Once you have scanned out the area you would like to use, the Oculus will register the area and guardian will be activated. This means that if you reach past the area you have drawn and cross the guardian. A pass through alert will notify you. stopping any tripping or falling over, meaning you can take those few minutes before a meeting to prepare your setup instead of moving furniture.

Specs

With the Oculus Quest 2 headset you will get 1832 x 1920 pixels per eye, offering high resolution whichever way you turn your head. Letting you all see each other in crystal clear resolution, making the experience feel even more real. And you would expect nothing less from the speed and motion. 

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The Quest 2 uses fibre optic cables to give the cleanest and smoothest motion, with premium fibre-optic strands it not only increases the speed and enhances the flexibility. The cables also reduce the weight of the headset, making it a more comfortable fit. With the Quest 2 weighing 224g, its important that the headset isn’t too heavy and uncomfortable for the user. If the headset is too heavy it can make the user uncomfortable and distracted. 

HoloLens Headset

Unlike the Quest VR Headset, the Hololens is for the holoportaition and holographic side of Mesh. This headset will still strap around your head but instead of fully covering your eyes, the Hololens will have a glasses like shape to fit over your nose and a plastic shield in front of your eyes. Whoever or whatever is being projected into your room will be seen through the plastic lens of the Hololens. Not only does the Hololens let you project your work in front of you but you can also hold meetings with the device. With the Teams call be projected in front of you instead – a perfect way to call your boss for guidance and  continue with your task at hand. 

Specs

The Hololens offers 2K resolution with a 5 channel microphone array and built in speakers with spatial sound. Spatial sound will deliver sound to you from the correct places the are coming from. So, if you are sat at the meeting table and your colleague next to you starts talking, the sound of their voice will come from that direction. Making the Microsoft Mesh world feel so real.

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Making sure that you body movements are properly represented on your holoportation, the device has multiple sensors. Including 4 head tracking cameras and 2 IR cameras tracking you eyes. Furthermore, there is hand tracking for when you are using a whiteboard in the Mesh world. Not only that but it brings a sense of human nature to the avatar as the avatar will follow hand movements while you are talking. Along with cameras tracking your body movements, the device comes with the ability to give commands with your voice. Letting you control the Hololens with you voice.

An important factor of this type of device is the battery life, especially it is being used on the go. The full battery on the Hololens will give you 2 – 3 hours of use, which may not seem a lot. But if your main use of the Hololens is to hold a holographic meeting with a colleague, then the 2 hour battery life is fine as most meetings run for an hour. Charging is done through a USB-PD cable for fast charging. 

The lens comes in one size, with an adjustor on the head straps for you to be able to tighten or loosen the headset if needed. 

Price

VR headsets are never cheap. If the holographic, mixed reality side of Mesh has caught your eye and believe that it would be a great addition to your business, then you will need to purchase the Hololens 2. And this may be pricey for most. The Hololens 2 will cost you £3,349.00, from Microsoft’s website. This version of the Hololens would be perfect for education, offices and even healthcare providers. However if you are working on site and need something more sturdy, then the Hololens also comes in a industrial edition. This headset will be suitable for hazardous location environments.

But if the fully immersive, animated world complete with your own customisable avatar and designed meeting rooms is definitely what you want. Then the Oculus Quest 2 starts from £299. This will included the VR headset and two Quest Touch Controllers – giving you the full experience of the Metaverse world. 

 

Who Can Benefit From Using Mesh?

Microsoft Mesh can practically work in any setting. If you are in a situation where Teams is your main source of communication. Then Mesh can work wonders for you. It can be the solution to bringing peoples motivation and productivity back up. Whether you are using Mesh for its holoportation feature or for its immersive spaces, Mesh can work for business, universities or training centres.

Business

The Hololens can fit into any situation. If you work in an office, chances are hybrid working is still present. Although this may be a pricey solution for you, Mesh can be a great way to bring all your employees back together again. All of you being able to sit around the meeting room together and share your ideas – bringing back that normality.  

What if you work for an architecture company – creating structures and drawings is a big part of your job. Having to plan your design precisely and accurately. Now imagine being able to bring your drawing to life as a 3D holographic structure. No matter where you are, you could be working from home or on the site where your building may go. This way you can share your plan with your boss and other colleagues on the project. All of you being able to see the design come to life and interact with it. Therefore letting you identify any problems with the structure you may have missed. Or letting your boss and other colleagues suggest any ideas to add on to the structure. Bringing an easier workflow into your business, with you bosses being able to help with any problems with a first hand view of the design, just by popping the VR headsets on.

Taking the use of Mesh into a different direction. Mesh can be an amazing way for people to get in touch with medical experts. If you have the money to own an Hololens, you could meet with your doctor from you living room. With Mesh, the possibilities are endless and the future is looking more technology based.  

Training And Education

In a training situation the Hololens can massively improve students understanding on what they are training. Viewing a diagram on a projector or watching a video may not cut it with students anymore. Especially when this kind of technology is now at hand. If you are a medical student training to be doctor, you will be constantly looking at diagrams of the body. It can difficult and put a strain on your eyes having to look at the smaller details in a diagram. With the Hololens, students can simply put the headset on and see the diagram of a body organ come to life. Letting them get up close and see the little details that may not have been noticeable in a drawn diagram.  

The immersive side of Mesh can be a great addition for office workers and students. Letting the teacher have everyone in the same room and teach the way they know how to. Bringing back natural teacher and student interactions and conversations – instead of the teacher having to talking to a bunch of blank screens. Essentially, a tool like this can help bring students productivity levels back up, as online lessons have obviously not been great for them. 

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