Build 2023: Avatars for Microsoft Teams available this week, immersive spaces coming in private preview

Kevin Okemwa

Avatars in Teams

Most organizations depend on online platforms like Microsoft Teams for communication and even use it to conduct virtual meetings. And while Microsoft has been busy at work pushing updates to its communication tool ever so often, the company has announced that it will be shipping Avatars for Microsoft Teams to broad availability later this week for Windows and Mac users.

Microsoft first made the announcement that Avatars were coming to Teams during its annual developer conference, Ignite 2022. Since then the feature has been in the testing phase in private preview, up until recently when Microsoft shipped it to public preview.

The company had previously indicated that it intended to release the feature to general availability in May, and it’s now living up to its promise. The feature is powered by Microsoft’s Mesh Platform and is designed to redefine and change how people interact during meetings.

Once the feature is available users will no longer need to turn their cameras on during meetings. Instead, you can now create, customize, and personalize your own Avatar using the Avatars App in the Microsoft Teams App Store. What’s more, you can create up to three avatars using hundreds of customizations ranging from physical attributes to accessories.

To enable the feature and use it during the Teams meeting, select the Effects and Avatars option from the menu before joining the meeting. It is worth noting, that you can use various gestures with your Avatar when reacting to what is being said during the meeting.

Alongside the Avatars coming to Teams news, Microsoft has also announced that new immersive spaces for Microsoft Teams are also in the pipeline, and should be available in private preview this week.

This new feature is also powered by Microsoft’s Mesh Platform and is designed to help users create and include an immersive experience in any Teams meeting.

According to the company:

Connecting with others in immersive spaces mimics many elements of in-person interactions, like the ability to walk over to the group users want to catch up with or to wave at others in the room. And with spatial audio, a large discussion with multiple conversations or a quick side chat can occur without feeling like an interruption.

You’ll be able to access this new feature via a PC or virtual reality (VR) headset. Additionally, you’ll be able to communicate efficiently with other meeting attendees, even if they joined the meeting using video, as an avatar, or in the immersive space directly.