Microsoft’s big projects

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Microsoft has been full of announcements this week during a virtual version of its annual Ignite conference. Among the novelties, the firm presented connected speakers capable of transcribing and translating speech, and a new mixed reality platform to ensure compatibility between all augmented and virtual reality devices.

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The MicrosoftMicrosoft Ignite conference is taking place this week, where the company presents its products and its vision for the future. The first innovation is intended for Microsoft Teams rooms, conference rooms connected with various peripherals compatible with Teams professional messaging. These are connected speakers, connected enclosures, simply called Microsoft Teams Intelligent Speakers.

No more taking notes during a meeting, these speakers take care of it. They are directly linked to Microsoft Teams and use artificial intelligence to transcribe the speech of all those present. Microsoft has also included its automatic translator, which makes it possible to follow the meeting in other languages and thus facilitate international meetings.

The Intelligent Speakers are able to identify the speaker among a group of ten people, and to transcribe everything in the Teams messaging system by including the participants’ pseudonyms. The speakers work thanks to seven microphones and are manufactured by the companies Yealink and Epos. Microsoft, however, has not yet revealed a launch date or their price.

Mixed reality

Another big announcement from Microsoft is a vision for the future of augmented and virtual reality. The project is a mixed reality platform named Microsoft Mesh. The difference between augmented and mixed reality is that the first is simply superimposed on top of the real world, while the second fully integrates into it. According to the firm, Mesh must “allow people in different physical and physical places to join collaborative and shared holographic experiences on many types of devices”. The aim is to allow interaction between augmented and mixed reality headsets such as the Microsoft HoloLens, virtual reality, as well as computers, tablets and smartphonessmartphones.

Presentation of the Microsoft Mesh project. © Microsoft

Microsoft Mesh is based on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform, and allows you to create virtual objects that are visible to all participants and that can be manipulated. People around the globe can participate in this mixed reality space, and are represented by 3D avatarsavatars. Eventually Microsoft wants to be able to offer “holoportation”, where the avatar is replaced by a three-dimensional representation of the person.

A success that will depend on other helmet manufacturers

Participants from all over the world will be able to exchange directly and should eventually even be able to see other people’s facial expressions. Shared spaces already exist in virtual reality, as with VRChat, except that Microsoft Mesh is a mixed reality platform and should be compatible with all devices. Provided that the manufacturers of the helmets cooperate…

Microsoft has announced the first two applicationsapplications developed for its new platform. The first is Mesh for HoloLens, which allows you to collaborate on objects in mixed reality. The second is a new version of AltspaceVR compatible with Mesh, which offers virtual meeting spaces in particular.

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