Microsoft Teams gets an AI-powered home decorator

Key Takeaways:

– Microsoft announced updates for Teams at its annual Ignite conference.
– The highlights include voice isolation, an AI-driven noise reduction feature, and a ‘decorate your background’ feature.
– Voice isolation will be available in early 2024, while ‘decorate your background’ will be available early next year in Teams Premium.
– Immersive spaces in Teams, allowing users to create avatars and participate in 3D environments, will be generally available in January.
– Microsoft Mesh, the tool for creating immersive spaces, will also be generally available in January.
– Other new features include customizable emoji reactions, chat forwarding, group chat profile pictures, and a private second phone number.
– There are also new keyboard shortcuts and tools for IT to manage teams more effectively.
– The web experience on Edge and Chrome will gain performance improvements and use less memory.

TechCrunch:

At its annual Ignite conference, Microsoft today announced a slew of interesting updates for Teams, its Slack-like collaboration and messaging service.

Among the dozens of updates here, some of the highlights are the initial rollout of voice isolation, an AI-driven noise reduction feature that can not just reduce repetitive noise in the background but also other people’s voices, and a new ‘decorate your background’ feature that can look at the room you are working from and then enhance it by cleaning up clutter or adding plants to the wall.

Image Credits: Microsoft

‘Decorate your background’ will surely steal the headlines. Users, it seems, will be able to choose different types of enhancements to their work environments, but the real promise here is that you’ll never have to clean your home office again (until somebody invites you to a Google Meet or Slack call, of course).

The voice isolation feature is rolling out now and will be generally available in early 2024, while ‘decorate your background’ will be available early next year in Teams Premium.

Meanwhile, Microsoft also announced that immersive spaces in Teams, a remnant of the metaverse hype of 2021, will be generally available in January, allowing users to create avatars to attend these meetings within various 3D environments and play interactive games, roast virtual marshmallows and throw beanbags (yes, those are things Microsoft specifically mentions in its announcement).

Microsoft Mesh, its tool for creating these immersive spaces, will also be generally available in January.

You’ll hopefully never have to use any of this.

Some of the more useful new features, though, are customizable emoji reactions, the ability to forward chats, create a group chat profile picture and add a private second phone number for a select set of callers. There are also new keyboard shortcuts (Alt+Shift+D to set your status to Do Not Disturb, for example) and some new tools for IT to manage teams more effectively.

Earlier this year, Microsoft launched a re-architected Teams app for Windows and Mac. Now, the web experience on Edge and Chrome will gain some of these advantages, too, with Microsoft promising to double the performance while using 50% less memory.

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AI Eclipse TLDR:

Microsoft has announced several updates for Teams, its collaboration and messaging service, at its annual Ignite conference. Some of the highlights include the rollout of voice isolation, an AI-driven noise reduction feature that can reduce repetitive noise in the background as well as other people’s voices. Another new feature is ‘decorate your background’, which can enhance the room you are working from by cleaning up clutter or adding plants to the wall. Users will be able to choose different enhancements for their work environments. Additionally, Microsoft announced that immersive spaces in Teams will be available in January, allowing users to create avatars and participate in meetings within various 3D environments. Microsoft Mesh, the tool for creating these immersive spaces, will also be generally available in January. Other updates include customizable emoji reactions, the ability to forward chats, create a group chat profile picture, and add a private second phone number for select callers. Microsoft has also improved the web experience on Edge and Chrome, promising double the performance while using 50% less memory.