Microsoft Mesh has been in the news a lot lately and there is a lot of buzz and anticipation around the project. While some information about the “virtual playground” has been made available around the Internet, not a whole lot is known about how this new product offering from MSFT will change the virtual space - and collaboration software - in the coming years.
We discuss Microsoft Mesh briefly in this article, discuss some of the terms associated with Mesh, and the basic ideas behind the technology.
What is Microsoft Mesh
Microsoft Mesh is a Mixed Reality platform that was designed to make collaboration and software creation easier. It is designed to work with various virtual and augmented reality headsets that allow users to collaborate in both physical and virtual locations more effectively. It was built off of the company's Azure platform in conjunction with HoloLens 2 and similar devices.
The company aims to use Mesh as a virtual meeting ground, where users can remotely interact in a digital landscape. Think of the Holodeck from Star Trek, and you will get the gist of the idea.
To better understand the concept, here is some terminology you should become familiar with. (Note: As a huge Sci-Fi fan, this is probably the one moment I have been waiting for, for a very long time!)
Holoportation - where you can find yourself as your most lifelike, photorealistic self in mixed reality in order to interact as if you are there in person. Avatars - where you can customize your virtual appearance to represent yourself as you like. Virtual Collaboration - where colleagues that may be working time zones apart can come together digitally Simultaneous training - where co-workers can learn and train together without the time and cost of travel. This is possible through holoportation, holographic sharing, and visualization.
What is Mixed Reality
Mixed reality is a combination of physical and digital worlds. This unlocks the links between human, computer, and environment interaction. The application of mixed reality includes displays, environmental input, spatial sound, locations, and positioning in both real and virtual spaces.
The push for virtual spaces for a meeting is not a new one by any means - the original HoloLens appeared in 2017 - and a number of technologies allowed for very basic "virtual get-togethers" over the years. With the introduction of the pandemic and forced remote working (a trend that may well continue beyond Covid-19 restrictions), virtual meeting solutions are becoming ever popular.
Consider the meteoric rise of Zoom over the past year or so and the rising popularity of collaboration tools as a prime example of technology gurus and software developers looking for better ways to collaborate.
How to Get Microsoft Mesh
If you are not a software developer, you could Experience Mesh with HoloLens 2 with its great immersive mixed reality capabilities. You could meet and share with others in virtual spaces using VR Headsets. You could use a PC or a mobile to participate in 3D on any app powered by Mesh.
If you are a software developer, you could join the mixed reality developer program receive the latest on Microsoft's mixed reality developer tools, events, and early access offers. You can sign up here.