Microsoft has added new animated backgrounds to Teams to spice up your meetings. The last time this happened was some three years ago, and the new backgrounds are a welcome development. Say goodbye to those messy room behind you as the new animated backgrounds will boost your confidence during meetings.
This will initially be a large collection of new still images, but soon to be followed by some animated versions next month. Though, the images are currently being shares by Microsoft to users, they will not become available until June. It will be difficult to judge how the new once look compared to the one on Zoom; but this will not be long since they will become widely available from next month.
“Featuring all-new images, the reimagined visual library for Teams has been thoughtfully designed to represent the people that use them and how they work best,” says the Microsoft design team in a new blog post per The Verge. “Looking at the popularity of certain images, we noticed that customers are equally enthusiastic about being depicted in fun and imaginative scenes as they are being portrayed in realistic spaces like a coworking space, office, or home.”
Last March, Microsoft Teams enabled a feature that allows users to create 3D avatars that can be used in meetings instead of being on camera or using a webcam. The feature was first announced two years ago, and is now available in public preview beginning from today.
In a blog post at the time, Microsoft said the new avatar feature gives users additional options when online. “Avatars for Microsoft Teams offers an alternative to the current binary option of video or no video,” says Avery Salumbides, a product marketing manager at Microsoft. “Avatars for Teams gives you that much-needed camera break, while still allowing you to collaborate effectively.”
The new Teams avatars will animate based on your vocal cues alone. That means your avatar will still function normally even when you do not have a PC that has a webcam.
The company announced that it will be using machine models to improve room acoustics. With this, you will no longer sound like you are in an empty room or hiding somewhere. In an interview with The Verge, Robert Aichner, a principal program manager for intelligent conversation and communications cloud at Microsoft, said: “While we have been trying our best with digital signal processing to do a really good job in Teams, we have now started using machine learning for the first time to build echo cancellation where you can truly reduce echo from all the different devices.”