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Meet In A Virtual Auditorium As Microsoft Teams Announces Together Mode

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Microsoft has announced a new “Together mode” for its video conferencing app, Teams. The new feature employs AI in segmenting a meeting participant’s face and shoulders, then placing everyone in a virtual auditorium.


The virtual auditorium could be modeled after a meeting room-like environment, a coffee shop, or other physical meeting spaces. Users can “wave” at co-workers, tap them on the shoulder, or do virtual high fives.


Microsoft said it spent much of the last few months rethinking how video meetings were conducted.


The new Together Mode aims at giving Teams video meetings a more personal feel. Photo: Microsoft.
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About 60 percent of those who took part in a Microsoft survey said they felt less connected to their colleagues due to the pandemic. This has driven the company to implement new Teams updates aiming at making nonverbal communication a priority.


In addition to Together Mode, Microsoft will also launch a dynamic view for Teams. The dynamic view aims at giving more control over how users see shared content and other participants during a meeting.


This feature also offers a view of up to 49 people in a meeting simultaneously.  There are also virtual breakout rooms, that allow organisers to split the participants into smaller groups for things like brainstorming sessions or workgroup discussions.


The new Together Mode is available on Microsoft Teams, however, it will be generally available to all users by August 2020. The mode will debut with an auditorium view in the beginning, but Microsoft says it is working on more views that will roll out in the future.


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