Microsoft is summarizing a vision for the future of today’s meeting. A year after seeing more people remotely calling the office, the company is once again tapping the drums for hybrid work. It is a model that combines remote access and face-to-face operation.
The company has been introducing new concepts for Microsoft Teams in recent months, but now they are starting to implement updated interfaces for communications software that help integrate remote coworkers into physical conference rooms.
The new video details Microsoft’s plans to include a larger screen to facilitate face-to-face meetings with life-size remote coworkers. To improve eye contact, Microsoft envisions a conference room where cameras are placed at eye level, and spatial audio that helps co-workers hear a coworker’s voice when making a call, which makes the remote coworkers feel like there are more remote coworkers. Do it. In the room.
But it seems that this conference room in the future will require a lot of hardware. Customers need a new intelligent video camera that can detect the speaker and bring it into view, speakers with spatial audio, and a microphone built into the ceiling. Microsoft itself may be able to provide some of this hardware, the company recently started selling Intelligent Speakers for Teams, which will help bring this futuristic conference room scenario to life.
This futuristic conference room is part of Microsoft’s widespread drive to prepare for a hybrid approach where more employees work remotely or move offices in and out.
Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, said in a LinkedIn post summarizing the company’s approach, “Hybrid work represents the biggest change in the way we work in our generation. “And we need new models of operations across people, places and processes.” Microsoft publishes a playbook for companies looking to adopt a hybrid model, along with data and research conducted during the pandemic.
Microsoft is gradually opening its campus in Redmond, Washington in recent months, and teleconferencing has become a big focus. “In fact, at Microsoft, meeting recording is the fastest growing type of content,” Nadella said. “Employees now look forward to having all the meeting information available, including recordings, scripts, and highlights, at twice the speed of their needs and at the right time.
The drive towards hybrid operations also opens up security concerns for organizations. Microsoft is embracing this new era by removing employees from the corporate network and taking an Internet-first approach instead. This means you need to abandon the old days of corporate domains and intranets that require a VPN and keep all your data in the cloud. Of course, Microsoft also owns Azure, so companies can easily transition and get incentives to promote their cloud business. For other businesses, embracing the cloud completely isn’t always easy.
Microsoft is also requiring employees who work from home to “test their home networks to make sure they are safe” and manage all mobile devices that access company information. We’ve seen an increasing number of ransomware attacks and phishing attempts during the pandemic, and Microsoft says the threat continues to grow.
“The threat environment is more complex or challenging than ever, and security is more important than ever,” Nadella said. “We intercepted and blocked a record 30 billion email threats last year and are currently tracking more than 40 national activists and more than 140 threat groups.”