Not all employees are keen to return to their pre-pandemic status as companies work to reopen office buildings, and companies need to adopt a hybrid approach to remote work. Collaboration application and hardware vendors are currently trying to support both in-office and remote workers, as some employees are in the office and others are still at home.
With that in mind, Microsoft and Google last week advertised an update designed to connect workers more effectively, regardless of location.
Microsoft Teams and Intelligent Camera
For example, Microsoft has announced several new intelligent camera features for the Teams Rooms platform to better support hybrid conferencing. Among the new features is active speaker tracking. This allows the conference room camera to detect who is speaking in a conference room with multiple colleagues. This is achieved by tracking voice, face movements, and hand gestures, allowing the camera to zoom in on the speaker.
According to Microsoft, its intelligent camera capabilities better support hybrid conferencing.
In addition, each participant in the office can be placed in their own video pane in the same way that a remote colleague is displayed, and facial recognition can identify the participant and display the profile name.
According to Microsoft, its purpose is to put remote workers in the same position as office meeting rooms.
According to Microsoft, the intelligent camera feature will be available in conference room devices manufactured by hardware makers such as Jabra, Neat, Poly and Yealink over the next few months.
Microsoft also advertised future updates to Teams Rooms’ existing companion mode. Companion mode gives meeting participants access to second-screen features such as chat, live reaction, and Microsoft whiteboard on their mobile devices during face-to-face meetings. The company is now expanding companion mode to allow users to access meetings and device controls to turn off the camera in the room, mute the speakers in the room, join meetings, and make PowerPoint presentations from mobile devices. Will be available for sharing.
Other new features are:
RSVP function of Outlook. This allows users to specify whether to join the meeting remotely or directly. Hot desk booking that allows employees to find and book office workspaces from Teams or Outlook. Automatic lighting compensation for Teams video feeds in dark environments. Interoperability between the team and Apple CarPlay. You can also use PowerPoint’s Cameo feature to embed Microsoft Teams videos in slides to improve your presentation (available in early 2022).
Finally, Microsoft said Logitech’s docking station with built-in speakers to connect to the team will be available within a few months.
Gmail calls Meet to follow other Workspace apps
As part of that, Google announced new features in Workspace along with new hardware and Meet video app updates.
What’s new in meetings is that you don’t have to schedule a meeting first, and you can start a video or voice call directly from Gmail with the push of a button. Google Meet’s calling capabilities extend to other areas of the Workspace app, such as one-on-one text chat.
Google also promoted a new video conferencing hardware device designed to work with Meet, which is part of the Series 1 series. The Series One Board 65 is 65 inches. An all-in-one 4K display ($ 6,999) built by Google partner Avoncor. It provides a high resolution camera and audio for group video conferencing and incorporates Google’s Jamboard whiteboard app. A small Series One Desk 27 ($ 1,999) and Logitech (Logitech Rally Bar) third-party audio devices are also available. Minibar and rally bar for Google Meet).
Google also announced interoperability between Cisco Webex hardware devices and Meet hardware. This means that Cisco hardware can run Google Meet videos and vice versa. Interoperability is planned for later this year.
The introduction of Meet’s companion mode, first announced on Google I / O in May, has been postponed to November. This gives meeting room participants access to interactive features such as chat, whiteboard, and voting on their laptop or mobile device. Live translated captions in several languages (English to French, German, Spanish and Portuguese) will also be available in companion mode later this year.
Need to support a flexible work environment
Ral Castan, a senior analyst at 451 Research, a division of S & P Global Market Intelligence, said the features announced by Google and Microsoft are in line with the new requirements of the hybrid workplace.
Replacing the traditional office environment means that businesses need new tools to address the constraints imposed by physical distance and different time zones. According to a study by 451 Researchs VotE WPC Work Execution Goals & Challenges 2021, the biggest challenges to improving workforce productivity after COVID-19 are remote / hybrid work practices (25%) and low staff morale (21). %) Includes adaptation.
According to Castan, a key factor is to improve the user experience for everyone, especially remote participants.
User demands mean that some advanced conferencing features and devices have moved from what they need to what they need, he said. These features work together to improve the user experience, level the competition for onsite and remote participants, and help connect and engage.
Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.
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