Thanks in large part to Facebook taking the preverbal industry leap to invoke the phrase metaverse for its vision of a connected social online construct, other companies are now free to offer their own conceptualizations and Microsoft’s metaverse contains a whole lot of Teams.
While Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg sees the metaverse as an interconnected sprawl of various social media experiences via new augmented and virtual reality hardware, Microsoft just tossed out its own vision that puts Teams at the center of its hybrid vision. In addition to Teams utilizing the vast array of cloud hybrid solutions, Microsoft also talked at length during Ignite 2021 about how it plans to make hybrid work environments more accessible through its communication, cross-functional fusion teams support, data visualization and deeper developer APIs for cloud management.
Meta might be trying to extract the links between its Big Blue app and its metaverse, Microsoft seems more than content to allow Teams and Azure to anchor its own productivity metaverse.
Leveraging solutions such as Mesh for Microsoft Teams to advance 2D and 3D meeting experiences, new collaborative apps, and platform tools such as Power Virtual Agents to embed in new virtual experiences for customers and linking Microsoft Cloud for Health with virtual waiting rooms for patients to offer a customized virtual experience similar to in-person, are just a handful of announcements Microsoft and partners discussed today at Ignite.
Similar to Meta, Microsoft’s metaverse does incorporate a hardware element to tie its vision together and the company not only looks to leverage its own HoloLens AR headset but team up with industry leaders such as AltSpaceVR to expand the accessibility of a future of meeting and device advancements for both developers and customers. AltSpaceVR has been in the Microsoft Store for a quick minute now, but the two are using Ignite 2021 to help expand the technologies towards training and improving developer platforms for the various collaboration apps and tools that take advantage of the cloud.
At the end of the day, Microsoft’s metaverse vision is distinctly divergent from Zuckerberg and Meta, but share the same core principles, bringing people and experiences closer online. As usual, Microsoft is leaning heavily on its investments in the cloud and the industry shift toward hybrid or full cloud migration of data, sensor information and automation. Facebook on the other hand appears poised to bring forth the second coming of 2nd Life for those ready to go on that ride.
While the Facebook metaverse may have more impact in our consumption of social media from day to day, Microsoft’s vision of a meshed interconnected hybrid work environment led by virtual assistants, 3D conferencing technologies and data visualizations may have more practical effects on lives, touching everything from coordinating global supply chains to hosting new ways to experience virtual sporting events.