Video conference in the virtual lecture hall: MS Teams now with Together Mode

Microsoft is giving teams a new mode for video conferencing. The feature is called Together Mode, which the manufacturer translated as togetherness mode, and creates a virtual lecture hall, where every conference participant gets his or her place. This ensures closeness and a productive atmosphere.

None other than the one known for his significant work in the field of virtual reality Microsoft-Research partner Jaron Lanier has presented the new video conference feature Together mode, which Microsoft translates a bit bulky with togetherness mode, to the public. The mode transforms the view during video conferences from the classic square representation into a virtual environment like an auditorium.

Microsoft Teams: Together mode transforms the classic view of video conferences into a virtual lecture hall (screenshot: ZDNet.de).Microsoft Teams: Together mode transforms the classic view of video conferences into a virtual environment (screenshot: ZDNet.de).

According to Jaron Lanier, the new display creates a different atmosphere for video conferences. The virtual environment and the 3D effect of the people depicted would create a closeness between the participants that was previously unattainable with remote solutions. Pay more attention to yourself and to other participants than in the conventional view. “One wonders why we didn’t think of it thirty years ago,” he said.

MS Teams: Together mode - togetherness mode (screenshot: ZDNet.de)MS Teams: Together mode – togetherness mode (screenshot: ZDNet.de)

However, this operating mode is currently only available for the desktop applications of teams under Windows and macOS. During the presentation, no answer was given as to whether the mode would later also be integrated for the teams application running in the browser. In any case, the desktop application of Teams uses CPU and GPU resources for the display. Under macOS, the GPU is fully utilized, while the CPU is under little load.

Dynamic view

In addition to the Together Mode, which is now being rolled out and should be generally available in August at the latest, Microsoft has announced further features for its collaboration platform. With Dynamic View, Microsoft wants to make the classic display of video conferences “more appealing and dynamic”. This gives users more control over how they see shared content and other participants in a meeting. With the help of AI, shared content and video participants are dynamically optimized during meetings. New controls – including the ability to display shared content and specific participants side by side – make it possible to adapt the view to preferences and needs. The dynamic view builds on the improvements Microsoft announced last month. These include the large gallery view, which will be introduced in August, in which video conferences of up to 49 people are simultaneously shown in a meeting, and virtual adjoining rooms, which enable meeting organizers to take participants in for things like brainstorming sessions or discussions in Divide work groups into smaller groups.

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