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Microsoft’s vision for the future of meetings

Microsoft released a video showing what the tech giant thinks the future of its Teams meetings will look like in a hybrid office setting.

In large meeting rooms in Microsoft campus, they are using Microsoft Teams Rooms with high-quality audio and video to ensure everyone can be seen, be heard, and participate as if they were there in person. They are even integrating social cues through emojis and reactions.

They are taking the same approach to smaller focus rooms, too. They are installing cameras at eye level for participants to maintain eye contact, and will incorporate spatial audio so voices come from the specific person speaking in the gallery view.

They want to ensure those joining remotely are always first-class participants. Smart cameras in conference rooms will allow them to see individual videos of in-room participants in Teams, to keep the connection as authentic as possible. And, of course, they have the same access to content and presentations as people in the room.

“Hybrid work represents the biggest shift to how we work in our generation,” says Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, in a LinkedIn post outlining the company’s approach. “And it will require a new operating model, spanning people, places, and processes.” Microsoft is releasing a playbook for businesses looking to adopt a hybrid model, with data and research it has conducted during the pandemic.

“According to our research, the vast majority of employees say they want more flexible remote work options, but at the same time also say they want more in-person collaboration, post-pandemic. This is the hybrid work paradox,” Nadella said in a blog post.

Microsoft’s hybrid model work

“First, we are moving all employees off corporate networks and taking an internet-first approach. An internet-first approach reduces exposure and gives employees a consistent experience whether they are at home or in the office,” Nadella said.

“Second, at home, we are asking all employees who continue to work remotely, either full or part-time, to run a test of their home networks to ensure they are secure”.

“All corporate resources will be managed so that you have secure, trusted access. Whether employees are at home or in the office, we will require that every mobile device that needs to access corporate resources is managed. This includes a company-wide rollout of Microsoft Defender for Endpoint,” Nadella stressed.

Social capital, knowledge capital, and human capital

“On social capital, every business must be world-class at all forms of synchronous and asynchronous communications, to sustain culture across the organization.”

“The second area that will undergo transformation is places. In this new era of hybrid work, we will no longer rely solely on shared physical location or a campus to collaborate, connect, or build social capital. But that doesn’t mean physical places and spaces aren’t important. They will just need to be re-imagined,” the Microsoft CEO explained.

“From product development and manufacturing to marketing, sales, customer service, and facilities, HR, and IT, every business process will need to be adjusted,” he said.

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