Microsoft is working on a technology that turns group chats into virtual background noise

It can theoretically be integrated on a variety of platforms.

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microsoft teams background noise

Microsoft has a plan to make online meetings and group chats, such as Teams channels, and Teams meetings, more engaging by creating a more immersive environment. If you’re thinking about Microsoft Mesh, you’re wrong, even though, technically, they are immersive virtual spaces.

However, we’re talking about something else. The Redmond-based tech giant is working on a technology called Simulated Choral Audio Chatter that turns group chats, such as Microsoft Teams meetings into virtual background noise.

The technology is described in a recently published patent and it’s fairly easy to understand how it works. microsoft teams background noise

The system creates simulated group audio chats in communication systems. It gathers audio data from many users who are part of a group for an event, meeting, and so on. It uses the audio data to create a simulated group audio chat that can be shared with one or more users of the said event, meeting, and so on.

In other words, it’s like creating a virtual background noise of a group chat based on the actual audio data from the group members and then sharing this noise with the event participants.

However, why would Microsoft invest resources into such a technology? Well, it’s all in the name of immersion and engagement. The technology could make online events feel more like real-life events with people chatting in the background, improving the experience for remote participants.

There is an ongoing need to develop improvements to help make the user experience like an in-person meeting and more engaging. In particular, embodiments of the present disclosure may monitor groups activities of an event, such as a conference using a communication system, and may produce spatial audio signal representative of choral activity of the group to be conveyed to others who may be listening at a distance (virtual distance) or in another channel.

The technology would create a more immersive space without the use of actual virtual space in platforms such as Microsoft Teams, by adding background noise that resembles chatter and talking. The paper, which can be read here, says this enhances the experience of feeling as if a remote participant is actually present in the meeting room.

For example, when a breakout room is created, instead of a presenter being left in silence, the presenter may hear choral cues from each sub-channel breakout.

The technology is quite interesting, but I do wonder what Microsoft intends to do with its Mesh technology, once this system is out. The Redmond-based tech giant is already insisting Microsoft Mesh is the perfect tool for hybrid human interaction, that being said, the bridge that brings online and offline meetings together.

If the technology presented here focuses on immersion and engagement, then what’s the future for Mesh? Will they both be integrated, or will exist separately?

More about the topics: microsoft, Teams