As countries around the world start making progress in moving past the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft has given us a glimpse of the future of work, specifically, hybrid work. As it starts being safe to head out into physical workplaces, Microsoft believes that many of us will also continue to work remotely, and collaboration between people in a meeting room and those working from home or elsewhere is essential.
The company shared a video showcasing what meeting rooms will look like in the future, thanks to the help of Teams Rooms. The video covers different approaches to meeting rooms of different sizes, and it shows that a lot of devices may be needed to fully enable these hybrid experiences. In a smaller room, you may use a camera at eye level along with a large screen to capture everyone in the physical room, while a large display and spatial audio let those in the room see and hear remote teammates as if they were there.
Of course, meeting rooms can vary in size, and for larger rooms, Microsoft shows off devices like swiveling cameras to focus on each of the speakers at any given time, or multiple microphones throughout the meeting room table enabling Teams Rooms to identify everyone who speaks during the meeting.
For extra large rooms, multiple cameras, displays, and speakers can also be used together to accommodate more meeting participants, both remote and present. Microsoft even mentions the possibility of microphones hidden in the ceiling so technology fades into the background and meetings feel more natural. Of course, the Teams experience also shows the meeting chat, presentations, and other content relevant to the meeting, so everything is within view for everyone.
In order to provide guidance for businesses preparing the shift to hybrid work, Microsoft has made a couple of resources available. First, there's the Hybrid Workplace Flexibility Guide, which was originally designed for Microsoft employees. Then there's Hybrid Work: A Guide for Business Leaders, which has a fairly self-explanatory name.
Oddly enough, this is all being shown off a few days before Microsoft's Build conference, where it typically announces things like this. The event is set to start on May 25, so we don't have long to wait to see what's in store.