Collaboration is changing. There are more online meetings taking place now than ever before, and tools that power remote collaboration are seeing extraordinary growth. Microsoft Teams had a few million users in 2017, and now it has hundreds of millions.
Now, we’re adding another dimension to what people can do with Microsoft Teams by launching the Frame app on the Teams App Store. Frame is the easiest way to create private spaces in the metaverse for collaboration, education, events, and more. With this integration, Frame brings the metaverse into Microsoft Teams.
The metaverse in Teams? Why?
There are lots of reasons. At Frame, we strongly believe that collaborating as avatars inside of the metaverse provides a sense of shared space, presence, and togetherness that is hard to achieve online unless you’re playing a multiplayer game. Co-presence, the feeling like you’re in the same space as somebody else, can make collaboration more personal, playful, and powerful.
There are loads of interactions that we take for granted in physical places that rely on space: bumping into colleagues in the hallway after a meeting, splitting students up for small group collaboration, having someone go to the front of the room to give a presentation, walking around a product or property with others - these are all things that feel natural in the metaverse but are difficult to achieve with traditional video conferencing tools.
With the Frame app for Microsoft Teams, you can give every channel of your Team its own Frame - its own corner of the metaverse. When people on a Teams channel open the Frame app in Microsoft Teams, they get taken to a collaborative 3D world where they can interact as avatars with spatialized voice chat and a wide array of collaboration tools - all without leaving Teams. See how easy it is. Just click the Frame app, and you're in:
You and your teammates don’t need to make separate Frame accounts, because you will already be authenticated in the Frame app with their credentials from Microsoft Teams. So, the app already has access to handy information from their Microsoft Accounts, like organizational structure, roles, and even gamerscores. You will notice a simple example of this when you see that the name tags above your colleagues’ avatars are already filled in with info from Microsoft Teams.
Outside of any scheduled meetings taking place in there, teammates can drop into a channel’s Frame at any time to explore, bump into each other, and create. You can bring lots of content into Frame: images, videos, documents, whiteboards, 3D models, photosphere/videospheres, text, private voice zones, special effects, and a lot more. Pick between our ready-made 3D environments or upload your own models. You can also set up a wide range of interactivity in Frame using a no-code editor.
You have some productive and playful superpowers, too. For presentations, instead of browsing through a document, you can deliver compelling, spatial presentations by taking your audience on a journey through “scenes”. Scenes in Frame are sort of like slides in a deck, but each scene is a full 3D canvas where you can display content all around your audience. This feature really leverages the sense of space in Frame to go beyond what you can normally do in conventional collaboration tools.
With a click of a button you can gather everyone in the Frame around you, no matter how far away their avatar is. Use a laser pointer, launch emojis out of your avatar, make it snow, or shoot hoops. Bring everyone on top of a map of anywhere in the world, and fly through 3D terrain with them. Quickly jump to other channels’ Frames, too. This is a key aspect of the metaverse: the ability to jump between different, but connected destinations.
Those with immersive hardware like the Oculus Quest can also enter a channel’s Frame by using a link in the Oculus Browser and entering VR mode. Users in VR have tracked hands with their avatar, and you will notice them waving, pointing things out, and having an easier time drawing on the whiteboards - hands are easier to draw with than a mouse! (Note: users can only enter in VR from a web browser, not within Teams itself - but we're working on this).
The Frame App for Microsoft Teams works across a range of platforms, including the browser on desktop and VR, because it’s built with Babylon.js. Babylon.js is an incredibly powerful, open-source 3D web development framework from developers at Microsoft. We are big fans of Babylon.js and the team behind it, and we have a close partnership with them that you can read more about here.
To sum it up, with the Frame app for Microsoft Teams you can create an enterprise metaverse with just a few clicks, giving each channel a persistent, collaborative, dynamic corner of the metaverse to leverage and make their own - all within Teams.
We’re just scratching the surface with the Frame app for Microsoft Teams, and we already have some incredible updates to this app planned that provide deeper integrations between Frame and Microsoft Teams, letting you do even more inside your metaverse.
We can’t wait to show you what’s next.
PS: Here's a video of me teasing the app to one of our friends at Microsoft, David Rousset.