Patent published on October 17, 2023

Patent Could Transform Microsoft Teams Calls with Virtual Presence

In an age increasingly marked by remote work and digital communication, smooth online interactions are more critical than ever. However, the absence or unavailability of video during communication sessions, such as a Microsoft Teams call, has often compromised the user experience. The latest patent US11792364B2, titled "Headset virtual presence," presents an innovative solution that Microsoft is looking to implement to tackle this issue.

The problem is two-fold: firstly, with participants unable to provide a video stream, they often aren't as engaging in the communication session compared to those who can. This could be because they have disabled video for privacy reasons or lack an image capturing device. Also, non-verbal social cues like nodding, which can convey understanding and agreement, are lost.

Microsoft's proposed solution, as outlined in the patent, is a technology that generates a virtual presence for users based on their headset device's input data. This system identifies user movement input, even going one step further to decode emotions, thereby allowing the generation of a more interactive and expressive virtual avatar. These virtual presences can then be transmitted for display to the video participant.

This simple yet impactful solution could revolutionize online communication, especially in professional settings. Instead of vacant squares on a video call, individuals can now use their personalized virtual presences. These virtual figures could offer a valuable solution to those who prefer not to turn on videos during the call due to privacy issues or technical limitations.

An example of how this could be used in real life is during a critical business meeting. A participant, despite not having a suitable environment for video communication, can still convey their enthusiasm or agreement via their expressive virtual presence.

Few other technological inventions have brought this level of comfort to individuals and businesses alike, holding the potential to change the way virtual interactions occur globally.

However, while the concept is exciting, it is worth noting that this is currently just a patent - there is no guarantee when or if it will be a marketable product. It does, however, lay the groundwork for a more immersive and inclusive digital communication era.

P.S. As patents represent potentially new innovations, there's never surety whether they will manifest into market-ready products. Until then, they are concepts paving the way toward potential advancements. It's essential to remember that potential looks promising, but it doesn't promise delivery.

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