Microsoft Teams AI-powered makeover promises to clean up your messy office

Teams subscribers will be able to tidy up their cluttered backgrounds and suppress other noises when they speak, all courtesy of AI.
Written by Lance Whitney, Contributor
Clean up your messy office with an AI-infused virtual makeover

Do you dread when other people on a video call can see your dirty office or messy living room? A new feature coming to Microsoft Teams will be able to perform a virtual makeover so that your surroundings are more presentable.

At its Ignite 2023 conference on Tuesday, Microsoft unveiled a host of AI-based enhancements for its Teams video conferencing platform.

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One of the top features on the list is called "Decorate your background." With this new AI-based option, you'll be able to apply generative effects to spruce up your real-world background. You can clean up the clutter or add plants to a wall, convincing people that you're more like Felix Unger than Oscar Madison. This feature will be available early next year to anyone with a Teams Premium license.

Another AI-infused option promises to isolate your voice by learning how you speak. Known simply as "Voice isolation," this feature will be able to recognize your voice and suppress other voices and noises in the background so that your own words come through more clearly. All it takes is a brief enrollment period, says Microsoft, and the AI will know how to identify your speech. Added to Teams Phone and Teams Meetings, the new "Voice isolation" will roll out in early 2024.

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On the Copilot front, Copilot for Teams promises to handle much of the manual labor involved in conducting a virtual meeting. Rather than assign note-taking duties to one of the meeting participants, you can ask Copilot to be your virtual meeting assistant. The AI will be able to take collaborative notes throughout your call and then share them with all the participants. You can also tell Copilot to capture the words from a specific person, and it will serve up a transcription for everyone to see.

Don't want to retain a transcript of the meeting? Copilot can still play a role, allowing you to ask it specific questions and seek out information during the call. After the meeting is over, no transcript and none of the conversations with Copilot will be saved. This feature is typically available for people with a Microsoft 365 Copilot license.

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A Copilot compose box in the Teams chat and channels will help you write or rewrite a message if you have writer's block. And the Copilot in Microsoft Whiteboard will automatically capture and visualize spoken discussion points during a meeting, save them, and then share them with all participants.

Finally, Copilot will gain an intelligent recap feature for anyone who missed the meeting or wants to review the discussion. The recap will provide a summary of the key points, action items, and decisions so that everyone is up to date. You'll also be able to ask Copilot-specific questions about the meeting.

Most of the Copilot and AI features will pop up in early 2024, while the intelligent recap option will kick off in December of this year.

Also: Azure AI Studio takes the stage at Ignite 2023: Unlock the potential of this AI toolkit

With all the interest in artificial intelligence, Microsoft has been adding AI to its products and services. Trying to capitalize on the trend, the company is actively pushing the name Copilot to define its AI integration across Windows, Office, Teams, Azure, and other offerings for consumers and enterprise customers. With such a push, Microsoft has been keen on transforming AI from a buzzword into an actual business model.

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