Microsoft will now support smaller gatherings through its Together Mode feature in Teams. It uses AI to place everyone in a meeting into virtual environments (via onmsft). Sports fans may recognize the feature from the NBA’s use of it during the pandemic to provide a crowd-like experience for basketball games. This beta version allows smaller crowds and is in the process of being implemented. Given Microsoft’s focus on Teams as a personal communications app as well as a corporate one, it’s not necessarily surprising that Together Mode will be able to work for family gatherings as well as company-wide all-hands.
The availability of the feature seems limited at the moment to users who have the Teams Developer preview. In theory, joining is easy: you just go to Teams, click on the ellipsis next to your profile picture in the top-right corner, go to About, then check Developer Preview. If you’re using a work account, though, you may not have the option; Microsoft says the ability to turn previews on or off is controlled by your organization.
Because it is in preview, an asterisk is placed on the “together”. The Together interface was only visible on the preview-running client that I tested with. The interface looked normal on the computer that it wasn’t.
It worked well for one person. Like all preview features, the functionality of the feature is subject to change once it’s released to the public. It’s encouraging that Microsoft has at least considered allowing smaller groups to access this feature. It can be a great way to have fun with large gatherings.
Estelia is a financial analyst who has been covering the finance industry since 2018. Prior to her career in journalism, Estelia was a security analyst and a copywriter at AS Technology.