EP 2: Microsoft Teams Avatar Tutorial

How to Set up Microsoft Teams Avatar with this step-by-step guide.

Available only with Microsoft Teams’ Public Preview, get a behind-the-scenes demo of Microsoft’s newest feature, Avatars, as hosts George Schoenstein and Santi Cuellar walk through Avatar setup in this step-by-step guide. The introduction of Avatars in a business setting is one step further towards an immersive Metaverse experience offering an innovative and collaborative experience across remote teams. See the latest that Microsoft Teams has to offer with Avatars.

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Transcript for this Episode:

Introduction Voiceover:

This is Tech UNMUTED. The podcast of modern collaboration – where we tell the stories of how collaboration tools enable businesses to be more efficient and connected. With your hosts, George Schoenstein and Santi Cuellar. Welcome to Tech UNMUTED!

Welcome to episode two of Tech UNMUTED. I'm your host George Schoenstein.

And I'm Santi Cuellar, your co-host.

Today, we're going to take a look at the Avatar functionality that's in Preview mode on Microsoft Teams, so, we’re just going to do a quick walk through of show you how to access it, how to create your Avatar and then how you enable the Avatar in Teams. We're starting off today in regular video mode, but we will switch to our Avatars in a little bit so you see some of that functionality and see what it looks like. So with that, I'm going to turn it over to Santi.

Thank you. One of the things to point out is that this particular feature, this Avatar, is only really available in the Public Preview of Microsoft Teams, and so if your organization participates in Public Preview, which is basically for lack of better term, it's like having early access to features that are not yet generally available. And so that's the first thing I want to point out, you gotta make sure that you are in Public Preview.

And the other the other element you gotta point out as well, right? Is there, there is a preview mode specifically in Teams itself as well that you can get some of the future features or future look of the Teams platform. Don't click that because the Avatars won't work if you do that.

That's correct. That's correct. It only works in classic teams, right? In the classic teams. And so that's the first thing. So let me go ahead and I guess just share my screen and show you briefly how we can get the Avatars activated and created.

And so here we are in the App Store. I arrived here by just clicking on the app icon. You would basically come up to the search field and type in “Avatars”. But because I already did that, I'm gonna go ahead and click on these three buttons, which expands my available applications and you'll see the icon for Avatars. This is the icon you're searching for. So when you do the first time, you come to the App Store, you type in Avatars. And you look for this icon once you open that icon, it will then be part of your icons over here at the left. So you just got to click on the three dots. So let me go and launch the application.

So when you first do this, they’re going to give you several options. It's gonna be like a base Avatar that you start with, basically a base> Avatar has different features, different skin tones, and you kind of start with a base and then you're able to customize it. But once you customize and you save your Avatar, then this is what you'll see.

And as you can see over to the right, I actually have three different Avatars or three different personas that I've created, but just briefly, I'm going to show you some of the options you have when you click on customize.

So starting at the top and going across from left to right, you can configure the body, the face, hair, appearance and the wardrobe. And in each section at top will have a subsection down below and so for example, just to give you an idea, when you click on face, you're going to get different face structures or shapes and you can go ahead and choose the one that’s closest or you know that's pretty close to yours.

It's hard to get it perfect. Everybody's so unique. You do have some options that allow you to customize even further. Not all of them have this, but you'll see it here if it's available. Same thing with the eyes, trying to find the right shape of your eye, or at least close to it, and you just kind of move down the menu options till you end up with an Avatar that you're OK with.

I will tell you, some of these things are harder to choose than others. For me, it was the hair. The hair was a tough one. The hair was easy for George, but it wasn't easy for me. I could have find something that matched mine.

And so finally, when you go to appearance. Here the options you get. You can add things like lip color and eye liner and face lines, so face line interesting enough, is supposed to be kind of like an aging Avatar, but I chose the oldest looking icon here and I can tell you the Avatar looks a lot younger than me in person, so I kind of like it.

And then finally the wardrobe when it comes to wardrobe, there's both what's called an underlayer and an outerwear and so you can get very creative with these. These actually have a lot of customizations, like for example, if you were to choose this shirt with a tie, you can then come in here into this color wheel and start changing the tie color, the shirt color. And there's quite a bit you can do, you can get pretty creative with this stuff. Bottom line is go ahead –

And these are when you're live in a meeting – you can modify these in a standard Teams meeting, we happen to be in a webinar, it doesn't seem to change it in real time when we're in the webinar mode, we tested it out a couple of days ago, but in a regular meeting if you want to make some modifications to your clothing or whatever else or switch between your various Avatars, it's as easy as clicking a button and it fairly quickly changes as I just changed my shirt on mine.


It doesn't take very much time at all, once it’s established.

Yeah. So I'm gonna save and then this will take me back to my Avatar window. And again, you can pick the different Avatars, so if you want to customize one and not the other, and you can kind of switch between them. But I'm gonna go ahead and join George back in the meeting room and turn on my Avatar.

So now we see Santi is up, his Avatars running as well. Again, the ability to make certain gestures that are driven by clicking on a selection of, I didn't count them up, looks to be 20 or 30 different gestures at the moment.

And the voice, the lips moving or tracking off of me speaking at the moment and again future state, we expect that this will be driven with some video element. Today it's not, or at least the option of a video element where it's actually, you're doing something and it's directly picking it up. But I've used this quite frequently in the last couple weeks on meetings. The first thing everybody says is how do I get access?

That's correct.

And again it's you need to be in Preview mode, right? And it's, it works well in some situations on meetings where I wanna appear to be visible, but I might be looking at something else offline and again in today's mode of this where it doesn't video track, no one knows what you're actually doing or not doing.

Yeah. So a couple things to note here, is again, my camera is off and that's good because some folks actually don't have a camera. So they can now have the Avatar stand in their place. And I do like the fact that you have such easy motions that you or gestures that you can just trigger literally, instantly, something like that. Yeah, it's very easy, very user friendly. It looks very clean. I think this is going to be a hit.

I see a future where this Avatar has a full blown AI capabilities and is actually like a team member, on your team. So we'll see, we'll see where Microsoft takes this.

Anyway, folks, we just want to take a moment here today to kind of show you briefly how to set up your Avatar. We're definitely gonna be using it in our daily lives. And so if you want the notes to this show,
you can find those at fusionconnect.com/techUNMUTED. Also, don't forget to subscribe on your favorite podcast platform so you don't miss our next episodes. And finally, until next time, stay connected.


Visit www.fusionconnect.com/techunmuted for show notes and more episodes. Thanks for listening!

Episode Credits:

Produced by: Fusion Connect

2023 TMCnet Best Tech Podcast award winner

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Tech UNMUTED, the podcast of modern collaboration, where we tell the stories of how collaboration tools enable businesses to be more efficient and connected. Humans have collaborated since the beginning of time – we’re wired to work together to solve complex problems, brainstorm novel solutions and build a connected community. On Tech UNMUTED, we’ll cover the latest industry trends and dive into real-world examples of how technology is inspiring businesses and communities to be more efficient and connected. Tune in to learn how today's table-stakes technologies are fostering a collaborative culture, serving as the anchor for exceptional customer service.

Get show notes, transcripts, and other details at www.fusionconnect.com/techUNMUTED. Tech UNMUTED is a production of Fusion Connect, LLC.