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Microsoft Teams is getting a pretty creepy facial recognition tool – but it’s totally fine

Your workplace meetings and calls could soon be able to detect exactly who is in the room thanks to a new (and slightly concerning) update from Microsoft Teams.

The video conferencing service has announced a new “desktop client face enrollment process” which it says can speed up identifying participants as they join a call on its Teams Rooms platform.

However, as the name suggests, users will have to “enroll their face” in order to sign up, where the company’s slightly concerningly-named “People Recognition” platform will create a “face profile” for them.

Microsoft Teams facial recognition

First announced back in June 2023, People Recognition uses “advanced facial recognition algorithms” to allow Microsoft Teams Rooms kit to identify users and provide personalized experiences during video conferences and meetings.

In its entry on the official Microsoft 365 roadmap, the company says the feature will be particularly useful in Teams Rooms meetings using an Intelligent Camera capable of People Recognition is deployed – which for many high-profile customers with well-equipped conference rooms, will now no doubt be the norm. 

These cameras are then able to recognize the facial profile of those attendees in the room who have signed up with People Recognition, and can then label their identity for all meeting participants, both in-room and remote.

The feature is reportedly still being fine-tuned, with Microsoft listed an expected rollout start date of December 2023. When released, it will be available to Teams users across the world on both Windows and Mac platforms.

The news is the latest in a series of upgrades and additions to Microsoft Teams in recent months to make the platform more intuitive for users.

This includes the launch of “immersive spaces” which will look to take your Teams video conferencing to a whole new dimension – allowing users to “transform their meetings into a 3D experience,” so that instead of your typical blurred background, or even slightly more-exciting virtual backdrop, your Microsoft Teams call can now take place in any kind of 3D location or setting you choose.

It also launched Microsoft Teams virtual avatars in May 2023, offering users the chance to substitute themselves for an animated alter-ego that offer more customization options, but also spices up the look and feel of Microsoft Teams calls.

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