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Microsoft joins forces with Meta to bring its suite of products to the Metaverse

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(Kitco News) - Microsoft is going all in on the future of the Metaverse as the multinational technology corporation has made several moves in recent weeks meant to establish its presence in the virtual world of the internet. 

On Tuesday, Microsoft announced a new partnership with Meta Platforms to bring its range of Microsoft Office 365 products into Meta’s virtual reality (VR) platform in a bid to lure companies into working in virtual environments. 

The new collaboration was revealed by Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella during Meta’s Connect 2022 keynote on Oct. 11, in which Nadella said the Teams video calling app would integrate with Meta’s “Quest” and newly unveiled “Quest Pro” VR headset, thereby allowing people to gather in a virtual space similar to a boardroom.

Microsoft Teams will also be cross-compatible with Meta’s VR space for business meetings called Horizon Workrooms. 

The company’s enterprise-level mobile device and identity management applications will be compatible with Meta’s Quest and Quest Pro headsets, according to Nadella, which will allow companies to manage and secure VR headsets in their corporate networks in a similar manner as they do with computers or phones.

Other popular Microsoft productivity applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook and SharePoint, will also be available for use within Meta’s VR. The ability to stream a Windows Cloud computer to Meta’s headsets is planned for the future. 

Nadella highlighted the rise of remote working following the COVID-19 pandemic, which he said has created a “once-in-a-lifetime” chance to shift the landscape of formerly office-based work environments.

“We’re bringing the Microsoft Teams’ immersive meeting experience to Meta Quest in order to give people new ways to connect with each other,” Nadella said. “Now, you can connect, share and collaborate as though you are together in person.”

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Industrial applications in the Metaverse

Last week, Microsoft internally revealed its new Industrial Metaverse Core team, which will focus on creating immersive software interfaces for use in industrial control systems that power electrical plants, industrial robotics, and transportation networks, among other applications.

Tech built by the low-code AI development platform Bonsai, which was acquired by Microsoft in 2018, will be included in the offering. The overall goal of the initiative is to create an industrial work-focused virtual world that is capable of monitoring and assessing real-world machines and factory environments. 
Once the system is fully developed and integrated with Microsoft’s Azure service, industrial engineers will be able to use it to merge artificial intelligence with industrial equipment and processes without the need for software development experience. 

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