Microsoft Teams gains Spatial Annotations functionality, makes MR collabs easy

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Key notes

  • Microsoft Teams mobile app gains Spatial Annotations for remote collaboration using 3D annotations.
  • Spatial Annotations eliminates app switching, keeps users in Teams environment, and improves communication.
  • IT benefits from reduced app sprawl and security is enhanced through Teams’ existing encryption features.

Microsoft is launching Spatial Annotations, a new feature for mixed reality (MR) collaboration, on the Teams mobile app. This feature, currently in a public preview for iOS devices, lets frontline workers collaborate remotely with colleagues using 3D annotations on physical objects. This comes after Microsoft officially confirmed that Windows Mixed Reality is dead.

Previously, these capabilities required frontline workers to use either 

  • the Dynamics 365 Remote Assist mobile app or 
  • a HoloLens 2 device. 

Spatial Annotations integrates this functionality directly into the Teams mobile app.

Using this feature is as straightforward as joining a Teams meeting or making a call. With the front-facing camera, users can share their view with remote participants, allowing real-time collaboration that relies on 3D annotations overlayed on physical objects to enhance comprehension.

This eliminates the need for workers to switch between apps and keeps them within the Teams environment. Not only this, annotations remain anchored to the environment even as the user moves around.

Since Teams is already used for communication and collaboration, others do not need to manage and deploy a separate app for remote assistance functionalities. 

Another advantage is security. Spatial Annotations also provides end-to-end encryption, data loss prevention, and compliance certifications.

Microsoft has launched a public preview for Spatial Annotations for iOS users, with an Android preview expected later this summer. General availability is slated for later in 2024. Users will need a valid Dynamics 365 Field Service, Guides, or Remote Assist license to access the feature.

Integrating MR functionalities into existing mobile applications demonstrates Microsoft’s commitment to making mixed-reality collaboration tools more accessible to frontline workers across various industries.

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