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Microsoft Releases Cloud IntelliFrame to Improve Hybrid Meetings

Microsoft Releases Cloud IntelliFrame to Improve Hybrid Meetings

The News: On August 21, Microsoft announced general availability of Microsoft IntelliFrame, an AI-driven online meeting experience designed to improve hybrid meetings. Microsoft Teams Rooms equipped with supported cameras create smart video feeds by zooming in on and framing in-room attendees so that online participants can more clearly see their faces and gestures.

The feature can work in two scenarios: Multi-stream IntelliFrame on intelligent cameras and Cloud IntelliFrame for rooms that do not have smart cameras. IntelliFrame enables multi-stream video, face recognition of in-room participants, active speaker recognition, attributed voice-based transcription, and panoramic video on front-of-room (180-degree view) and center-of-room (360-degree view) cameras.

Microsoft announced the features in the online release notes for 4.18.35.0 and further discussed them in a blog post on the Microsoft Teams Blog on September 1.

Microsoft Releases Cloud IntelliFrame to Improve Hybrid Meetings

Analyst Take: On September 1, Microsoft published a comprehensive outline of its vision for intelligent cameras in Teams Rooms, authored by Arash Ghanaie-Sichanie. The piece presents advancements in hybrid meeting experiences through intelligent cameras. Microsoft emphasizes two approaches to achieving this: Multi-stream IntelliFrame, enabled by AI and edge computing in intelligent cameras, and Cloud IntelliFrame, which relies on cloud-based AI algorithms. Both of these technologies aim to make virtual meetings more inclusive, focused, and reflective of the physical meeting environment.

Microsoft Releases Cloud IntelliFrame to Improve Hybrid Meetings
Image Source: Microsoft

Addressing The Gap in Hybrid Meetings

Traditional Teams Room cameras offer a single, wide video frame that includes all participants in a shared physical space. This default setup has been found wanting, especially when trying to cater to the needs of remote attendees who might find it challenging to recognize individual faces or gauge the room’s context. Microsoft’s intelligent camera features address these problems. They are designed to provide a more nuanced and contextual view thanks to people recognition and active speaker tracking technologies, thereby fostering a more engaging hybrid meeting experience.

The Promise of Multi-stream IntelliFrame

Multi-stream IntelliFrame is positioned as a transformative technology that brings several features into play. It provides high-resolution video tiles, active speaker tracking, people recognition, and a comprehensive view of the room. Notably, the camera can identify individuals through recognition profiles, giving them their own video stream with name labels. This creates a rich, AI-enabled experience that has been made possible through advancements in edge computing. These cameras capture high-fidelity raw data, which is then processed on edge devices, eliminating the need for cloud computation for these tasks.

The Role of Cloud IntelliFrame

Cloud IntelliFrame serves as an alternative for Teams Rooms that are not equipped with intelligent cameras. It breaks the existing wide group shot and breaks into individual video tiles, offering a composite view of the attendees. Although it adds much-needed depth to virtual meetings, it comes with limitations such as reduced video resolution and the absence of features such as people recognition and active speaker tracking.

Benefits of OEM Cameras Over Cloud IntelliFrame

One salient advantage of using OEM cameras with built-in intelligence is their capability to deliver a richer, high-resolution experience as compared with Cloud IntelliFrame.

Microsoft Releases Cloud IntelliFrame to Improve Hybrid Meetings
Image Source: Jabra

Because the AI computations are performed on the edge within the camera itself, they can provide more timely and responsive features such as people recognition and active speaker tracking. Furthermore, they can provide a more comprehensive room views, such as panoramic views, that are essential for giving remote attendees a full contextual understanding of the physical meeting space.

The Importance of OEM Partnership

Microsoft’s approach is not proprietary; it encourages OEM partners to leverage intelligent camera APIs and Microsoft AI reference designs. This opens a broader ecosystem where different camera manufacturers can integrate seamlessly into the Teams environment, offering customers a variety of choices. Whether using Microsoft’s AI or their own, OEMs are expected to prioritize customer experience, making this a win-win situation for all stakeholders.

Future Prospects

Microsoft plans to further enhance IntelliFrame capabilities, and its OEM partners are also expected to introduce more intelligent camera options. With a focus on making hybrid meetings more inclusive and engaging, we can anticipate additional features and improvements that will further enrich the Teams meeting experience both for in-person and remote participants.

Disclosure: The Futurum Group is a research and advisory firm that engages or has engaged in research, analysis, and advisory services with many technology companies, including those mentioned in this article. The author does not hold any equity positions with any company mentioned in this article.

Analysis and opinions expressed herein are specific to the analyst individually and data and other information that might have been provided for validation, not those of The Futurum Group as a whole

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Author Information

Craig Durr

As Practice Lead - Workplace Collaboration, Craig focuses on developing research, publications and insights that clarify how the workforce, the workplace, and the workflows enable group collaboration and communication. He provides research and analysis related to market sizing and forecasts, product and service evaluations, market trends, and end-user and buyer expectations. In addition to following the technology, Craig also studies the human elements of work - organizing his findings into the workforce, the workplace, and the workflows – and charting how these variables influence technologies and business strategies.

Prior to joining Wainhouse, now a part of The Futurum Group, Craig brings twenty years of experience in leadership roles related to P&L management, product development, strategic planning, and business development of security, SaaS, and unified communication offerings. Craig's experience includes positions at Poly, Dell, Microsoft, and IBM.

Craig holds a Master of Business Administration from the Texas McCombs School of Business as well as a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Tulane University.

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