Microsoft has rolled out spatial audio on Teams for desktop, to improve communication and reduce meeting fatigue in audio and video conferences.

“Spatial audio aims to mimic an in-person conversation by spatially separating the voices of individual meeting participants, which results in a more natural listening experience,” the tech giant said in a blog post on Tuesday.

Developing realistic and engaging audio and video experiences that imitate dynamic real-world scenarios is challenging. “For example, we rely on binaural hearing (that is, we use both ears) to help identify and distinguish the sources of sounds in the physical world.

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However, most audio and video communication applications today provide monophonic audio where speech signals from different participants are transmitted in a single audio channel, thus stripping away valuable spatial context our minds may be anticipating,” the company explained.

Teams Spatial Audio aligns the perceived audio location of each participant with their video representation to make it easier for users to track who is speaking, to understand better when multiple speakers are speaking at the same time, and to lower meeting fatigue and cognitive load.

It is generally available on desktop applications and can be enabled by going to settings -> Devices to turn on spatial audio.

The tech giant noted that users will need a stereo-capable device such as wired headsets or stereo-capable laptops to use the feature. Also, Bluetooth devices are currently not supported due to protocol limitations.

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