If you use Microsoft Teams for work meetings or catching up with friends and family then Christmas has truly come early. That's because the video meeting platform has just been upgraded with a smart new feature that is already available on the competing Zoom service.
That new feature? As related on the official Microsoft Teams' blog, an AI controlled noise suppression mode has now been built in to the Teams Windows desktop client (and is coming to Android and iOS mobile devices), which can be easily enabled in the software's options menu.
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The noise suppression mode has been designed to cut out nearby loud noises, such as children playing in the background of a call, or construction work taking place outside a window, and works by analyzing an individual's audio feed and then using AI to only retain speech.
You can watch the technology in action by clicking the video image below:
This sort of technology already exists on the big rival video meeting platform of the moment, Zoom, but from what we've seen so far the Microsoft Teams' tech looks even more advanced. That ability to completely cut out loud background noises like a vacuum cleaner is going to be incredibly useful for many people, who are now finding themselves working from home and holding virtual meetings far much more than usual.
To enable noise suppression in Microsoft Teams first open the desktop Windows client, navigate to settings and then select 'High' from the 'Noise suppression' drop-down menu. Once this is down, the AI will then analyze your audio feed and cut out any unwanted noise or heavily dial it down.
The key to the technology working so well is that it utilises machine learning (ML) to continuously learn the difference between speech and background noise, which is informed by a representative dataset.
Microsoft has achieved this representative dataset by collating 76- hours of clean speech data and 180 hours of noise data. The clean speech was split between male and female voices and also did so over 10 languages as well, while the noise data was collected through over 150 different noise types in a variety of scenarios.
Here at T3 we think this really is a great new feature for Microsoft Teams, and feel that it will make using the service significantly better going forward into 2021. It will also help the service keep pace with Zoom in terms of advanced features. Microsoft deserves a big hat tip here.
In phone news early pricing information has leaked online for the Samsung Galaxy S21 in Europe, and it's great news for Samsung phone fans.
That's because the S21 5G is going to ring in cheaper than last year's Galaxy S20, and by quite a way, too. Where the Samsung Galaxy S20 cost €999 at launch, the S21 will cost €879, which is a €120 reduction.
That price point places the S21 between the S20 and the S20 FE in terms of launch pricing, with the latter launching at €649.
The cost savings over last year are believed to be because the S21 is adopting a 'glasstic' backplate instead of glass, and that its screen has a lower resolution than last year (FHD+ instead of QHD+).