Microsoft unveils a ‘real time noise suppression’ tool for conference calls to help people working from home filter out potentially embarrassing background noises
- Microsoft has demonstrated a new feature for its communications tool Teams
- Users on conference calls will now have the option to filter background noise
- The company demonstrated the feature by removing the noises of someone loudly reaching into a bag of potato chips while speaking
- The feature is powered by AI and is planned for release later this year
Microsoft is working on a new AI-powered sound filtering tool to its Teams software that will remove potentially embarrassing background noises from conference calls.
The company demonstrated the new feature for the press by staging a conference call during which Microsoft’s Robert Aichner loudly moved his hand around inside a bag of potato chips.
The AI filter, which which Microsoft refers to as ‘real-time noise suppression,’ removed the loud crinkling noises of the potato chip bag while preserving Aichner’s voice in a clear, undistorted tone.
Microsoft demonstrated an upcoming feature for its productivity software Teams, which will allow users to filter out background noise during conference calls while working from home or other potentially less professional settings
“With the power of AI, Teams can remove that background noise and you can understand me very clearly,” Aichner said during the demonstration, according to a report in CNet.
Microsoft says the audio filter for Teams won’t be released until later this year, but it’s taking the sudden shift toward telecommuting as an opportunity to further develop its services across the board.
Previously, Microsoft has developed a number of similar editing and filtering options for connectivity apps.
In 2019, it introduced a similar background noise filter for Microsoft Stream, another of the company’s video conferencing tools, though in that case the filter only worked on pre-recorded video messages not live video conferences.
The company has also developed a tool for Skype that lets users blur out the background on video conference calls.
Teams was first released in 2017 and allows people to chat, make audio or video calls, manage calendars, share files, and more. During the first major week of COVID-19 shutdowns un the US, the service added 12 million new daily users as more workers began working from home
During the first week of widespread workplace shutdowns related to the COVID-19 pandemic, Microsoft says Teams added 12 million new daily users, 37 percent more than had used it week before, for a total of 44 million.
‘As organizations around the world are changing the way they work in response to the (COVID-19) situation, we’re going to learn a tremendous amount,’ Microsoft’s Satya Nadella said in a virtual news conference.
Teams was first released in 2017, a set of collaboration tools that include a chat function, video conferencing, scheduling, file sharing and more.