Microsoft Teams meetings run on 50pc less power than in 2020

11 Feb 2022

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Microsoft has been making improvements to Teams since June 2020, including optimising video rendering and video capture.

Microsoft said it has reduced the power requirements of Microsoft Teams by 50pc in calls and meetings since June 2020.

Robert Aichner, a principal group program manager at Microsoft, outlined the optimisation processes involved in reducing power consumption in a blog post this week.

Future Human

He said that “the ubiquity of Teams” pushed the company to “create equitable experiences” for all users regardless of how high-tech or low-tech their devices are.

Microsoft Teams has become a popular tool for remote and hybrid workers during the pandemic, with the company experiencing a surge in users. In its most recent earnings report, Microsoft said Teams has surpassed 270m monthly active users.

“One of the factors we’ve addressed is the difference in power requirements for different customer profiles by ensuring Teams meetings are as energy efficient as possible, regardless of set-up,” Aichner explained.

A 50pc reduction in consumption was seen in power-heavy scenarios such as when there are up to 10 participants in a Teams meeting with their video turned on.

Aichner said Microsoft began by creating a test framework to accurately measure power consumption for meeting scenarios such as group video calls and screen sharing. These often involve “energy-intensive processes” such as content capture, encoding and rendering.

The team isolated and optimised these processes in a bid to improve efficiency, starting with camera optimisation in the video capture process to reduce the load on the CPU.

Next, it turned to video rendering, making improvements in processing multiple video streams in conference calls by combining them into a single video.

Aichner said that more screen-sharing optimisations are planned for later this year and the team will evaluate each new planned Teams feature to “ensure existing processing efficiencies are not compromised”.

“Looking forward, we’ll continue to work closely with CPU and GPU chipset vendors to ensure the next generation of silicon is further optimised for Teams video conferencing,” Aichner added.

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Blathnaid O’Dea is Careers reporter at Silicon Republic

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