The digital drain. FaceTime fatigue. Remember when Hangouts were fun? We are all tired of 2D square face life – and the challenges of “always on – literally” are not going away anytime soon in remote work.
So how are you making digital fun? Light? Livable and productive? What innovations are out there in the market that you are seeing?
After work – We recently experimented with a new technology called High Fidelity as a virtual space to host our after work happy hour – as people were generally fatigued from the standbys. Haven’t heard of it? Me either. Our producer Dave recommended we try it out, as we were exploring solutions for some of our partners.
High Fidelity is disorienting at first and feels a bit like an old school Nintendo game (Zelda comes to mind). But then when you enter the virtual space from an overhead view where you are a unique colored dot in the space – you hear your colleagues voices, and it immediately feels real. Your virtual courtyard even has a pool where you can hang out with all your virtual friends: these are real people you invited.
The trick is – when you are near them, you can hear them. And when you are far, their voices fade. So you can now mix and mingle as you would in a physical environment. It’s a chance for you to expand your meetups from 10 to 100+ and still be able to have intimate conversations.
One of our other colleagues Smita who leads our India office- recommended we check out Surrogate Virtual Worlds, created by Raahil Kulshreshtha and Naiel D’cunha Shenoy at Hereafter. It’s a virtual space you can design for interactive social experiences with avatars – a bit more of a 3D experience than High Fidelity. Imagine a more lifelike virtual conference or even office environment where you could actually go get coffee together.
Facebook is providing a chance for developers to design for these type of experiences here with Horizon – but with the discontinuation of Go, it seems we are taking a step back from increasing access to these virtual environments.
So what if we want to step away from the microphone, the camera, and the headset and turn over the performance to a machine? Explore Sythesia which produces virtual human avatars to replace our talking head videos like the virtual instructor our colleague Gary produced below. Do you find it believable? Could this be an instructor, guide, coach, or customer support resource? I would love to hear your thoughts on the applications.
Another remarkably lifelike application is AuraNexus which produces remarkably lifelike virtual interactions like the one here, which replaces the boring old FAQ manual of a university admissions website.
In addition to these out-of-the-box solutions, there are custom animation solutions where you can recreate your own lifelike avatars, or completely create your own. Our colleague Anthony Kelani, CEO of DNABLOCK, has developed a product called REPLIKANT, a photorealistic avatar animation platform. REPLIKANT enables creators to design and animate high-quality 3d avatars and visual effects that rival those of high-budget films, but without the prohibitive costs and technical expertise associated with 3d animation. REPLKANT is like “Photoshop for 3d animation” can be used to bring any idea to life. Sign up for early access at dnablock.com.
So what will 2021 look like? You may already be looking at it. It will relieve the humans from being on all the time, and we may have our own virtual avatars or generate unique avatars to say what we’re going to say – on demand.
As a company with next generation innovation at the core of what we do – we’re here to innovate with you to reach your audience with everything from educational content to communications and impact stories. What ideas in digital innovation have you seen that have excited you or applications for these new technologies that you can imagine? We look forward to your ideas in the comments!