Zoom introduces its new Avatars feature, the new features comprises a rabbit, fox, dog, or another type of animal. This feature will give users the opportunity to replace real pictures with Avatars that resonates with how they feel or however they choose to express themselves. The company discloses that the new Avatar feature will be included in the Zoom 5.10 update, as per expressing yourself with an animal, Zoom says that will only be at launch, new avatar options are said will be added in the future.
In the blog post by Zoom, the company claims this feature would be useful for a lot of different scenarios. The company says showing up with an avatar filter on could bring some form of excitement to team-building meetings or help paediatricians seem less intimidating to young children as the case may be. There’s also the idea that using Avatars could help alleviate Zoom fatigue. A study has revealed that certain type of stress and tiredness is associated with having to make sure one looks presentable and reacting appropriately in video calls that take all day. Think about it this way, it’s a lot harder to scrutinize a giraffe mirroring what your facial expressions can be in your Zoom box than your actual face. The introduction of Avatars may have proven these studies and takes it one step further by completely replacing you.
For users who are interested in turning the Avatar feature on, the company has instructed that such users click the ^ button right next to the Start / Stop Video button, then click Choose Video Filter. After this is done, the user can then pick the animal of interest to show up from the Avatars tab. Zoom has also added the option for a user to decide if the most preferred avatar will be wearing a hoodie or T-shirt. Users also have the decision to choose to always apply the filter whenever they enter a meeting or not.
Already on the Zoom app, a number of Snapchat-like filters and effects exist, these filters and effects can be used to change user appearance. Imagine adding bunny ears or a moustache to your face or giving yourself a cartoonish appearance, it’s all part of the fun experience that may be in existence that Zoom is bringing into its app, Avatars amplifies this fun by completely replacing you. The company has mentioned that data regarding your face or facial features will not be stored at any point if you choose to use an Avatar.
Well, it’s hard to tell exactly how or to what extent Zoom Avatars will primarily reduce meeting anxiety or fatigue, not because they are not fun to use, but because of others’ tolerance for Zoom playfulness. Colleagues you work with closely may have little or no problem with seeing you show up for a meeting in Zoom Avatars, but there are definitely spaces where you’d show up and be told off for showing up like an animal. However, the option of getting some time to be or appear a little less serious is something this new Zoom avatar could certainly help with, hopefully, many see it that way.