Zoom has unveiled a new Avatars feature that lets users to replaces their appearance on virtual meetings and webinars with virtual characters. The latest feature will allow creating a cartoon-like version of yourself on the video calling platform. The character will mimic the head movements and facial expressions of the user to engage the meeting participants. Avatars feature, bundled in the Zoom 5.10.0 update, will initially offer animal avatars. The feature is quite identical to Snapchat filters and Apple’s Memoji feature. Zoom’s major rival in the space, Microsoft Teams also rolled out 3D virtual avatars last year.
Zoom announced the addition of new Avatars features via its support page. With the Avatars, Zoom users can ensure their presence in meetings without making an appearance. A 3D virtual avatar that imitates your head movements and gestures will replace your appearance during virtual meetings or webinars. Avatars are currently limited to animals like cats and dogs, but Zoom is looking to add more options in the future. Notably, users need to have Zoom client version 5.10.0 or higher on an iOS, Windows, or Mac machine to access the new Avatars feature. Also, the Web camera needs to be turned on to use this functionality. Video needs to be enabled during the Zoom call as well.
How to enable Avatars feature on Zoom
Start or join a meeting or webinar.
Select the upward-facing arrow (^) icon from the meeting toolbar to open video options.
Tap the Choose Virtual Background or Choose Video Filter option.
Navigate to the Avatars tab and pick the avatar.
You can remove avatars and select a new avatar from the Avatars tab. Also, users can select Turn off avatar from their self-view video tile in a meeting. In addition, Zoom has also confirmed that it does not use facial recognition and does not store facial data on servers either. Virtual backgrounds can be used along with Avatars, but video filters are not supported with the new feature.
Last year, Microsoft Teams added 3D virtual avatars and environments on the platform as part of the company’s push towards entering the metaverse. With this feature, attendees in a meeting can show themselves on video or use a static picture or bubble with initials. The avatar has options for customisation and can use artificial intelligence (AI) to mirror movements.