The rise of videoconferencing apps
Since the pandemic and the corresponding lockdowns, remote work has become the new norm. According to survey results published by Forbes, 74% of professionals and 76% of entrepreneurs expect the home office to be the default option. Just 3% are willing to return to full-time office work, while the rest would prefer flexible working arrangements.
The popularity of video conferencing apps jumped up accordingly. According to the report from App Annie, the number of downloads increased by 90% compared to the pre-COVID times. Zoom, being the king on the market, saw the largest increase in user base, although other apps also benefited.
As a result, the competition in the market became tougher, which forced the major players to innovate and quickly add various extra features: background segmentation, animated face filters, AR presentations, etc.
Flies in the ointment
Despite the advantages that video conferencing apps bring, they cause certain problems as well. We will focus on those that can be addressed by webcam face filters.
Interacting with people on video is different than in-person. Firstly, you constantly have to concentrate, because Big Brother, (or the rest of the team) is watching. Secondly, you have to focus on multiple people at the same time, as there are usually several of them on screen. Add the anxiety about looking well on camera and possible distractions like pets or children, and you have a great recipe for mental strain.
The exhaustion, irritability, and tension people feel after online meetings are collectively dubbed “Zoom fatigue”.
Some people are anxious about being filmed, to the point of getting increased heart rate, shaking, and even panic attacks. Such people are going to be mortified at the prospect of regular online meetings.
This is the reverse of the “Zoom fatigue”. Some people find remote meetings boring and easily give in to distractions. This is especially true for children whose classes have been moved to video conferencing apps.
How Animated Face Filters Help Videoconferencing Apps
Distraction against “Zoom fatigue”
Prolonged concentration is one of the causes of “Zoom fatigue”. To fight it, the meetings should be made a bit less serious. This is where webcam face filters come into play. It is one thing to try and focus on a bunch of serious professional people. Being in a meeting with pirates, lions, kings, and rappers is a completely different experience, a much less stressful one.
According to Dr. Dixon-Saxon, the vice provost for Walden University’s College of Social & Behavioral Sciences and a licensed professional counselor, adding fun to the video conference is a great way to fight “Zoom fatigue”. Animated face filters do just that.
Hiding the real face
People suffering from camera shyness will be relieved to know that they can cover their faces with an AR mask or sticker. This will help them feel less self-conscious about their appearance as well as make them feel more secure.
For a more radical change, they can use animated avatars. These webcam face filters completely replace a person with a 3D character that copies the movements of the user. This way they can convey emotions while being hidden.
Engaging the learners
Augmented reality has been embraced by the eLearning domain as a way to visualize educational materials and keep students engaged. Face AR, the subtype that handles interactions with a person’s face, is also effective in this regard.
For example, animated face filters can virtually remove the skin from a person’s face and help them study the underlying anatomy. Or they can help teachers turn into historical (for older students) or fairytale (for the little children) characters and keep them engaged.
A good real-life case would be “Chudo-knizhki” (“Wonderbooks”) - an AR-powered learning application from a Russian developer. It is based on folk tales that children and their parents can read. But the true uniqueness of this app comes from the webcam face filters that let both kids and adults try on the faces of Red Riding Hood, Big Bad Wolf, and other characters.
Impressing the candidates
This is a niche case that, nevertheless, has been quite popular. Not just the work, but the recruitment has become remote. As such, companies needed to find new ways to attract the best talent.
AT&T used animated face filters for that. The telecom giant created an AR game that the fresh college graduates could play as part of a recruitment event. By using facial expressions, the players could control a running character and score points, while learning about the company values in the process. The participants were also able to share their scores with others to see which university performed best during the event
AT&T reported 85% user engagement with the game, making it a rather successful employer branding tool.
How to get animated face filters for your app
If these use cases apply to you, you might already think about getting such filters for your own video conferencing app. The easiest way to do so is by integrating a Face AR SDK. It lets you create custom video filters and add them to your app.
This is what it has going for it:
- Quick to install. Integrating one could take under a day while developing the functionality from scratch requires months or even years of work.
- Rich feature set. Commercially available SDKs already have a ton of useful features that include webcam face filters, beautification, avatars, triggers, and many other.
- Tech support. The vendor will help you solve any issues that you might encounter with the product and could even handle the integration for you.
- Small initial investment. Subscription to an SDK doesn’t cost nearly as much as creating face tracking and AR features from the ground up. In addition, the expenses are predictable.
- Premade assets. The product you choose to integrate might already have many ready-made masks and other effects that you just have to buy. Banuba Face AR SDK, for example, has a catalog that includes 600+ animated face filters.
Animated face filters have proven to be an effective tool against “Zoom fatigue”, unnecessary distractions, and camera shyness. In addition, they help engage users in both professional and educational environments. The easiest way to gain them for your videoconferencing application is to integrate an augmented reality SDK. If you need one, just click the button below: Banuba Face AR SDK offers two weeks of a free trial period!