I have been experimenting with the functionality of Metahuman Creator by Unreal Engine. This is still in the beta stage, but a few things are clear.
The metahumans you see in the attached image are based on the sample models in the beta. You can do a fair bit of customisation. One can work on facial features, hair and body type. There are some sample clothes and colours to experiment with. I am sure more functionality and customisation would be possible.
I started with a long and white-haired metahuman. I attempted to change features in an attempt to visualise a younger version of it. And the other one was a younger metahuman with short hair and how they would look with a bit more white hair. Not quite perfect but it still gives you an idea of the tool’s potential.
The exciting bit is that you can take this metahuman (via Quixel Bridge) and put this into a scene in Unreal Engine and perhaps other platforms.
You take it to the next level with a tool like iClone. Lipsync, motion capture and more, but that’s for another day.
The use of this feature in gaming makes visual effects apparent, but there are clearly more scenarios.
Learning experiences, pre-visualising realistic experiences and walkthroughs and linking back to other features are starting points.
People working on developing and visualising personas would find this creator very useful as well. More to imagine and build.
Change is the toughest to track. Sometimes the change is rapid, but other times it can be subtle and barely noticed. Yet, it may have made a big difference in the experience of someone.
Sometimes these changes take place in our own area of work, but there are more likely changes in other areas that can make a tremendous impact in our sector.
Should you track changes? Yes. Reading about them and having diversified a portfolio of reading interests is one thing but making notes about something interesting is equally essential. Since my school years, I have had a habit of reading but didn’t make as many notes back then, and this habit has grown.
Sense-making, my work in customer experience and whatever term you prefer. There is a lot to read, look at, understand and make sense of the customer journey for clients. For example, if the client has a business that engages with customers in stores, clinics, and many other formats, then there is a lot of visual information by way of messaging, equipment, etc. It is helpful to know for example, how digital signage is being used by different customers in various locations. Work-related reading could involve sector-specific insights, market research documents, books and more.
A Power platform application serves as a visual and related repository for the teams’ notes in market visits. It links back to Sharepoint, and everyone has access to the information they need. Another application was a business news tracker on specific topics that each of us works on. These apps were developed quickly and have served us well over the years.
Instagram is working on a version for children under 13
Proctoring applications are a lot more acceptable with educational institutions
The Metaverse and it’s inroads into the world of children
Let’s start with these though
Safety in the browser
You would be aware of a new initiative called FLOC. It is currently in preview/ testing mode and will roll out soon enough. It is promoted, by Google, as a privacy protection initiative to third party cookies. Still, it has received significant push back, and most browser alternatives are refusing to support the standard and, for now, only available on Chrome. Will FLOC also cover Google Workspace (education) based students ids and what about Chromebooks used by children. Hopefully, the status is opt-out from the outset.
If you have concerns, then Edge is the default browser on Windows machines, and you can choose Firefox or Brave. Mac’s default browser is Safari, but all the other three browsers are available. Meanwhile, Microsoft Edge’s new Kids Mode has appropriate features and content for children aged 5-8 or 9-12. It limits the sites that children can go to, adds safe search and strict tracking prevention. The browser’s family safety feature is linked to a Microsoft account.
The elevator pitch for the new economy is that “data is the new oil”. Data lakes are forming faster than the lakes formed by melting glaciers. As for the latter, I’d rather the glaciers don’t melt!
Database products and analytics tools that power concepts like data lakes are flourishing. They are increasingly getting powerful features that a modern enterprise needs. If you are not playing the data game, you will be left behind, they say!
In the ‘bad old days’ powered by oil, there were the inevitable oil spills. They spoilt natural habits, and this information was often covered up. The big spills got into the limelight mainly because videos, satellite imagery and other tools made them difficult to stay hidden. The second-order effects also got noticed, and the regulators wrapped some knuckles, even if a bit gently.
The modern equivalent of the oil spill is the data breach. Not a day passes by without some story about a data breach or leakage. It is troubling that the number of records per breach is sometimes in the millions, and we seem to not even blink an eye. Every record contains a name or a number or email at least; sometimes a lot more!