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.
The emerging health scenario continues to be a concern and is beginning to impact education-related decisions in a big way. Things are not going to be the same for sure! Work from home has also come to mean learning at home. This is a new way ahead.
From a technology standpoint, the following will become even more important
Digital safety and security
Cloud-first service infrastructure that enables people and companies to reconnect with customers in new ways
Realtime3D or Interactive 3D will bring about a rapid transformation in how we experience things
This year, I came across two words that I have previously never used or heard in mainstream conversation. You guessed it – Asymptomatic and Comorbidity. Let’s say the usage went ‘viral’!
A day or two after an official, somewhere in the world, talked about comorbidities, it was the theme in office blocks nearby. The deliberations seemed intense but relaxed. Invariably someone would mention that the young were largely unaffected and the ones who lost lives probably because of comorbidities. The implication of being younger and not having the virus probably got many people a bit relaxed about the impact. This scenario possibly played out in other parts of the world as well.
Not much later the other term appeared on my horizon. Asymptomatic got mentioned in the context of people who tested positive. Now both words have specific meanings in a professional/medical context. But for a lot of people, these are new words with virtually no background before. Further, the usage of these words seemed to have gone up almost in a similar pattern. The Google Trends link is here .
It is suboptimal messaging that people are searching for the meaning of words. Globally, more straightforward phrases in communication would have been more impactful. A lot of people would understand that the virus has no symptoms initially and that preexisting health conditions of any type increase risks for any patient. Most importantly, people would not need to refer to dictionaries.
After all, wash your hands is a lot more actionable and easier to understand.
Should educational institutions be using a video calling and meeting solution or a solution that helps get the task of educating children efficiently? Difficult circumstanced necessitated the adoption of Zoom. It nevertheless opens up a range of security and learning efficacy challenges.
I recently wrote on the safety challenges that Zoom need to address. Large organisations like Apple, Nasa, SpaceX have also told employees to avoid using this particular application. Zoom itself has prioritised working on privacy and safety enhancements over the next 90 days.
Should your organisation wait? The question is, does this or any other video calling solution serve the needs of an educational institution?