Zoom Gets Avatar Feature for Virtual Meetings: Here’s How to Use It

Zoom has launched a new Avatar feature that allows users to replace their appearance at virtual meetings and webinars with virtual characters. The latest feature will allow you to create a cartoon version of yourself on a video calling platform. The character will mimic the user’s head movements and facial mimicry to engage meeting participants. The avatar feature, incorporated in the Zoom 5.10.0 update, will initially offer animal avatars. This feature is quite similar to Snapchat filters and Apple’s Memoji feature. Zoom’s main rival in space, Microsoft Teams also launched a 3D virtual avatar last year.

Zoom announced the addition of a new Avatar feature via its support page. With Avatar, Zoom users can ensure their presence in meetings without making an appearance. A 3D virtual avatar that mimics your head movements and gestures will replace your appearance during a virtual meeting or webinar. Avatars are currently limited to animals like cats and dogs, but Zoom is looking to add more options in the future. In particular, users will need to have Zoom client version 5.10.0 or higher on an iOS, Windows or Mac machine to access the new Avatar feature. In addition, the Web camera needs to be turned on to use this function. Video needs to be enabled during Zoom calls as well.

How to enable the Avatar feature on Zoom

  1. Start or join a meeting or webinar.

  2. Select the arrow facing up (^) from the meeting toolbar to open video options.

  3. Tap Select Virtual Background or Select Video Filters options.

  4. Navigate to the Avatar tab and select an avatar.

You can remove an avatar and select a new avatar from Avatar tab. Also, users can choose Turn it off avatars from their own viewing video tiles in meetings. Additionally, Zoom has also confirmed that it does not use facial recognition and does not store facial data on the server either. Virtual backgrounds can be used in conjunction with Avatar, but video filters are not supported with the new feature.

Last year, Microsoft Teams added avatars and a 3D virtual environment to the platform as part of the company’s efforts toward entering the metaverse. With this feature, participants in a meeting can show themselves on video or use static photos or bubbles with initials. Avatars have options for customization and can use artificial intelligence (AI) to reflect movement.

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Nithya P Nair is a journalist with more than five years of experience in digital journalism. He specializes in business and the rhythm of technology. A food lover, Nithya loves to explore new places (read cuisine) and sneak into Malayalam film dialogues to spark conversations. Again

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