When Apple launched FaceTime for the first time, it wasn’t exactly a new technology. A lot of people got very excited, but services like Skype already offered “Facetime” when you Skyped over the Internet. What Apple did was to bring the feature natively into the iPhone. It was a big step for conference calls, no doubt, but everyone is waiting for the next step now. What could possibly make conference calls more personal? Well, the next big thing seems to artificial presence.
A developer over at NTT lab has invented a way to make group conference calls a whole lot more personal. It’s called MM-Space and will allow people to feel directly spoken to with the help of artificial presence. It’s an artificial presence system that, once again, we have seen in some science fiction movies. A plate of glass has a face projected upon it which is rotated in the direction of the person who’s being talked to. It’s a quirky solution, no doubt, but research has shown that enabling artificial presence has significantly enhanced the feeling of actually being talked to.
The projected sheet of glass adjusts its angle and pivoting point in order to face the person you’re talking to. The artificial presence system also removes the background from the “caller” in order to make the experience as seamless as possible. When placed in a conference room, the people sitting around the table will be able to see and hear the person from the chair the system is positioned at as if the person was actually there in physical form.
The system also makes it easier for people to know who the person that is “calling in” is talking to as the glass sheet will face the person being talked to. The only thing the caller has to do is to turn his or her head and the artificial presence glass sheet will turn into the right direction. Even nodding will make the projected glass sheet nod. If it will revolutionize the way we “FaceTime” is still uncertain. But it sure gives conference calls a whole different approach and feel.