Published on April 30th, 2020 | by Emergent Enterprise0
Move Over, Zoom. This Magic Interface is the Future of Videoconferencing
Although Zoom has provided a needed platform for these stay-at-home times, it still lacks in many ways especially in the user experience. Mark Wilson shares an interesting alternative at Fast Company called the Square that acts as a sort of “video window” with others who are connected. The Square provides 3D depth and more context so you feel more like you are chatting with a real person and not just a Facetime or Skype call. Our brains do a lot of work and observation when we have a physical interaction with another human being and this window could allow for more of that to happen by showing body language and other cues more clearly. Are you ready to move a step beyond Zoom?
Image: courtesy Argodesign
Tens of millions of people are working from home. Zoom use has exploded as we’ve turned to video chats—even though they’re exhausting. And whenever we do go back to our offices, we probably won’t all go back. To enable social distancing, more people will work in shifts, and remotely.
So, do we need to settle for the Zoom-from-the-couch home office we have today? Not necessarily! The design firm Argodesign has created a concept called the Square. It’s an artificial window, created from an LCD screen that goes on the wall next to your desk. When you raise the shade, you can see a coworker, or two, working right there next to you. You can strike up a conversation, or ignore them. You can gossip, or hold a productive meeting. Just like a real office.
“We focused on not just the availability of telecommuting but the feel of it,” says Mark Rolston, founder and chief creative officer of Argodesign.
The Square is just an idea, rather than a real product, but it’s grounded in established technology. The frame hides four small cameras, which combine their images to create a 3D version of you rather than a flat Zoom frame. That allows for far more immersion than your standard screen. As you look at the screen, it tracks your gaze, shifting its perspective through the parallax effect.
What that all adds up to is a true sensation of presence. The Square presents people in 1:1 size, with a scene that has true depth. Done correctly, it would actually feel like a window, complete with eye contact.
“This isn’t just for a conversation, this is a desk mate,” says Rolston.