As any small business competing with the big players knows, standing out and going above and beyond gets clients. We frequently achieve success by developing niche functionality for unique use cases. We incorporate these features straight into our main product and enable or disable them per white label instance.
Virtual backgrounds have become a commodity in video conferencing solutions. Users want to conceal their busy office space, or the book shelfs in their home office. They sometimes also want to promote their brand by including the logo in the background. Some clients, however, have more precise requirements.
A university's medical department approached us a while ago. Interviews and case studies with patients are part of their curriculum. These patients relate their experiences, which can include medical issues and heartbreaking stories. Not everyone is willing to speak publicly about their own situation in front of a group of students. As a result, the notion of conducting video interviews instead of live lectures arose.
There are different strategies for concealing a person's identity, as we know from TV shows. You can film the person's back or use a powerful light in the background to show only the silhouette. These strategies, however, require a considerable setup with studio lights. In order to capture the whole story, the questions must also be properly prepared and thought through. The result is a pre-recorded video interview with no interaction between the students and the patient, making a Q&A session impossible.
With this experience, the medical department came up with the idea of video conferencing sessions as an alternative. However, because no solution on the market blurred the patients' faces, they needed to collaborate with a company that could implement such a solution. Additionally, since sharing patient information is highly sensitive, the solution needed to fulfill all data privacy requirements the state university is required to adhere to.
Why not just use text chat or connect without a camera if someone wants to stay anonymous? These are obvious options. However, without video, all gestures are lost, making it more difficult to develop a relationship with that person. Video images enhance one's impressions of other people, creating compassion and understanding. That's one of the reasons video conferencing is so popular.
Even if the faces are blurred, students can still observe motions from the patient, allowing them to get a deeper knowledge of the person and react to the patients' feelings without being able to recognize the person on the street later.
While at first the requirement of the medical department felt extremely niche, we quickly found that this feature had a lot more applications. Just to name a few:
In church, some believers confess their sins. The priest normally remains hidden or barely visible. The presence of the priest is felt, however, being not clearly visible, it makes it easier for confessors to speak freely and to confess.
Many people who struggle with personal issues—such as addictions, debt, marital troubles, or other challenges—feel ashamed of themselves and are reluctant to talk about their problems in public.
Blurring its own face during a video consultation offers a way to speak more openly. This has been proven to be very effective, it breaks the ice.
With the developments in the fields of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, implementing virtual backgrounds in video conferences is no longer rocket science. Various projects publish Open Source libraries to segment pictures and identify body parts and objects. As we see with the big waves ChatGPT is creating right now, Artificial Intelligence is already widely available.
Implementing blurred faces wasn't a difficult task thanks to our in-house knowhow and expertise. Our goal was to provide this specific feature for the medical department but not for the majority of our other customers, as it is most likely useless to them. Luckily, we have built our solution from ground up with such niche features in mind. Most of our modules are configurable, our White Label and Reseller Portal makes it easy to enable and disable features.
Do you have specific video conferencing requirements which cannot be covered by big-brand products? Speak to us, we have many years of experience implementing requirements which at first seem impossible to do.
Contact our team to discuss the details.
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