Cubic Motion, the computer-vision company behind Siren, has been turning human performances into digital models for about a decade now. It recently partnered with the companies behind “Fortnite” and other popular games to perfect real-time image capture.
Cubic Motion is the computer-vision company behind Siren, an animated character, with hyper-realistic details around her eyes, skin and hair, similar to those seen in big budget video games and 3D-animated movies. Siren is remarkable because while making her debut at last week’s Game Developer’s Conference in San Francisco, she was being puppeted by a real actress in real time.
Cubic Motion executive chairman Andy Wood describes “digital humans” as “something that looks, behaves, and has the mannerisms of a real human, to the point that you can’t distinguish the animation from the real thing.” Wood estimates that “sooner than two years” from now, each person could have access to the technology required to create and puppet their own digital body double in virtual reality, from their own home.
Read the full article: This company makes hyper-realistic ‘digital humans’ — and it could be the key to merging real life with virtual reality (Business Insider)
According to Jaspar Weir, co-founder and president of TaskUs, making a social impact needs to pass the sniff test to determine if the “good” work is truly meaningful or just marketing.
“It’s important that your organization is doing good because it means something to you as an individual and a brand. Most importantly, in my opinion, it should matter to your employees. An authentic passion should drive work that a company does to make a positive social impact.
Read the full article: The Social Impact Sniff Test: Is It Meaningful Or Just Marketing? (Forbes)
TaskUs Inc. — a Santa Monica, California-based company that runs business outsource process centers around the world, including call centers — signed a major lease for new commercial office space in New Braunfels as it continues to hire in the region and needs more space for its growing employee footprint.
TaskUs expects that within a year it will have about 1,000 employees between San Antonio and New Braunfels. In the coming years, it may have upwards of 2,000 workers in the region, the company told the San Antonio Business Journal.
TaskUs is leasing about 41,000 square feet in the 105,000-square-foot Heritage Plaza building that sits on 12.6 acres on the North West side of New Braunfels.
Read the full article: Call center company signs new lease in New Braunfels as expansion continues, to hire thousands (San Antonio Business Journal)
The days when CEOs only had to focus on running their businesses are over. Today’s leaders need to be “woke” as they stand for something greater than their own products or services. Those who don’t must be prepared to suffer the wrath of the hashtag. Our business climate is calling for companies to proactively take on issues important to their key stakeholders – regardless of how that may impact their bottom line in the short term.
The single biggest mistake a business can make is not knowing its core values. The core values are the set of principles, morals and policies on which the company is based. These values drive how the business operates and treats people. People want to invest in and buy from companies and leaders they trust and respect. Conversely, many consumers will go out of their way to avoid doing business with companies tainted by negative news about how they treat employees, women, customer complaints, environmental issues and illegal practices.
Here are five common mistakes that tarnish a brand:
- Delayed Action. One of the outcomes we see as a result of #MeToo, #TimesUp and even #deleteFacebook movements is that big businesses are now acting fast to correct issues. Executives are fired first and investigated later. There is no time to hide behind legal delays and “no comment” statements. The public is playing judge, jury and executioner, and companies with core values can better distance themselves from controversies or even take an active role in championing movements they support.
- Lack of Transparency. Now more than ever, leadership is held accountable for its actions, so it’s crucial that there is transparency from the top down. One of our CEO clients holds regular all-employee town hall meetings where he answers ANY question posed, even about his own compensation. Core values help because well-managed companies do not fear scrutiny.
- Not Planning Ahead. When a crisis hits, you need to act fast – but this can only be done when you are prepared. Just look at the “unfriendly skies” and the crises airlines have faced with passengers being forcibly removed from planes and dogs dying. In contrast, look at a company that is committed to its core values and communicates them. You may be surprised to find Delta Airlines on Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list, especially since no other airline has made the cut in over a decade. Delta is also found on Forbes‘ Best Workplaces list and has a 4.3-star rating on Glassdoor. Delta’s mission statement is to “form a force for positive local and global change, dedicated to bettering standards of living and the environment where we and our customers live and work.” Its value is actualized, its employees are happy, and thus they provide a better customer experience.
- Lack of Alignment. Each company needs to come to a point where all the stakeholders agree on core values. This will direct operations, budget allocations and prioritization of time and resources. Think of Nike’s “Just Do It” slogan that empowers everyone to accomplish more and overcome obstacles to succeed. This one core value has impacted all business decisions for the company for the last three decades. The cohesion in mission and messaging are central to its success.
- No Focus. Businesses can’t address every issue in the world, but they can support causes and issues that directly impact their customers, employees and communities. A perfect example of how focus can drive initiatives that further build the brand can be seen in CVS’s decision to stop selling cigarettes. Another example can be seen in Dick’s Sporting Goods’ proactive decision to raise the age for firearm purchase following the shootings in Parkland, Fla. Both of these brands are authentic to their core values of health and family, while seeking the social good above bottom line.
At OWC, we work with companies to help identify and amplify their core values. It supports our own mission to build and sustain business reputations. Let us know your business core values @OWCPR.
TaskUs, a Los Angeles company that specializes in providing a plethora of business services to digital brands such as Tinder, Wish, Hootsuite, Hotel Tonight and Sparefoot, is expanding its San Antonio-region presence with as many as 1,000 new positions in New Braunfels.
Chief Operations Officer Joe Buggy on Tuesday said training already was under way for the first 50 employees at the 41,000-square foot Heritage Plaza location.
He said the site was expected to be online by the end of April.
Read the full article: TaskUs to bring as many as 1,000 jobs to New Braunfels (San Antonio Express-News)
Cubic Motion’s computer vision technology was on display today at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. The technology tracks more than 200 facial features at over 90 frames per second. It automatically maps this data to high-quality digital characters in real-time. Cubic Motion’s motion-capture technology allows a live actor to perform within the entertainment and game world in real-time. The technology transforms the production process, allowing directors and producers to see the result instantly and perform continuous retakes, saving time and money when developing games, film, TV and virtual assistants.
“We are offering the keys to unlock a virtual world, enabling content producers and game developers to more easily interact with our technology and streamline the creation process for performance driven real-time digital humans,” said Andy Wood, Chairman of Cubic Motion, in a statement. “By 2020, this will no doubt transform content production across the board by making this technology universally available. By 2024, we may all be interacting with digital humans in some way or other, whether its via headsets, films, TV, games, live performances and broadcasts, or by directing digital assistants in our homes in real-time.”
Read the full article: Epic Games shows off amazing real-time digital human with Siren demo (VentureBeat)
Delaware could be one of the first states to adopt mobile driver’s licenses. The Delaware Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that the state’s Division of Motor Vehicles has launched a six-month pilot of the digital license. The pilot includes around 200 state employees and stakeholders.
The state is running it alongside IDEMIA, the company that produces Delaware’s physical licenses and identification cards.
Read the full article: Delaware to test mobile driver’s licenses in pilot program (The Washington Post)
In the case of an arena, a sports fan might sign up for a loyalty program with a team and attach their image and a credit card to the account. They could then park without paying an attendant, walk in without having a ticket scanned and pay for merchandise and concessions without ever taking out their wallet.
“The days of having 40,000 to 60,000 people in the stadium and not knowing who they are, I think those days are going to disappear,” said Charles Carroll, a senior vice president at IDEMIA, which manages the Transportation Security Administration’s PreCheck program. IDEMIA has partnered with three sports venues on security, including Barclays Center in Brooklyn, to offer expedited lines to enter.
Read the full article: Madison Square Garden Has Used Face-Scanning Technology on Customers (The New York Times)
Wes Robinson, a 20-year veteran of high-tech public relations, has been named managing director of Olmstead Williams Communications (OWC), a growing reputation management and PR agency working with technology companies that span healthcare, finance, telecom and ID & Security. Robinson will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the company, including employee development and client relations.
“Wes brings exceptional client and management expertise to our growing agency,” said OWC founder Tracy Williams. “Wes has the leadership skills to ensure great client outcomes as we implement new technologies for enhanced reporting, social engagement and the impact AI and big data is having on business.”
Read the full announcement: Leading LA Public Relations Agency Olmstead Williams Communications Names New Managing Director
Treating employees and customers to the highest standards is key to a company’s success. At TaskUs, this is foundational, according to Jaspar Weir, co-founder and president of TaskUs. He’s taken inspiration from four successful companies to showcase important and effective ways to keep employees, and consequently, customers happy.
“At TaskUs, we work hard to provide work-life balance through benefits that mean something such as flexible work hours, unlimited PTO, work-from-home Fridays and committees that plan activities and events that align with employee interests,” writes Jaspar Weir, co-founder and president of TaskUs. “Make sure that, as hard as your employees work, they can still find time to enjoy other parts of their lives.”
Read the full article: It Starts With The Employee: Four Tips For Building Your Business (link to article)