Did you fall in love online today?
Maybe your video conferencing equipment is the problem.
One-third of Americans who have used online dating services have never actually gone on a date with their online flame.
And when 15 percent of American adults, approximately 240 million of them, say they have used an online dating service, that’s a lot of people left at home with a can of Chef Lonely Heart’s Soup for One.
Maybe they wouldn’t have this problem if they had the right video conferencing equipment.
With video dating, you can customize every aspect of your presentation. Not your hair, accessories, or lipstick shade, but the way you appear in that little chat window you’ll be talking through all evening.
No one wants to reveal too much of themselves on a first date, so unless you want your face flanked by bare walls or a static curtain pattern, you’ll want to take some time to cut your profile down to want you’re really putting on display–you.
There are several ways to control how much of your surroundings are captured in a video chat.
There’s the 3D variety, such as Personify, that let you run your video chat through a scanner–either low-end Kinect, or high-end RealSense–and cut out your image from the background so that nothing goes online but your actual self.
Or, you can use an app like the one in development at Duke University that lets you select how much of your surroundings are shown on screen. Here you simply draw a rectangle with your finger around your smartphone screen and shrink your camera’s range to fit only what’s needed into the display, removing any unexpected or potentially embarrassing insights into your home environment.
And once you’ve focused all that camera power on your delightful visage, you can even customize the lighting of your computer or smartphone–your computer, not the whole room–with hardware such as Chatlight or ViewMe.
When did you last get to change the lighting in a restaurant?
Speed Dating via Video Conference
Now that you’ve put your best face forward, you can take advantage of the benefits of remote dating.
Video dating eliminates the time and financial cost of travelling to a rendezvous that may turn out to have as much chemistry as a sixth grade science class.
And it’s much safer.
If you use a service with a private, browser-based video call function, like Video Flirt or Instamour, you can talk to someone without ever exchanging phone numbers, chat face-to-face without ever exchanging Skype handles, and visit some of their favorite places without ever needing to get a ride from them.
And, as you’re speaking with the person face-to-face you avoid the trap of fake profile photos, and severely reduce your chances of getting catfished.
Such services have even re-introduced the 90’s fad of speed dating, whereby you can have a quick meet-and-greet with up to 100 dates in an hour. All you need do is enter your essentials and define your ideal match, as you would with any matchmaking service, and then tumble through an assortment of potential suitors.
If online speed dating seems intimidating, you could always use virtual reality video conferencing to take the beauty-is-more-than-skin-deep approach.
Here you could meet with your perfectly algorithmic potential partner on a service such as Altspace VR and chat in real time, with facial anonymity.
You have full control over how your cartoon avatar appears, and can customize the location to your heart’s desire. You get to create a little intellectual getting-to-know-you time before you progress to a face-to-face reveal.
It’s a great alternative for people with social anxieties or even just bad pre-date nerves to get to know someone before a live face-to-face chat.
If you’re still nervous about a one-on-one encounter, you can relax the setting further with video conferencing technology that powers office huddle rooms to take a trusted friend, or couple, along with you on a remote double-date. The cameras and audio are designed to give a wide field of vision so that you could relax into your space, rather than stand cheek by jowl like children pressed up against a candy store window.
Who knows, this approach could lead you to become one of the five percent of married Americans who met their significant other online.
Sometimes, even statistics can be romantic.