Note: This article was first published on 20th April 2020 and updated with more options.
With the majority of Singapore under a 28-day circuit breaker period, many people are using video conferencing apps to hold their meetings and keep in touch with loved ones. We've compiled a list of five Zoom alternatives, so do check it out.
To make video conferencing/calls more interesting, some service providers have released updates to their apps to allow consumers to change their background. In addition, some brands have also shared their own wallpapers for consumers to make their video conferencing more fun!
The official Star Wars website has uploaded a series of wallpapers which lets you pretend that you're taking a video call from the Emperor's throne on Exegol or the hanger bay of the Rebel Alliance.
There is a wide selection of backgrounds ranging from Worrt, Wampa, Coruscant, Death Star ruins to Imperial Star Destroyer Bridge. So regardless of whether you belong to the Light or Dark side of the Force, there will be a wallpaper for you!
Get them here: Star Wars
DC Comics fans will love this collection of backgrounds from the DC Universe which include the gates of Arkham Asylum, jungles of Gorilla City, the iconic globe of the Daily Planet and the Batcave!
We picked the Batcave and Fortress of Solitude as they clearly represent our situation at the moment - working from home at our desks/study room, and not having seen anyone outside of the household for a while.
Get them here: Check out this link for more wallpapers from the DC Universe!
Auto-maker Audi has released some #ZoomBackgrounds so that car lovers can enjoy the thrill of the road while working from home. Some backgrounds show the interiors while one shows the company's signature quad-ring logo.
Get them here: Audi says it will be updating its Dropbox folder from time to time, so do check it out regularly for new additions!
It could be another month or two before we can travel again. In the meantime, you can use these amazing virtual backgrounds from Marriott International which has over 20 options including beaches, pools and scenic outdoor views.
Our favourites are the virtual backgrounds of W Maldives and The St. Regis Maldives Vommuli Resort. The sunny beach vibes and crystal waters of Maldives are the perfect antidotes for our cabin fever!
Get them here: Marriott International
Sentosa has created special virtual backgrounds which include videos and photos for your use in video calls. Our personal favourites are the Just Chilling (At Rumours Beach Club) and Poolside Treats (At Rumours Beach Club) as they remind us of the sunny beach days before the Covid-19 outbreak. The cheeky staff of Rumours Beach Club serving ice cocktail and small bites certainly brightens our day!
Get them here: You can check out other wallpapers at this link. Do remember to check the "mirror" option in your video conferencing app as the backgrounds are flipped.
Local online publication MotherShip has uploaded some wacky backgrounds for you to use. Unlike Sentosa's assets, you don't need to check the "mirror my video" option which means you can use the wallpapers as they are.
Our favourites are the background with pillows (first image above) and the "rare creature in Singapore spotted emerging from room after 16 hours". With many of us working from home, we reckon there are some days when we oversleep and have to 'rush' for a work meeting. As for the other wallpaper, it's self-explanatory as many of us are suffering from cabin fever.
Get them here: Check out MotherShip's Facebook album for more options and to download them.
Microsoft recently rolled out an update to its Teams app which allows users to replace their backgrounds in meetings. It builds upon the background blur feature which uses AI to blur the environment behind you.
For now, you have to select from its list of custom backgrounds. Microsoft says it will include the option to upload your custom images in the future.
According to Microsoft, Teams saw a new daily record of 2.7 billion meeting minutes in one day, a 200% increase from 900 million on 16 March. The number of weekly Teams mobile users also grew more than 300% from early February to 31 March.
Get them here: Click this link to find out more about changing your background for a Teams meeting.