Soul Machines: Humanizing AI interactions with life-like avatars
minutes or under for employee onboarding compared to more than one day previously
return on Okta Workflow automation cost through gains achieved by freedom from mundane tasks
- Driving AI's new user interface with global team of innovators
- An identity platform that's about empowerment, not box ticking
- Enabling secure global collaboration with confidential IP assets
- Freeing up creative team from mundane tasks to drive AI innovation
- Unlimited potential for innovation with versatile identity management
Soul Machines is an AI startup putting a friendly face on human-machine interactions. As it planned to take its technology to market, it needed to expand its circle of Auckland engineers and researchers into a global network of business strategists, digital artists, marketers, salespeople, scientists and more. That required a world-class identity management solution to protect its groundbreaking intellectual property while enabling frictionless creative global collaboration.
In seeking a workforce identity solution, Soul Machines wanted more than a platform that "ticked the security and compliance boxes." It sought holistic workforce identity rooted in empowering people through free-flowing yet secure inspiration exchange. After reviewing possible solutions, Soul Machines found that Okta Identity Cloud shared this vision of identity empowerment.
From a 60-person outfit of mainly R&D engineers, Soul Machines deployed Okta workforce identity solutions to securely and rapidly onboard a global staff spanning North America and Europe. A combination of HR as a source and Okta Workflows enabled Soul Machines to overcome the twin challenges of seamless access controls and confidential IP asset sharing in close global collaboration.
From requiring a day or more to onboard a staffer, it now takes less than 40 minutes to set up a worker with all permissions; deprovisioning is even simpler, with access denied in a few clicks. The most profound enterprise success has been a cycle of snowballing advantages that empower creative leaders to drive innovation, instead of getting bogged down by mundane tasks. Soul Machines estimates this has yielded a 3x return on the costs of Okta Workflows automation.
The Soul Machines journey with Okta Customer Identity Cloud is only beginning. It plans to further free up creative processes by moving to other Okta feature sets. More broadly, Soul Machines envisions a conceptual shift beyond identity management to viewing Okta as "as a request mechanism for most of our internal resources."
Okta offered seamless app integration, confidential information exchange and automated access control. These enable our global team to work in a more proactive, collaborative manner. With Okta Customer Identity Cloud, we can also look forward to more options and flexibility.
Shane Blackett, VP of Software & Technology, Soul Machines
Transforming AI in a secure infrastructure
Millions of movie lovers around the world have encountered the work of Mark Sagar, whose computer animations on Hollywood blockbusters such as Avatar and King Kong have won Oscars.
Mark, along with serial tech entrepreneur and CEO Greg Cross, are co-founders of global AI startup Soul Machines, which enables the creation of hyper-realistic digital people who can interact naturally, intelligently, and emotively.
Imagine a friendly digital helper popping up on your tablet to answer questions on financial planning. Or a celebrity digital twin chef who not only teaches great lasagna technique, but reads your facial expressions to make sure you're following. This is the "new AI user interface" that Soul Machine is enabling for some of the world's trusted brands.
When Soul Machines launched in 2016, it began developing its HumanOS and Digital Brain technologies (based on a proprietary functional brain model) at New Zealand's Auckland Biotechnology Institute, with on-premise servers and security protocols. Things changed dramatically as the startup prepared to go to market, deploying its digital people in everything from virtual sales assistants to brand ambassadors.
From a 60-person outfit of mainly R&D engineers, Soul Machines needed to recruit dozens of staff, including business strategists, marketers, digital artists, salespeople, and scientists, from North America to Europe. This required migration from its on-prem environment to a cloud architecture that would enable seamless and scalable cooperation among a fast-growing team.
Intellectual property (IP) is important for Soul Machines. And a challenge emerged in securely onboarding its expanding global talent pool, then allowing staff to share critical assets with maximum safety and minimal friction. Critical business applications for communication, cloud resource provisioning, and sales needed to be securely integrated. Soul Machines needed more precise control over access to cascading levels of sensitive information, based on the individual's role within the organisation.
Soul Machines decided it needed a centralised identity management solution to resolve these challenges. And it was looking for more than a platform that "ticked the security and compliance boxes." Instead, it sought holistic workforce identity rooted in empowering people through free-flowing yet secure inspiration exchange. After reviewing potential solutions, Soul Machines found that Okta shared this vision of identity empowerment. Together, the two solutions provided Soul Machines with a partnership that enabled faster growth and allowed employees to focus on what they do best.
"Okta offered seamless app integration, confidential information exchange and automated access control," said Shane Blackett, VP of Software & Technology. "These enable our global team to work in a more proactive, collaborative manner. With Okta Customer Identity Cloud, we can also look forward to more options and flexibility."
Unleashing dynamic cycles of productivity growth with Okta automation
According to Soul Machines, empowerment comes through positive knock-on effects achieved with Okta automation. When the CTO of Soul Machines asked for a cost-benefit analysis of purchasing HR as a source, for example, the Okta team was able to lay out an argument of snowballing advantages.
With HR as a source, Soul Machines would be able to slash onboarding to under 40 minutes, offsetting the product cost in labor time saved alone. The benefit of freeing HR to work on creative tasks would in turn increase overall business value.
"Removing mundane chores from everyone's plate with HR as a source means they can use that time for driving innovation. That translates into concrete gains for any organisation," said Morten.
In addition to HR as a source, Soul Machines has found Workflows to be a valuable automation tool for access management. Previously, Soul Machines relied on an email trail to pinpoint who requested access to a file, who was the designated approver, when the decision was executed, and how much access was granted.
Unlimited opportunities for creative empowerment with Okta's versatile menu of solutions
Soul Machines plans to further free up creative processes by adopting other Okta feature sets. This is expected not only to streamline operations, but also boost security scoring for compliance and client trust. That's because passwords are increasingly recognised as one of the least safe methods of authentication. It will be a significant step toward adoption of an overall Zero Trust identity management strategy.
More broadly, Soul Machines envisions a conceptual shift beyond identity management to viewing Okta as "a request mechanism for most of our internal resources."
About Soul Machines
Soul Machines breathes life into the metaverse. It is a leading avatar animation platform that combines advancements in generative AI with our industry-defining Autonomous Animation AI to help brands design human-like experiences for online audiences. Its patented technologies, HumanOS and Digital Brain, redefine human-machine interactions through hyper-realistic digital characters that are both entertaining and practical for countless use cases. Founded in 2016 by serial tech entrepreneur Greg Cross and Academy Award winner Mark Sagar, Soul Machines' customers and partners include major global brands.