Social Media giants set to accelerate augmented reality

The Spark

8th June 2017

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The surprise tech smash of 2016 was Niantic’s location based augmented reality (AR) app Pokémon Go, but this year it could get even bigger thanks to Apple’s newest innovation. The iPhone maker unveiled a tool called ARKit for AR developers at its worldwide developer conference this week, and its CEO thinks the technology has massively untapped potential. Indeed, Apple chief Tim Cook believes that AR will be at least as big as the iPhone: “It’s for everyone. I think AR is that big, it’s huge.” ARKit could spur sizeable growth in the development of mobile AR content and apps.

And that’s good news for social channels. Facebook and Snap Inc. in particular are predicted to fuel market growth, which is set to increase more than 30 per cent compared to last year. Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed in this year’s F8 conference that Facebook is looking to accelerate the use of AR, mainly through its camera effects platform and through Stories.

Through its ‘Lenses’ feature, Snap Inc. is also revolutionising the way social platforms utilise AR. This year it boosted its AR camera capabilities by rolling out ‘world lenses’, live filters that allow users to place 3D objects that they can ‘walk around’.

Beyond the increase in the use of AR in social channels, visual discovery app Blippar has also predicted a rise in the use of ARDP, augmented reality digital placement. The startup has created an immersive banner ad that allows users to experience 360 degree environments.

With the ability to create a more immersive and aesthetically pleasing user experience across social channels, we can only assume that the AR trend will continue to grow even further. Instagram’s recent facial recognition lens addition to its Stories camera is clear evidence of this. The question is, how long will it take before other social channels copy that feature?


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