Ready or Not, Here AR Comes!

Just when you thought the virtual reality industry was really starting to heat up, one of the biggest players in the game went ahead and announced their bold strategy that leads to full-on AUGMENTED reality (AR). Yes, Facebook has firmly planted their AR flag in the ground. Of course, it’s going to take us years to get to the AR glasses that Zuckerberg envisions, but Facebook isn’t wasting any time in preparing us for this augmented apocalypse. Forget glasses and head mounted displays (for now), for Facebook this all starts with the one device most of the world is already addicted to…your smartphone.

For the first step in this AR journey, Facebook is going to turn the camera into the first mainstream augmented reality platform. This will include basic Snapchat-style filters, but the best part is that this will be completely open source and the Beta has already begun.  To kick things up a notch, Facebook will then turn to a little Artificial Intelligence (AI) magic called SLAM, or Simultaneous Localization and Mapping. SLAM will allow for precise location mapping features that will basically help to map unknown environments while at the same time keeping track of your device in that environment. Think Pokémon Go-style of AR but mix in special 3D effects and object recognition technologies, and the result is something that should start to excite brands, agencies, and retailers.

This more enhanced version of AR will create a new way to interact with objects, connect with friends, and engage with brands. Blippar seemed to be ahead of the curve with their AR based app, but with low engagement rates early on, shifting strategies, and AR technology still being in the very early stages, they have struggled to find their footing. It’s going to take a Facebook or an Apple type of player to really get the AR revolution started. Facebook has made a pretty strong first move towards AR. Will Apple be next? Tim Cook isn’t shy about expressing his love of AR technology and the next iPhone is rumored to have advanced AR capabilities. Stay tuned.

While we wait to see how the AR landscape will eventually play out over the next few years, Yalo will explore how virtual reality is continuing to gain momentum in 2017 and becoming a more attractive space for brands to tell their stories. Our Virtual Events offering might be just what your brand needs to increase engagement and brand awareness – check it out here. Questions? We can answer those too.