Facebook is wooing Indian developers and marketers to build augmented reality experiences through its AR Studio platform as it looks to score an early lead among tech giants in the nascent sector.
A key incentive for these developers is access to an audience of 1.5 billion users who will be able to interact with these experiences across Facebook’s family of apps.
“India is one of the fastest growing regions in terms of consumers using augmented reality effects and developers building these effects. We are seeing a vibrant community who is building on top of AR Studio as well as a huge community who is consuming these effects” said Satyajeet Singh, Head of Platform Partnerships, Facebook India and South Asia.
Singh said they have seen a variety of effects being built from individual developers, creative agencies and movie studios since the platform launch last year. The social networking giant is also launching a Windows version of AR Studio later this year, based on requests from creators in India and other emerging markets.
“One of the key areas where we are focusing right now is making sure that AR Studio is capable and easy enough for people from different walks of life, especially those who don’t have knowledge of programming, to build these experiences” Singh said.
“This is probably one of the first times that we feel India is at par with the rest of the world in terms of technology. Hence, we work closely with a few partners to make sure they have the right information and support from us. At the same time, we are also receiving feedback to build new features and improve existing capabilities for AR Studio” Singh added.
New AR Studio version every 2 weeks
Facebook releases a new version of its AR platform every two weeks with new or improved capabilities. Some of the recent additions include hand tracking, improved face tracking and body tracking (in closed beta). It also added target tracking capabilities that can let creators use an image or Poster as a target and link a AR effect with it.
The company also plans to open up the platform to “more surfaces for people to experience these effects”, Singh said.
He added that entertainment firms, movie studios and creative agencies have been among the earliest adopters of the platform.
For instance, digital marketing agency AliveNow has built AR effects for Future Group’s lifestyle and fashion retail outlet Central to enable faster checkouts for shoppers and for global brands like Mastercard.
“Until now, all marketing and advertising activations has typically been click, tap, swipe, scroll up and down. Augmented reality is the first time wherein you are getting the face and the hand involved, which enables us to build a more engaging experience” said Adhvith Dhuddu, Founder & CEO, AliveNow. The firm also has a new India-specific filter depicting the mythological character Ravana in the pipeline, likely to launch in time for Diwali festival.
Movie production company Fox Star Studios also recently partnered with a fan management studio SuperFan.ai to promote their movie ‘Sanju’ by converting a poster to an AR effect, where people could project themselves as the main character with the same name.
“Facebook’s AR platform opens up an avenue for fans to experience the film’s journey really up close and personal and deepens our relationship with our audiences in a meaningful manner” said Shikha Kapur, CMO, Fox Star Studios.
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