December was a huge month in the augmented reality world, as two social media giants, Facebook and Snapchat, opened their platforms up to the masses. Facebook came out of the gates first by announcing that its AR development platform, AR Studio, is now open to all third-party developers. AR Studio enables designers and developers to build interactive effects and objects, including Face Filters that respond to a user’s facial expression and 3D animations that users can interact with in the environment around them.
With Facebook’s 2 billion users, the wealth of data that comes with this user base, and their connection to Instagram, it will be intriguing to see where Facebook takes AR Studio in the coming months. Couple that with the fact that Facebook is employing a strategy that is vastly different than Snapchat’s: crowdsource design and development from as many companies and creators as possible by giving them all the tools they need.
A behind the scenes screenshot of the Winnipeg Jets AR Face Filter being built in AR Studio. The Face Filter was designed and developed by Geofilter Studio's parent company, EveryStudio.
Snapchat has been renowned for being anti-third-party development, keeping their most coveted development projects in-house. Facebook’s recent move, however, seems to have forced Snapchat’s hand. On December 14, Snapchat announced a response to Facebook’s AR Studio by revealing the Lens Studio AR Development Tool. Lens Studio enables third parties to create World Lenses, which are 3D digital objects that users can superimpose onto their surroundings using the Snapchat camera. Once a developer’s World Lens is approved by Snapchat, the creator receives a sharable Snap Code that gives users access to the interactive effect for up to 24 hours. Snapchat has also partnered with seven external agencies to create Lenses for brands, a process they had reserved strictly for themselves until the announcement.
Apple and Google have been growing their AR capabilities for some time as well. Apple released its ARKit platform and Google released ARCore for Android devices, both of which were announced earlier this year. Similar to Facebook and Snapchat’s platforms, ARKit and ARCore both enable developers to create interactive AR content that can then be utilized on Apple or Android devices. It’s clear that all of the big players are going all in on augmented reality for consumers now that mobile devices can handle these types of graphics without overheating!
Geofilter Studio’s parent company, EveryStudio, was one of the participants in the closed beta for Facebook’s AR Studio. During this time, EveryStudio developers have become proficient in the powerful AR Studio platform and as of last week, have begun experimenting with Lens Studio. After experiencing both platforms, EveryStudio’s developers were impressed at the vast capabilities of AR Studio as well is Lens Studio’s refined user interface.
EveryStudio quickly moved into the commercialization of AR Studio, creating AR Face Filters for North American professional sports franchises. These Face Filters are the first of their kind in the pro sports space, and represent a new type of digital fan engagement. With all these exciting new developments, more and more businesses will be have opportunities to integrate consumer-facing AR into their marketing strategy. If you would like to learn more about our suite of AR creative capabilities and how they could benefit your company, organization, institution or sports team, please don’t hesitate to reach out!