Facebook taking augmented reality (AR) to the mass market.

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At this years Facebook F8 conference in San Jose, California Zuckerberg (2017) announced the launch of a suite of new AR features and tools for the Facebook camera that are collectively branded the Camera Effects Platform. And this is good news if you’ve ever wanted turn your face into an animated character or fill your home with virtual Skittles or maybe play virtual chess on your dining table.

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Facebook actually released the first Camera Effects April 2017 for iOS and Android which include several branded effects, masks and interactive filters. Some of these new features are available today and to the average consumer this will appear at first very similar to SnapChat’s own live filters. The difference is not only the greater user base with over 1.23 billion daily active users (DAUs) on Facebook but also the room scanning technology and most importantly Facebook’s commitment to create a medium for independent developers and artists

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3D artists, developers and organisations who are members of the Facebook Developers program can apply today for a beta version of the AR Studio. This toolset will enable individuals and organisations to create exciting new AR experiences that take advantage of the Camera Effects Platform. The demonstrations highlight a sophisticated framework for constructing AR experiences including 3D object placement, animations and user interaction. There’s no details yet of how to construct the more advanced technologies announced during the F8 Keynote such as Simultaneous localisation and mapping (SLAM) or object recognition. But it’s safe to assume that these technologies will be coming to the AR Studio toolset. It’s also not yet entirely clear how these experiences will reach the consumer audience. Presumably it will follow prior distribution concepts utilised by Facebook’s other platforms such as Pages and Apps. These platforms typically saw new content discovered via the News Feed either by direct advertisement or peer to peer sharing and required the user to opt-in.

One way or another consumers will soon find new filters alongside the launch filters available today. And this future state, soon to be reality, will allow artists to take AR experiences that explore the boundaries of AR technology to the mass market faster than ever before.

Anton Wintergerst, Mobile Developer @ Isobar Melbourne

Cannes in 48 Hours: Through a Designer’s Eyes

Jack Gipp, Designer @ Isobar Global, takes us through his Cannes Lions experience.

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Cannes Lions is undoubtedly one of the biggest creative festivals in the world, so naturally I was super-excited to have the opportunity to attend this year.

After pulling into Gare de Cannes on a sunny Tuesday afternoon, I headed straight for the heart of the festival. Bustling with activity, the Croisette was filled with creativity and inspiration at every turn. From an immersive and interactive Pinterest experience that matched real-world items to products for purchase, to Snapchat’s bright yellow Ferris wheel; big technology platforms felt very present within minutes of arriving.

My first full day was spent soaking up the talks in the Dentsu Aegis Network Beach House, and by the end of the day, the key trend that was emerging from this year’s festival became very clear to me: Artificial Intelligence.

After attending a few of the DAN-hosted panels in the beach house, and watching back Isobar’s main stage presentation, a similar question seemed to pop up: how will AI impact creativity? Jean Lin, Isobar’s Global CEO, said that “the power of being human lies in empathy”, further adding that “we shouldn’t be threatened by AI and technology” and that we should “embrace” them. It’s something I agree with, AI will likely take the repetitive and mundane tasks off our hands, freeing up more time for us to be truly creative.

As a designer, this really excites me. We all want the opportunity to focus our energy into the bigger and more exciting pieces of work, but as we’ve all experienced, the necessary, yet often dull day-to-day tasks sometimes get in the way of that. With AI as an ally, we’ll be able to give our full attention to the work that we really want to be creating.

A stand-out experience I had over the three days was the opportunity to attend a Spotify for Brands meeting, held at Spotify’s tech-filled Cannes Lions HQ and set up by Sven Huberts, Isobar’s Director of Strategic Growth for EMEA. People don’t often talk about this side of Cannes — away from the glamour of the Palais — the technology partner’s venue’s is where the real business happens.

The Spotify team spoke about how their platform is a great place for brands to influence and target potential consumers — and by matching creativity to context, businesses and brands can catch users at key moments of their listening activity. For example, you’re in the gym, working out to your ‘Motivation Mix’ and a sports brand serves you an ad, something that, based on your listening behaviour, you are actually interested in. It was really interesting to see how Spotify are using their data and insights to deliver more tailored and personal experiences based on the moods and behaviour of their users.

I spent my last full-day in Cannes filming content for Isobar’s global social channels. My team and I spent the morning talking to some of Isobar’s key leadership about their views on this year’s key trends, as well as the festival as a whole. When asked whether craft is still relevant with the industry heavily focused on technology, Kai Exos, Chief Creative Officer at Isobar Canada said that “it is absolutely still relevant.”, further explaining that Isobar Canada stay 70% creative in their total make-up, allowing them to have “much more comprehensive solutions that can scale globally for brands to be truly transformative.”.

As a young creative, Cannes provided me with an amazing opportunity to meet and connect with the movers and shakers of our industry, with years of experience under their belt, and after chatting about all of the different projects coming out of Isobar across the world, it became really clear to me how culture and diversity can really impact and benefit creativity.

The energy and fast-paced feeling of the festival is really motivating and inspiring, and it gave me a great insight into why the festival is championed throughout our industry.

Jack Gipp, Designer, Isobar Global