The Future of Innovation and Technology is Creative Collaboration

An article by Anne Keane, originally published on Isobar US’s blog.

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From where I sit, the most exciting technology and innovation can be discovered with just a tap or click.  My Twitter feed recently dropped me into a rabbit hole of links filled with anything and everything from massive clean energy improvements in Massachusetts to the rise of experiential retail.

Isobar has an innovation NowLab, where our team is exploring and pushing the boundaries of emerging technology. About a year ago, the NowLab held  an office-wide VR hackathon. The team competing on behalf of the Boston office didn’t include a Developer. We chalked it up to a win because they were able to focus on the idea, rather than the limits of technology. Following that, we collaborated with Microsoft’s Mixed Reality Capture Studios, Viacom and Tiltbrush artist, Danny Bittman to produce Aeronaut, a Virtual Reality music video for William Patrick Corgan’s latest single (a.k.a Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins). For this effort, Isobar was a finalist at the MITX Awards (Massachusetts Innovation & Technology Exchange) in the Best AR, VR or Mixed Reality Application category.

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The Boston-based award show, in its 22nd year (!), shines a bright light on innovation and technology pioneers. Amy Quigley, President of MITX, was impressed by the overall diversity in entries this year: “We are seeing amazing ideas coming from a variety of verticals, including financial services and healthcare. Brands and agencies are pushing what is possible creatively, and as a result consumers are winning.”

Headed into the award show, we were curious to learn how others in Boston felt about the future of innovation and technology.  And, as experts in assessing emotions, we of course knew we couldn’t just “ask” a simple question. Instead, we polled the award show attendees using our proprietary nonconscious emotional testing tool, MindSight© Direct.  MindSight is typically used to uncover the emotions that bring consumers into a category, that drive brand preference, and that create interest in an ad, product or experience,  In this case the tool helped us capture how attendees really feel about the future.

We uncovered an interesting dichotomy of emotions surrounding the future of tech innovation in Boston. While there’s excitement about the future and all its possibilities there’s also some question about how the growth will impact folks individually. Some may question, “Growth is good overall, but is growth good for me?” or  “Will we become like everyone else?” and “Am I still special and will this limit my potential?” One thing is certain, attendees felt strongly that by working together – collaborating and empowering one another – the future of technology and innovation in Boston will be bright.

Steve Myers, Vice President at Isobar (and Boston-based ad guy for 25+ years), shared his thoughts on the topic: “Given the growth we are experiencing, I’m hoping that as an industry we will look ‘inward’ and leverage all of this amazing thinking to help solve for the challenges we’ll face as the population and footprint of our city continues to grow.”

In Boston, innovation isn’t a novelty. It’s the norm. The results of the MindSight study prove that we as an industry are not shying away from this, but rather embracing this exciting future. At Isobar we believe the toughest questions are best answered with collaboration and creativity.

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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