The popularity of Metaverse has brought AR resurgence, and Snap has already established a complete ecosystem

Whoever handles AR can become the overlord of the Metaverse.

There are always new technologies and new trends emerging in the technology industry. Not long ago, Facebook suddenly changed its name to Meta and devoted itself to the “metaverse” (metaverse), making this concept that has existed for many years suddenly become the hottest technology trend.

The Metaverse is a rough concept that can contain multiple technologies, such as augmented/virtual display (AR/VR), decentralized payment, digital humans, etc.

Although Meta’s voice is the loudest in today’s Metaverse wave, in fact, it is the predecessor that lays the deepest foundation in the core technology of the Metaverse, which cannot be defeated by all kinds of legitimate and unfair competition methods. Young rival-Snapchat.

When Snap Company released its quarterly earnings report this summer, the Silicon Stars once wrote: In the age of social media, people’s attention time is extremely limited. Social products use this to grab users, but at the same time they are also victims of this phenomenon. New products become popular, old products lose their appeal and lose users, which is an inevitable cycle. Snapchat once felt this kind of pain deeply. However, Snap’s losses in the past year have been continuously compressed, and quarterly revenue has skyrocketed. If there is no surprise, it will achieve a single-quarter revenue exceeding $1 billion in the near future.

Snapchat was launched in 2011 and has reached the age of 10 today. This time has almost reached the end of its life cycle for general social media software. The main concept of this product was “burn after reading.” However, 10 years later, Snapchat has not been “thrown away after use”…

According to data disclosed by Snap to Silicon Stars, Snapchat’s Gen-Z penetration rate in developed markets is currently as high as 90%, surpassing Facebook, Instagram, and FB Messenger. The number of image/video content generated on Snapchat every day is as high as 5 billion.

The popularity of Metaverse has brought AR resurgence, and Snap has already established a complete ecosystem

The biggest contributor to Snapchat’s resurgence is undoubtedly the company’s years of hard work in the AR field. According to Snap’s internal data, as of the fourth quarter of 2020, at least 200 million users are using Snapchat’s own apps every day, as well as the AR technology developed by partners using Snapchat tools. General users experience and use AR special effects lenses in Snapchat every day. Up to 30 times…

These data allow Snapchat to establish itself as the absolute king of mobile Internet AR. And if we have to cover the topic of the Metaverse, it is no exaggeration to say that whoever masters AR will master the Metaverse.

For Snapchat, everything has just begun. On December 7, U.S. time, Snap held its annual AR Ecological Conference Lens Fest, and released a lot of blockbuster content such as tool upgrades and ecological improvement, which once again strengthened its leading position in AR technology and ecology.

|Lens Studio: Major upgrade of mobile AR development platform

In Silicon Valley, mobile operating system platform companies represented by Apple and Google have been pushing AR for many years. At previous developer conferences, ARKit and ARCore will have a lot of space. However, in fact, although these two companies have huge influence in the technology industry, their AR development platforms are not the most popular. There are many reasons, and the biggest problem is that there are no special killer scenes.

This is not a problem for Snapchat. The Snapchat application is the camera when the screen is opened, and the AR special effects are directly integrated into the camera, which has become the most frequently used function among the billions of pictures and video content that users publish every day.

Xcode is used for iOS development; Android Studio is used for Android development. And in the future Metaverse era, who is the most standard development tool for mobile AR?

At present, Snap’s Lens Studio may be the standard answer.

The popularity of Metaverse has brought AR resurgence, and Snap has already established a complete ecosystem

Lens Studio is a tool used by artists and software developers to develop filters and various other AR special effects. It is not only an IDE (Integrated Development Environment), but also similar to Unreal/Unity/Blender and other software, with very comprehensive 3D object and environment development functions.

As the exclusive development tool for Snapchat AR filters and special effects, Lens Studio also integrates advanced tracking technologies (such as faces, hands, limbs, etc.) to make mobile AR development very easy and streamlined.

At this year’s Lens Fest, Snap announced that it will launch Lens Studio 4.10 version soon. This is the largest update since the release of the tool, and new major new features such as music, real physical effects, high-precision depth map generation, voice machine learning, and third-party API libraries have been added.

Popular music has always been sought after by users of short video software. This time Snap added music directly during the development of AR filters. The available repertoire covers the works of popular and growing artists from all major labels, with a variety of choices, with a total of millions of songs and sound effects.

The popularity of Metaverse has brought AR resurgence, and Snap has already established a complete ecosystem

Add music to the AR special effects under development in Lens Studio

The physics engine is the most important update of Lens Studio 4.10. Simply put, it allows virtual objects in the AR environment to be affected by gravity, speed, mass, acceleration, and even some more complex characteristics like in the real world ( Such as the influence of fluid mechanics, rigid body mechanics, shape and collision):

Limited by computing power, “authenticity” has always been a difficult aspect of AR/VR (especially mobile AR/VR) in the past. The addition of this physics engine makes Snapchat and other AR special effects that use its technology more realistic, and the experience becomes closer to reality. It can be said that it is far from realizing the Metaverse (or at least improving the experience of the Metaverse). A crucial step has been taken.

High-precision depth map (World Mesh) is also one of the important features of this update. Simply put, this feature allows AR developers to directly use their mobile phones to scan the environment around them, generate depth maps, and quickly import them into Lens Studio for direct use in the development of AR special effects. World Mesh virtual 3D environment for building very accurate indeed, but also support non-laser radar device also supports ARKit, ARCore and other non-Snap’s AR technology:

The popularity of Metaverse has brought AR resurgence, and Snap has already established a complete ecosystem

In Lens Studio 4.10 version, Snap has further optimized the third-party API library (API Library) function. In the past, developers have been able to import external data into the released AR filters in real time.

After this update, developers will be able to cooperate more deeply with AR filter advertisers, and generate customized APIs as needed to allow more types of data (such as e-commerce, translation, weather, stock/cryptocurrency quotations, etc.) Can be turned into an AR filter…

(As for why the financial market needs to be made into AR special effects…It can only be said that the previous $GME incident has made people reacquaint themselves with the Gen-Z who are playing around on the Internet all day long. In fact, how much influence can it have on the stock market… �?

The popularity of Metaverse has brought AR resurgence, and Snap has already established a complete ecosystem

|Let AR development become a new economy with a scale of tens of billions of dollars

If a worker wants to do his job well, he must first sharpen his tools. This time Snap launched an updated version of Lens Studio, giving AR developers access to powerful tools. However, after this, how to avoid the situation that ARKit/ARCore releases will be overwhelmed and no one is interested in the follow-up?

Snap’s answer is: to turn AR development into a business, and to make money for all parties involved.

The participants here include AR artists/developers, advertisers, and Snap itself as a platform.

In June of this year, Snap launched the Creator Marketplace (Creator Marketplace). At present, this market has become the preferred platform for transactions between AR developers and advertisers.

Every AR creator who wants to use his creative ability to make money can create his own account page on the Creator Marketplace and mark the price of the services he can provide. Then, advertisers can browse on this platform, find the creators that suit them in a targeted manner, connect, communicate ideas, and place orders. After the customized AR special effects are developed, they can be put into Snapchat products or external applications.

As a result, all parties involved in this transaction are able to achieve their financial goals: AR developers receive development costs; advertisements are placed on Snapchat, allowing Snap to earn advertising fees; high-quality AR filters help advertisers improve the brand US reputation degree, thus achieving the established sales / subscriber growth targets.

The Creator Marketplace is Snap’s key attempt to no longer use AR as a pure technology and product experience, but to expand it into a brand-new economic model.

Behind this attempt, Snap discovered that AR has established its position as a new and powerful business growth driver in the mobile social era.

This year, Snap hired a market survey agency to conduct a survey, and the results showed that in the post-epidemic era shopping process (take clothing as an example), more than a quarter of the respondents prefer to use AR technology for remote try-on. Instead of risking your health to try on an offline store.

The company’s internal data also provides a strong endorsement of the effect of AR driving business growth.

American clothing brand American Eagle and Snapchat after a round of AR cooperation, which ran on Snapchat customized version of the AR filter ultimately lead to sales, achieved sales growth of approximately $ 200 million; another company last year also adjust the the number of pay-word marketing strategy, with part of the digital advertising budgets invested in the Snap AR advertising platform, the result put the rate of return of this section is seven times as much as other parts.

Carolina Navas, director of AR strategy at Snap, said at Lens Fest that AR has proven to be a key marketing tool and has become an indispensable part of the brand’s marketing strategy in the new era.

Compared with general digital advertising, what AR technology establishes between the brand and the audience is not a pure relationship between advertisers and advertising audiences, but a strong entertainment and interactive relationship.

For example, the picture below shows the cooperative AR filter effect of the well-known French DJ David Guetta’s tour performance on Snapchat. The cool effect allows ordinary users to actively use it to publish content. The actual communication effect is far beyond ordinary (passive) ) Display digital advertising.

In the ten years from the launch of the product to today, Snap has built a complete AR ecosystem: AR is created with Snapchat applications and Lens Studio; AR is distributed through applications, glasses, cameras, and Camera Kit provided to third-party applications Services (allowing the cameras of third-party applications to integrate Snap’s various AR technologies); in the AR content trading platform, there is the Creator Marketplace; AR content is monetized through Snap Lens advertisements and other applications and scenarios that integrate Camera Kit.

The popularity of Metaverse has brought AR resurgence, and Snap has already established a complete ecosystem

As mentioned in the article written by Silicon Stars, camera/AR marketing has become the core of Snap’s performance growth and brand resurgence. Snapchat’s monthly active users are as high as 500 million, and daily active users reached 307 million in the first quarter of this year. Two-thirds of daily active users use AR technology on Snapchat every day, and the average number of times each user experiences AR special effects lenses per day is as high as 30 Second-rate

– There is no doubt, Snapchat has been one of the most extensive worldwide use the camera application, and with the blessing of AR technology, it has also become an AR application you use the most, and entirely possible to become the future of the universe yuan / virtual life (No matter how you define it) the first stop.

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