December. The time for budgets and predictions. What will be the most important developments in the new year? Augmented reality is sure to play a big role: no longer just in the IT domain and the world of gaming, AR will soon become a mainstream tool that proves indispensable for marketers who want to keep up with the times.
E-Commerce and Augmented Reality: predictions
The more augmented reality gets integrated into social media, the more brands will be able to interact with customers. Online retail is looking pursuing ways to create a personalized customer experience that can satisfy any kind of request. In Forbes’ list of top trends for 2018, they’ve put increased use of artificial intelligence in the number 2 spot. In fact, if 2017 was the year that put the powers of chatbots to the test, improved intelligence in the near future will make them indispensable tools for consumers. “In 2018 we’ll see more companies investing in chatbot services to automate part of their customer service process. The market for chatbots and automated customer service is growing; a Business Insider survey reported that 80% businesses expect to have chatbot automation implemented to some extent by 2020,” said James Gurd, owner of DigitalJuggler.”
Why Zuckerberg will invest in Oculus
Mark Zuckerberg has a passion for augmented reality and artificial intelligence. After the first moves by Apple and Google, Facebook also invested in those sectors with the acquisition of Oculus in 2014. Michael Abrash, the company’s head researcher, is convinced that AR offers superior possibilities compared to virtual reality. “No matter how good VR gets, few people would be comfortable socializing in person with someone whose eyes they can’t see, and social acceptability is an absolute requirement for anything we wear in public,” Abrash said at a Facebook F8 conference. Abrash believes that once they’re created, AR visors will be the major technological advancement of the next 50 years. Oculus has planned 2 VR headsets–Go and Project Santa Cruz–the former of which will go on sale in 2018. The CEO of Facebook, who just this year brought out Spaces–a virtual meeting space that lets you interact with people even on the other side of the world–hopes to be able to improve the platform with augmented reality, and in this way create the technology needed “for the glasses that we all want”.
Augmented reality: the revolution begins with mobile
These innovations began with mobile devices. Both Apple and Google emphasized AR technology in their latest models launched on the market, even featuring shopping and gaming experiences in the press conferences for their launches. And the smartphone will be the tool that brings augmented reality to the masses. Today’s cell phones are truly mini computers, equipped with powerful processors that support Apple and Google’s AR platforms, ARKit and ARCore respectively. These two pieces of software take advantage of the smartphone’s hardware, and form the base for applications that will work with AI technology.
Instagram’s news for 2018
Still in Zuckerberg’s realm, there’s talk that Instagram could be fine-tuning a new AI technology for image recognition in the upcoming year. It’s a fundamental new feature, considering that the social network is based on sharing exclusively visual content. In that sense, the field of research has just been improved. Users can now follow specific hashtags that are most interesting to them. For influencers on the other hand, the breakthrough was the ability to tag products that they promote–the so called ‘shopping tag.’ It’s also been said the 360° photo format will be introduced, which is already available on Facebook.