Social networks: focus on augmented and virtual reality and the metaverse

metavers social networks augmented reality
Antoine Charneau - 09/11/2021

Social networks are going full steam ahead with immersive technologies: focus on AR, VR and metavers!

Technology and innovation are major issues within social networks, as they are powerful marketing levers. And if augmented reality has proven itself, virtual reality still needs time to penetrate these applications. At the same time, the race for the metaverse is starting between the web giants. Let's take a look at these different technologies: metavers, AR, VR!

Augmented reality has conquered social networks

Augmented Reality (AR) is already an integral part of the main social networks, Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram and Tik Tok. Snapchat opened the ball with its various filters, which we mentioned in a previous article to boost its marketing strategy.
Moreover, Snapchat recently bought Vertebrae as indicated in thearticle by The Verge. It is a company specialising in 3D product modelling.
Vertebrae has already worked with Facebook to integrate 3D purchasing technology. He also counted Toyota and Adidas among his major clients.
Aware of the stakes surrounding this technology, the objective was obviously to capture the new generations likely to go to the checkout with their smartphone. In addition, taking this step also meant preparing to provide content for the metaverse.

Some examples of the use of AR

There are several recent launches of augmented reality in social networks:

  • In 2020, Snapchat launched the "Try-on" option with Gucci. It allowed users of the app to virtually try on iconic models from the brand.
  • The same year, Instagram used the Spark AR application. It allows you to add different functionalities, be it through effects, sounds or animations.
  • More recently, in August 2021, Tik Tok launched the TikTok Effect Studio tool to ride the wave. It offers users the opportunity to create their own filter and experience in this area.

If the issues surrounding augmented reality are no longer to be defined, what about virtual reality? Indeed, always in search of novelties, will social networks turn to this technology?

 

Virtual reality, the next step?

Snapchat numbers

A forerunner in AR, Snapchat revealed in its March 2021 report* that it has great confidence in the new consumer habits of users, particularly thanks to Generation Z, i.e. people born after 1995. Indeed, 94% of the 100 million shoppers who would make purchases with AR online and in-store would be willing to use it more. Furthermore, the company estimates that, by 2025, 75% of 13-69 year olds using social applications will be frequent users of virtual reality. These figures speak for themselves in this fast-growing sector.


The activity of Tik Tok's parent company

For its part, ByteDance, the parent company of Tik Tok, is moving up a gear by acquiring Pico, one of the major players in the Chinese VR market, as indicated in another article by The Verge. The creator of virtual reality headsets is known for its Neo 2 product, a possible competitor to Oculus' Quest 2, and more recently for the Neo 3.
This new acquisition therefore seems promising for the social network given the popularity of these technologies lately. However, Pico seems unlikely to mix with ByteDance's TikTok service at the moment. Could Facebook's recent announcements change their minds? To be continued.

the metaverse

Heading for the metaverse

While Tik Tok's parent company is moving its pieces forward, Facebook (now Meta) is unveiling itself and announcing the colour: the metaverse at the heart of the company's DNA.


A term from the 20th century

The term metaverse appeared in 1992 with the novel Snow Crash. It represents a fictitious virtual world created artificially by a computer programme. This parallel world would allow users to move around, interact socially and sometimes economically, in the form of an avatar.


Facebook becomes Meta

Very recently, the company continued its policy on metavers and changed its name. The company is now called Meta, a name that reflects the company's goals of "bringing the metaverse to life"as Mark Zuckerberg told The Verge.
At present, the company is made up of various products for communities, creators and businesses. One also thinks of their subsidiary Oculus VR, the famous virtual reality company. Meta even plans to create 10,000 jobs in Europe over 5 years to accelerate the development of this massive project. In parallel, augmented reality glasses were announced on Thursday 9 September 2021 in a tweet, in collaboration with the famous eyewear brand Rayban.
We mentioned the democratisation of virtual reality in a previous article and Facebook's objectives at the time.Now, the Meta giant is setting its sights on what could be the next major innovation in immersion at the beginning of this century: the metaverse.


How are the others doing?


Microsoft: heading for the metaverse!

In a tweet, Microsoft has already foreseen the integration of its solutions with the metaverse. Indeed, CEO Satya Nadella announced that Microsoft Teams will allow users to create their own 3D digital avatars, and collaborate in virtual spaces by plugging into a virtual reality headset such as Microsoft's HoloLens and Facebook's Oculus. These animated avatars can mimic your voice using artificial intelligence. This would allow for face-to-face conversations and free movement in virtual space. The feature, which is expected to launch in 2022, is powered by Mesh, a virtual collaboration tool launched this year.


Apple: other plans in mind?

Apple is reportedly working on a mixed reality (MR) headset, which combines virtual and augmented reality. According to thearticle in The Information, this product is even ready for "trial production". While the article talks about a standalone mode for the least demanding tasks, it is nevertheless unable to function without the computing power of a Mac or an iPhone. Indeed, it requires a connection to a companion device for demanding experiences. Until now, the Cupertino-based company has been very shy about these technologies. However, the launch of this headset is planned for 2022. Recently, the analyst Ming-Chi Kuo announced that the headset could be delayed. Thus, the Apple Glass augmented reality glasses could be pushed back to 2023.


Epic Games: heading for the metaverse!

Epic Games, the publisher of the video game Fortnite, has indicated that part of the billion dollars raised this year from investors will be devoted to its development. The first concrete taste of this is the virtual concerts of international stars. American rapper Travis Scott was seen in Fortnite and pop singer Zara Larsson in the game Roblox. These concerts were followed by tens of millions of players.


Google: doubts?

Google represents a powerful combination of software serving a large number of users. Alphabet, Google's parent company, had invested $24 billion in 2015 in ambitious projects such as Loon, Nest and Waymo. But many of its projects have failed, eaten up money or been reabsorbed by Google. Former executive chairman Eric Schmidt was speaking to CNBC recently. He was not as complimentary on the subject of the metaverse as his compatriot Mark Zuckerberg. Indeed, if the economic stakes seem massive, the concern about the metaverse and the consequences it could have on human relations worries Eric Schmidt (the former CEO of Google): "The world is going to become more digital than physical and that is not necessarily the best thing for human society".

Something to think about.

 

Consumers are fond of immersive technologies and are becoming more and more familiar with their use. Used wisely, these tools are a powerful conversion lever, allowing people to try before they buy, without having to go anywhere and at any time. It is therefore a good way toadapt your marketing strategy and to stand out, you are right to be interested in it!


Improve your processes and boost your sales with virtual and augmented reality.

As the web giants move into the metaverse, start with augmented and virtual reality. Contact us now! We have all the elements to accompany you in the metaverse: content creation, 3D platform, we are the recognised specialists in 3D applied to retail. So, if you want to dive into this world too, in order to maximise your processes and your sales, join us!

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