Inside XR - September 23rd, 2019

Inside XR (Sep 23rd, 2019)

Facebook Expands AR Advertising / Augmented Mosquito Swarm / Elton John's Augmented Audio Reality

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1. Facebook has announced the expansion of its Augmented Reality ads. Just ahead of Advertising Week, the company announced the expansion of three interactive ad formats, including the AR ads it had been previously testing, which are moving into open beta in the fall. At a press conference in New York City, Facebook’s chief creative officer and vice president of global business marketing Mark D’Arcy showed off use cases for the platform such as WeMakeUp, which experienced a 27.6 percent lift in purchases after running an AR ad campaign allowing users to virtually try on new shades of makeup. With regards to the on-going concerns about the handling of user data, new formats will handle user data, Facebook has given reassurances that although images created by users through AR ads can be saved to their camera roll, these won’t be shared with advertisers.– TECHCRUNCH    

2. A campaign to eradicate Malaria has launched an AR app that places a cloud of mosquitos around your head. The "Malaria Must Die So Millions Can Live" campaign launched earlier this year featuring David Beckham as its spokesperson. Now, to coincide with the 74th United Nations General Assembly meetings which takes place this week in New York, 2,000 digital billboard ads will be placed around the city featuring Beckham's face surrounded by an aggressive swarm of mosquitos. The accompanying Augmented Reality app was developed pro bono by creative studio Powster using Facebook's Spark AR platform. The user's face is covered by mosquitos in a similar way, and can only be dissipated when the filter detects speech, encouraging people to "speak up" against this preventable disease which is still the world's deadliest, killing one child every two minutes. – NEXT REALITY

3. Dean Takahashi tested out an app that let him remix augmented reality audio at a live Elton John concert. The Peex app was being tested during the singer's Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour show at the Chase Center in San Francisco, where Takahashi - who is clearly a fan - was very impressed by the functionality. "To me, it was an amazing experience that made me feel like John still had a solid singing voice, as I remembered from his records decades ago," Takahashi said. The UK-based start-up, which had already done around 100 shows around the world, promises to deliver perfect sounds no matter where your seats are in a big stadium. It does this by capturing audio directly from the stage — both analog and digital tracks — and converting these into digital audio sources that can be customized according to individual preferences and also change depending on where the user moves relative to the performance.  – VENTURE BEAT   

4. Pentland Brands has launched an AR app that lets users fit swimming goggles to the shape of their face. One of the company's brands - Speedo - will be the first to showcase the Augmented Reality technology, but instead of fitting users for the swimwear most people associate with the name, it will start by solving the pervasive problem of "leaky goggles." The app will use 3D face scanning to map the user’s face and suggest the best fit. Should it prove successful, the company has plans to expand the functionality to areas such as footwear, apparel, and custom-fit accessories. – AR POST    

5. Enklu has opened a Mixed Reality interactive maker space in San Francisco. For a monthly membership fee of $35 (day passes are also available for $20) uses get access to E.den, a space defined by the company as a "large-scale social immersive playground" which offers creators tools (such as the Microsoft HoloLens) and resources to develop AR content. The space is now open to the public on the 4th floor of the Dome in the city’s Westfield San Francisco Centre at 845 Market Street, and will be hosting a series of experiences developed by the creator community offering artists ways of monetizing their content and share it with the world. VRSCOUT

6. For those looking to invest in the Augmented Reality space, The Motley Fool's Travis Hoium has three stock recommendations. He explains why he believes that Facebook, Apple, and Snapchat are the best companies to invest in based on their position in the burgeoning AR market. Facebook makes the cut because of its work building AR capabilities for Instagram and launching development tools such as the Camera Effects Platform and Spark AR Studio. "It has both the ability to reach billions of people with AR technology and the incentive to use these new tools to keep people engaged," Hoium writes, adding that Snapchat's value proposition, on the other hand, lies on hardware, and its potential to build an AR display onto its Spectacles. Meanwhile, Apple remains the "giant waiting in the wings" with the disruptive potential to overshadow competitors in a heartbeat by bringing AR headset to the masses. – MOTLEY FOOL

7. Thomas McMullan explored the emerging questions and budding conflicts arising from using AR as a form of artistic expression in public places. In this opinion piece, McMullan looks at the ways in which companies - Apple's AR[T] Walks being a prime example - and individual artists have been placing digital works of art within physical spaces using Augmented Reality, and asks where the ownership of such virtual objects - and the access to them - should lie. Artist Sebastian ErraZuriz, who notoriously vandalized Jeff Koons' Central Park AR installation, tells OneZero that AR will prove to be as huge an invention as electricity, adding that “In 5 to 10 years from now we won’t believe there was a time without augmented reality, let alone a time when no legislation existed for this technology. – ONE ZERO 

This newsletter was written and curated by Alice Bonasio, a journalist and consultant obsessed with the immersive technology space, including AR/VR/MR/XR and any other acronyms that fit into the realities spectrum. Over the past 15 years, Alice has advised a wide range of start-ups and corporations on digital transformation and communication strategy and is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Tech Trends. She also regularly contributes to publications such as Quartz, Fast Company, Wired, Playboy, The Next Web, Ars Technica, VRScout and many others. Follow her on Twitter @alicebonasio


Editor: David Stegon (senior editor at Inside, whose reporting experience includes cryptocurrency and technology).

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