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Canvy Facebook messenger for kids

Social media market enlargement – as reflected in Messenger for kids

We seem to be hearing a lot about technology use among seniors and/or social media for the elderly. Of course, this is just one side of the audience spectrum, while the other consists of the young(est) audience. Both segments are potential sources for a demographic market enlargement, as they provide constant technology and social media users, currently embedded in the overall audience.

Targeting these categories separately would surely be a profitable move – but is it also a common sense decision?

 

Quick case study of the Messenger for kids situation

The Facebook Messenger App for kids is designed for “kids 6-12 to connect with their family and friends, with parental controls to ensure they do so safely. It includes real-time video chat with AR effects for more fun!” – see more details here.

But why the fragmentation? Of course, as a contact management app, we may easily say that the more social media channels, the better. This means that people have an increasingly acute need to centralize various messages incoming on different channels, much to their exasperation. As long as the main channels are integrable at a policy level, as well as at a technical level, their fragmentation provides for the thriving of contact management apps.

However the question remains – why go for fragmentation, as a social media company? The messenger for kids seem to be packing in Snapchat-esque features and a hybrid type of parental control, where Facebook vouches for parental approved content circulating between the kids, yet the parents cannot see the chats. At least that’s what we gathered from a brief browsing of this topic.

The audience would consist of the kids that already use the full Messenger (doubtfully, since going for a lesser, more childish version is frankly a no-no), and the kids that would use the full Messenger, but aren’t allowed to. So it would be parent-approved, Facebook-supervised tool. The dream of every 6-12 child that yearns for digital communications.

 

How about the elderly?

Imagining a symmetrical move to the other side of the audience spectrum, the elderly should get their own Facebook or Messenger, where they could… I don’t know, exchange nostalgia messages, apply retro filters, play Bingo or have other “specific” activities.

Isn’t it weird how we stand united in separation? Why split the audience (besides dreams of, no, not of sugar plums, but of profit), and this after a century long experience that people do not like to do as they are told?

The elderly do, generally, have more time on their hands, compared to how their schedule looked like one or two decades ago. But they are also re-enjoying life as it is, with fresh air in the morning, with telling stories to their grandsons, with having tea with friends and real-time gossiping. In fact, they are a fickle audience when it comes to social media, because they might just be wiser and more real in their options than the younger adults are.

Welcoming them on social media could mean embedding extra options into the already-existing apps. Or, yet again, it may translate into a lot of fuss, market studies, extra apps or customized apps. Which one do you think it would be the best?

 

Market enlargement done right

Yes, there are audience segments that could use some extra attention and custom-tailored options.

Yes, by stimulating these people to be more active on social media, the specific market would most likely increase its dynamism and in fact would stand an “enlargement” process.

But adding extra apps in the already crowded digital landscape is counter-intuitive. Competitors have to stand together in the same niche, yet two and more apps from the same brand, due to, well, different targeting, is just too much.

Supplementary fragmentation leads to annoyance and confusion. Friends, business contacts, family and peers would be ultimately spread out among an indefinite number of social media applications, randomly open and shut, each one beaconing their notifications, each one difficult to configure, mute and so on.

Why not put users in control – for real? Allow the existing apps to be refined in a way that would meet specific needs. Kids – load preset configuration number 1! Elderly – load and customize preset configuration number 3!

Wonder if that is actually technically possible – but what isn’t, nowadays?

 

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AWS Summerian, contextualized in what smartphones tech is concerned

In a previous post, we mentioned that AR technology relates to next-gen mobile phones. Due to the fact that for these devices, VR technology is considered less suitable, the development of AR applications should be the key for future success.

In this context, Amazon’s cloud division (AWS) launched a new Amazon platform, the Amazon Summerian, supporting the rapid development of AR, VR, and 3D applications without the need for sophisticated coding skills. Available in a preview version, the new service is browser-based and benefits at this stage by a considerable push from the company, who wants to accelerate its adoption by the developers.

Integrated, easy-to-use tools should tip the market

Mass-coding is a dream many have when anticipating the future. Being able to have at hand an average employee that is basically skilled in coding, and pairing this type of professional with easy-to-use developer software could serve in a rapid implementation of various concepts at a global scale. Of course, this dream is also cost-saving, as well as perhaps a bit offensive from the point of view of an old school programmer.

Attempts of materializing this idea are already in motion – from introducing coding as a new language in the school’s curriculum, to making various coding apps available, so that kids are familiarized from an early age with this activity.

The other side of the coin consists of the easy-to-use tools designed for developers. When backed by tech leaders, these tools are bound to have a meaningful impact on the market.

High expectations, more exigent customers

 

Amazon, in order to present its product, conveyed the following statement to the public, through the voice of Marco Argenti, the Vice President of Technology at AWS: “With Amazon Sumerian, it is now possible for any developer to create a realistic, interactive VR or AR application in a few hours.”

This raises quite a few questions, related to the possible variables – does this estimate concern low-skilled or high-skilled developers? Is this an accurate expectation to create, or is it just a marketing move?

Some of these questions have answers, while for others, we still need neutral feedback. For example, the same FirstPost article mentions how the developers “need no specific experience in AR or VR programming”, but also that the company is “working on integrating third-party developers with the services to add more features”. So the platform is partly work-in-progress.

While the customers are increasingly demanding, the specific market includes an extended array of developer tools, as you may see here, some open source, others selling for quite reasonable prices, depending on the budget.

Trendsetters will be trendsetters

 

There’s nothing like good, powerful support coming from an established source that is willing to push a product on the market. All its qualities are underlined and turned into selling points, while the sore points are remedied or in view for remediation.

From this angle, a product coming from Amazon, Google (another company investing in the same area), Microsoft or others manage to equal similar, more competitive products, who do not benefit from the backup of the huge promotion/selling mechanisms these companies have. This market gap (more like a publicizing means gap) is supposedly here to stay, because it determines smaller developers to cooperate with the bigger companies more willingly, in order to join forces.

That is why even the small moves in the market, when coming from huge tech companies, are relevant. They help in anticipating future trends. Their small moves are doubled by ample investments, and these companies are likely to shift entire markets for their estimated ROI. Others may benefit, too, in the process. Customers most certainly benefit from the fierce competition – and so do the smaller companies that are clever enough to take the pulse of the market.

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What could AR glasses mean for connectivity and communications? – The Canvy Team answer attempt

Recently, a patent application filed by the members of the Oculus R&D division allowed the online media to make a few educated guesses on how this gadget will look like.

You may read more details on this gadget – Facebook’s AR glasses – in this Engadget article. Essentially, the working principle is that of a “waveguide system that projects images and light into the user’s eyes”. The concept is not innovation per se, which means that the materialization should be excellent and in time, in order to stay ahead of its potential competition.

 

Will AR glasses cut their own niche on the market?

…or perhaps they don’t need to, since they might just work out as a handy and/or fancy accessory to smartphones. Here you may check out a 2015 rundown of the alleged such gadgets at the level of 2015. Just a couple of years later, and we still have not witnessed the large-scale success of the products mentioned in this article. Some of them are even a complete novelty for the 2017 reader, which means they have practically fallen off the board.

We have explained in a previous blog post the reason why AR (and not VR) works for the smartphones – therefore the choice of AR over VR comes without saying. The potential market for AR glasses consists of the mass of smartphone owners. Compatible smartphones, of course.

Therefore, all it might take is a working, attractive gadget, good marketing and attractive features – for this new trend to spread virally. There is, however, a fine line between success and flop when it comes to “accessory” gadgets, which might explain the careful way the tech companies proceed. Long planning stages, testing and re-configuring try to avoid the possibility of this type of gadgets being crushed once they “see the light”.

 

What you see might not be what you get

This does not refer to the above-mentioned gadget itself, so you may rest assured the Facebook team is indeed doing their best to produce a great device. The subtitle allegation concerns the target audience, or the market, if you will.

Sociology is the key to marketing success. Of course, nowadays it is itself based on big data parameters, so having access to correctly-processed big data is also a must. Here’s a factual example –let’s say an employed male in his 30 officially owns a smartphone. Although the account shows up in his name, due to the fact that his days are always busy and that he actually predominantly uses his work phone, the data concerning the use of his phone might in fact be generated by an elderly relative or a young one, with access to his phone.

Therefore, when estimating the chances of success on the market of a new device – the predictive capacities, even when automated, are not certitudes per se, even if some companies try to get to that point. There are a lot of smoke screens coming from the way things go in real life.

Sometimes it is hard to find the explanation for why a certain device did not meet its success, or why, on the contrary, the sales practically exploded on the market.

 

Key takeaways from the AR glasses (ongoing) saga

It turns out that when you are keen on an idea, and you also have the financial backup for it, it may be actually wise to go on perfecting it – don’t give up on your dream!

The market gets ripe for certain concepts, although it takes time – so pay attention and strike the iron while it’s hot – timing is important!

Keep your target audience on their toes, without revealing more than necessary, since the competition might be following your moves too.

(Well, some of you might already be extremely familiar with these best practices, but it never hurts to express them once more).

Good luck in your endeavors from the Canvy team. We are wondering how communications will look like with the AR glasses available for our users…

 

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Augmented or Virtual Reality? The Canvy Team picks up on this trendy question

Recently, TechCrunch launched a question on what the future holds for smartphones and apps, in regards with enhanced reality. More precisely, they invited their readers to contemplate the possibility of smartphone AR stunting VR’s growth. As we are keeping an eye on smartphone-related technology here at Canvy, we also contemplate this idea, while keeping in touch with the latest related news.

 

How does smartphone AR look like and why is it appealing?

Smartphone AR presumes specially designed apps that allow users to add virtual layers to the reality around them, as reflected on the screens of their phones. Of course, explaining the Augmented Reality concept in this simplified way might seem laughable to all those already familiarized with it.

If nothing else, think of the latest craze that swept the world of its feet – Pokemon Go. Employing AR combined the mobile game with real-life places and landscapes, while sending the players into outside world quests. Even if sometimes the two realities clashed and some people faced various types of dangers, the success of this game managed to put AR back into the spotlight, at times when VR is facing slow growth. Other developers saw the opportunity to launch their Pokemon Go –inspired apps, so the AR trend gained traction.

Virtual Reality desperately needs specially tailored apps, dedicated hardware, seamless integration between them and seems more complicated to orchestrate than AR. (Mind you, “seems” is the key word here, because surely there must be AR software that takes a lot of time and hard work to deliver, just as VR programs do.) However, it is realistic to say that VR is facing (slightly) difficult times.

 

What advantages do push AR in front of VR?

Another important element is that VR, as TechCrunch mentions, is superior to what the smartphones can offer. In fact, the authors say that it will always be superior, but one never knows what the future holds in terms of phone design and capabilities, so we thought of applying here the old saying of “never say never”. So VR requires much more advanced hardware than our current smartphones hold. Therefore, advantage AR…

All things considered (besides those mentioned above, there are also others), AR is fit for smartphones.

  • It is appealing, due to the fact that it restores the user’s relationship with their surroundings;
  • It also enables local experiences, thus attracting marketers;
  • It is visually pleasing, while allowing the user to include it in his/her usual activities;

(Because it is not disruptive in the way VR is, by conditioning the entire experience through the need of complete immersion into the virtual.)

  • Both Google and Apple test (or already built AR solutions) into their products;
  • It has been around for a while and people expect it to bloom in the next-gen series of smartphones.

 

Is it a race we are witnessing or are the two technologies completing each other?

The answer to this question depends on where we stand when addressing it. As we’ve mentioned above, some consider smartphones are destined for AR. Others might design VR applications that go with enhanced mobiles, thus making the two technologies compete on the same devices’ segment.

On the other hand, those investing in VR lead us to believe that, once perfected, the VR technology will be like no other. Therefore, there will be no question of any competition between AR and VR, just because we will witness VR going out of AR’s league, so to say. This remains to be seen. Until then, it seems that throwing VR into investment-related conversations still has a magic effect. Yet there are many who wonder how much until the magic wears off, if the promises that raised so much enthusiasm don’t deliver sometime soon.

The race seems shifty – depending upon elements that the large audience has little access to, if any. Elements laying within the R&D divisions of various companies, ranging from tech giants to small startups. And, of course, the Canvy Team knows all about R&D activities and putting bright ideas into practice.

Perhaps one day, the photos you assign to your Canvy contacts would become AR-enabled images. For now, we provide a visually fun canvas of contacts, bright-colored and organized by your interaction degree with each contact.