Facebook gives priority to AR, VR business development

March 13, 2018 18:29
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes augmented reality will move toward "mass adoption" while virtual reality remains an “awkward technology” which mostly attracts hardcore gamers. Photo: Bloomberg

Facebook will give a bigger push for augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) businesses.

Along with artificial intelligence and connectivity, AR and VR rank among the top technology priorities of the social media giant, chief technology officer Mike Schroepfer told Forbes in an interview.

Schroepfer said there are currently hundreds of engineers who are working on “underlying technologies” at Facebook.

Such technologies will allow a phone to do everything from real-time tracking of facial movements to spotting a coffee mug or “recommending context-specific image effects”, he added.

Artificial intelligence lies at the heart of AR, Schroepfer said, noting that Facebook staff even regard their in-app camera as an “AI camera”.

Back in January 2014, Mark Zuckerberg began eyeing the VR market and bought Oculus Rift, a pioneer in VR headsets.

In March 2016, he purchased Masquerade, a Belarus-based selfie-mask app, and in the summer of 2016, he formed the Camera Group, fueling the development of AR and VR technologies.

Although considered an emerging technology, AR has been gaining popularity.

This confirms Zuckerberg’s intuition that AR could move toward “mass adoption”, while VR remains an “awkward technology” which mostly attracts hardcore gamers, Forbes said.

The main strength of AR is that it doesn’t rely on a costly, bulky headset which drives away potential users.

Currently, around 5 percent of marketing professionals use AI, but this is expected to surge to 17 percent this year, according to latest data from research and advisory firm Forrester.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on March 13

Translation by Jonathan Chong

[Chinese version 中文版]

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Hong Kong Economic Journal