How AR Effects Are Reshaping the World of Virtual Communication We're locked down but our creativity isn't! It's time to make your virtual meeting interesting and quirky by using augmented reality effects

By Priyadarshini Patwa

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FreePIK/ katemangostar/ Pokemon Go/ SnapChat/ Alia Bhatt

As the world reels under the threats of a microscopic monster, we're coming to terms with the fact that tech has become the mainstay of today's communication. It has become the mind and soul work, communication, meetings, businesses, and more.

Gone are the time days when you needed a conference room to crack a deal. Now all you need to do is log into an app or digital platform and simply connect with hundreds of people across cities, states, and countries. From entertainment to connectivity, the online medium has transformed our worlds. To get everything done all you need is a computing system, communication tools, entertainment, and digital streaming platforms and a stable internet connection to keep you going!

In the last few weeks of the lockdown, online meetings have become the mainstay of businesses to keep their employees and clients going. Convenient as they are, these calls have also led to some bloopers as family members clad in their casual attire or half-asleep children accidentally wandering into the frame amongst many others.

These are situations when you need someone to conceptualise and save you from these moments of embarrassment with an element of quirk - funny and interesting Augmented Reality filters that are now being used can be used across various video calling apps. To understand how AR can make a huge impact and break the mundane pattern of your video meeting, Entrepreneur India spoke to Superfan.AI, an AI-based fan management studio who are the brain behind creating some amazing Instagram, Facebook, and other social media filters.

Undertsanding Augmented Reality or AR?

You all use lens or filter on Snapchat or Instagram, but how many of you knew that you were participating in Augmented Reality? It might seem like a stretch compared to visions of a future that involve AR contact lenses, but mass consumers are part of the AR world with these applications. It might seem trivial and many might not give it weightage but the pandemic has made each of us connect around the globe via apps making it digital-first.

Right now, we are in the midst of a paradigm shift leading to the more revolutionary growth in AR that will evolve our communication far beyond basic text-based interaction.

AR the Future of the Internet

AR/VR is gradually becoming an indispensable part of our tech experiences. Here are five ways AR is set to rule the future of the internet universe.

  1. AR /VR would be in a position to make every surface a potential digital surface, in effect moving from the need of a screen
  2. According to Gartner report, 30 percent of browsing will be done without screens because of AR / VR
  3. AR technology gives one the potential and the opportunity to deliver the digital experience that is elevated and different from the normal video viewing experience, It can convert an embarrassing moment to a quirky one
  4. It empowers customers to create and design their favorite brands as per their needs and necessity. Nike, for example, allows customers to design their sneakers by slipping on a blank shoe
  5. AR helps to create fast fun and interactive videos that are engaging and impactful while reaching out to potential customers

The Rise of AR

There's a surge in usage of augmented reality in our daily lives, especially in our communication. However, this is just the start of what AR is. Talking about the same Snehaal Dhruv, Founder & CEO, Superfan.AI said, "We are at the dawn of the 21st century and while we don't yet have a fully immersive AR Internet, our smartphones are omnipresent, and AR has entered the scene and how! This is most notable in popular games like Pokémon Go and certainly in several videos calling apps that allow you to create a preferred experience. The potential benefits of AR are astronomical. All of a sudden, you don't need to move an inch to reach an all-new location for an hour-long meeting, because with AR it feels like your ally is in front of you, with eye contact and posture and several other social cues you don't get over a regular video conference"

Strong AR players in the field have built some exciting filters through Snap Camera to make those mundane meetings fun and something to look forward to for participants. Through building filters and lenses for Snap that in turn lends its innovative and funny effects to Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, etc. Thought leaders in the Augmented Reality domain have also associated with Facebook to bring a larger adaption for fun filters in the country.

Creating Backgrounds

Emphasizing the need for AR at present and it's importance, Dhruv further added, "Today we live in a world that demands one to be on their feet, have a quick-thinking ability to get the work done, whether on-site or remote location, this whether we like it or not, adds to the stress. The filters and lens do bring a moment of and break the monotony to a large extend. This is one-way adding sugar to your meetings sans the spice!"

It is interesting to note that it's not just individuals creating backgrounds to add a little flair to their video chats. Organizations from companies to colleges are also making their own. But how exactly does this work?

"It's simple. While you operate any of the above-mentioned video calling apps, you can download and switch on the Snap Camera App that has a number of these AR Experiences that will be available for you to use during your call. Basically, your webcam is using the feed from Snap Camera for your video call, so every AR Lens you see in Snap Camera is also being seen by the other members in your video conference," he explains.

In the world of AR, lenses aren't new. They've been prevalent parts of online communication for years, particularly on Snap's messaging app. But bustling Indians heading into a prolonged open-ended quarantine with time to kill have started to get creative. Besides, AR has the ability to overcome language barriers and differing abilities. It will also allow modes of connection that we haven't even fully begun to understand. So, the next time you try out a new face filter, just remember you're helping bring the digital future to life.

Priyadarshini Patwa

Former Features Editor, Entrepreneur India

Priyadarshini Patwa is the Former Features Editors of Entrepreneur India and hosted an Instagram show every Friday named ‘Lighten Up’, about people from different walks of life and talk about their work and beyond. She handled the lifestyle, features, technology, entertainment segments and was also responsible for the Digital Covers. Previously she has worked with MensXP, a Times of India entity and Deccan Chronicle. 

She’s @Priyanka_Patwa on Twitter and @priyadarshinipatwa on Instagram.

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