- Facebook Messenger is rolling out new augmented reality (AR) experiences to video calls and Messenger Rooms, the platform’s videoconferencing feature. Group Effects work for everyone on the video call, as Facebook says it’s aiming to make AR effects a shared experience. Users can now choose from a library of more than 70 group effects, including a game where players compete to build the best burger the fastest. To check out the new Group Effects, start a video call or create a room, tap the smiley face to open the effects tray and then select group effects. From there, users can select an AR experience that will be applied to everyone on the call.
- Additionally, Facebook says it’s expanding access to its Spark AR API at the end of the month to let more creators and developers build group effects. The new “Group Effects” feature will be coming to Instagram soon. Facebook Messenger is also rolling out new “suggested word effects” that will trigger an animation within the chat. For instance, now when sending standalone messages, users will see an option to create a word effect for that term. The company is also launching new James Bond “soundmojis” following the release of “No Time to Die” in theatres. There are also new chat themes, including a “care” theme and ghostly Halloween themes. Facebook Messenger will also roll out four haunted world AR effects in time for Halloween. Group AR in Messenger arrives as the company is clearly making a bigger push around “metaverse” efforts in general, and is in keeping with the theme of creating shared virtual experiences.
Multinational esports organisation Rogue has announced a partnership with North American mortgage lender Guaranteed Rate for its Rocket League team. As a result of the deal, the lender’s logo will feature on the organisation’s Rocket League Championship Series (RLCS) vehicles. The collaboration marks the first time any form of branding has appeared on the team’s skins. Guaranteed Rate’s graphics will be displayed on Rogue’s away RLCS cars. The branding will be used throughout the 2021-22 RLCS season, which began on October 15th. The collaboration marks the mortgage lender’s first foray into the esports industry following the likes of Rocket Mortgage into the space. Rocket League esports is quickly becoming one of the largest titles in the industry. This makes Guaranteed Rate’s collaboration with Rogue the ideal opportunity for the lender to expose its brand to a brand-new audience.
Sequoia Games has tapped Algorand as the digital ledger behind its new Flex NBA product, a National Basketball Association-licensed board game that uses augmented reality. Flex NBA is a turn-based board game with similar mechanics to Catan that’s played with a physical board in combination with a mobile app. Players assemble their own roster using “Flexagons,” which are physical collectible tiles that represent different NBA players also expressed digitally on the game’s companion app. The Flexagons are brought to life within the app through augmented reality technology and can be upgraded to create more value within the game. Sequoia Games inserting augmented reality into a traditional board game setting is one of many recent examples of companies using blockchain to reimagine gaming.
Facebook is launching a big recruiting drive to help construct the’metaverse,’ a futuristic new 3D version of the Internet that people may inhabit physically. The company wants online interactions in the metaverse to be similar to those in the real world. At its heart is the idea that by creating a greater sense of ‘virtual presence,’ online interaction can become much closer to the experience of interacting in person. The’metaverse’ will allow people to be physically present in a virtual world using technologies such аs virtuаl reаlity аnd аugmented reаlity. Users will be аble to log in аnd hаve аny reаl-life sociаl experience in virtuаl reаlity, such аs аttending а live music concert, hаving а business meeting, or hаnging out with friends аround а cаmpfire, аccording to the compаny. Rаther thаn conversing with grids of fаces, they would be аble to sit with others ‘in person’ thаnks to digitаl 3D аvаtаrs. The goаl is for the metаverse to one dаy encompаss both the physicаl аnd virtuаl worlds, with its own economy. Facebook plans to hire 10,000 workers across the EU to work on the big initiative over the next five years.
- Startup Rooom, which just recently emerged from stealth mode has created the immersive digital environments for IFA 2020, accommodating 200,000+ virtual attendees at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic for one of the biggest consumer electronics trade shows in the world. It’s also doing virtual events for Augmented World Expo, Deutsche Telekom, PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and Vodafone. The key: delivering web-based 3D experiences that are cross-platform for virtually any device. So many technologies are just 2D platforms for sharing video, which is not that engaging. And some others just do it in a very VR-headset focused way. The problem is 2D is not that engaging, and the VR headset makes it necessary to have special, sometimes expensive devices. The metaverse, is already all around, connecting as many different people, businesses, and parts of life as possible. In other words, it’s the internet.
- And the internet is designed to be used for both high-res immersion and lower-resolution suck-from-a-straw toe-dipping. On one hand, a VR headset can be used and so virtual reality is right on the headset. And it just works on almost every VR headset because Rooom is using a technology — it’s called WebGL and OpenXR by Khronos Group. So it works right in the browser, no matter what kind of device. On the other hand, users can utilize and use 3D right in the browser also, quite easy, no installation necessary with a little bandwidth. That works for Rooom when it’s building virtual events or virtual spaces for its clients.
ImagineAR Inc., a provider of AR solutions that enable sports teams, businesses and enterprises to create their own AR mobile campaigns, has launched its new ImagineAR SDK 1.4 and ImagineAR Cloud 1.3. The two new major product platforms include significant enhancements and improvements to help deliver optimal fan and consumer experiential engagements. The ImagineAR SDK Version 1.4 can integrate natively with both iOS and Android mobile apps, and this release introduces a new AR scavenger hunt feature that includes functionality such as player progress bars during hunts, improved player reward functions, and new unique clue cards for each client scavenger hunt game. ImagineAR stated that with the new SDK features, sports teams and businesses will be able to create their own scavenger hunts for global audiences, with prizes and rewards unique to each geographic region. The ImagineAR Cloud version 1.3 now has enhanced self-publishing content management system functions and real-time analytics.
Facebook has announced a $50 million fund that it says will help it develop the metaverse more responsibly. It’s officially called the XR Programs and Research Fund, and the company says it’ll be invested into “programs and external research” over the course of two years. Facebook calls the metaverse the “next computing platform” and says that the company will be working with policymakers, researchers, and industry partners while building it. The company describes “metaverse” as “virtual spaces where you can create and explore with other people” that you’re not physically with, spread out over a variety of products and services. Facebook says the fund’s goal is to make sure it builds its part of the metaverse with an eye towards compatibility with other services, as well as inclusivity, privacy, safety, and “economic opportunity.” Right now, Facebook’s metaverse biggest metaverse program is a platform called Horizon, which exists as a beta Oculus app that lets people have VR meetings.
TRIPP, XR wellness and digital psychedelic platform, is launching on Nreal’s mixed reality glasses in Japan, Korea, Hong Kong, Germany and Spain. TRIPP is pioneering an integrated approach to self-care and wellness across VR, mobile and now AR. With VR, TRIPP places users in beautiful immersive environments that they cannot experience in real life, making for a deeper connection to self. Now, with AR, TRIPP is expanding to create experiences that change the way people perceive and interact with their environment, ultimately exploring ways to drive connection to others, in community. At $19.99 a year and available on Oculus and PlayStation VR, TRIPP VR provides an accessible stress management solution as people transition back to work in the new normal. By expanding TRIPP’s offering to AR platforms internationally, users can experience the benefits of TRIPP on a broader set of device form factors wherever they are. Users can access the first of these AR offerings on Nreal mixed reality glasses, which feature psychedelic-inspired visuals that open up via portals, as well as targeted sound frequencies, breathing exercises, and mini-games eliciting greater present-moment awareness — all layered onto your reality through the glass lens.
- Real-time payment fraud prevention platform INETCO has launched INETCO BullzAI, which combines a web application firewall with a real-time payment fraud detection and blocking system in one elegant solution. INETCO BullzAI enables merchants, issuers, acquirers and processors to detect and surgically block fraudulent payment transactions before they complete – something other fraud solutions cannot detect or action until after the transaction completes. It can detect and block individual transactions in milliseconds, without interrupting legitimate payments. The benefits include fewer false declines, reduced fraud losses, increased customer satisfaction and revenue, and reduced back-office costs for disputes and chargeback processing.
- Instead of this fragmented approach, INETCO BullzAI captures, decodes, correlates and analyzes each payment transaction as well as every one of the message fields in real-time, from start to finish. Using this data, INETCO BullzAI is able to detect anomalies in a transaction using a card/customer specific machine-learning model paired with behavioral analytics. This enables real-time risk scoring for every individual customer – instantly updated every time a transaction occurs. The result is greater precision and timeliness in fraud detection and reduced false positives and false negatives. INETCO BullzAI can either replace or augment an existing payment fraud detection solution. BullzAI has the potential to significantly reduce the impact of payment fraud and to help customers provide the best possible experience to their customers.
- Aurora Mobile Limited, a leading mobile developer service provider in China, has successfully applied its push notification service JPush into a self-developed demo game on the popular Roblox video game platform. This marks a significant progress on innovative virtual technology shaping its expansion into the virtual realm for JPush Services. With this breakthrough capability and new development for the “metaverse concept”, players in a game can send virtual messages to one another’s mobile phones in the real world, thus breaking the dimensional barrier and enabling conversations to happen in real time. This is how real-time communication can function in a metaverse video game:
- The metaverse system pushes information to a mobile phone in real time, sending reminders before the start of a car race.
- After receiving the message, a player puts on virtual reality equipment and sends game invites to other players via the virtual system.
- If any players cannot participate or run into obstacles in the metaverse game, they can ask for assistance by sending messages from the virtual world to the real world.
- Winners can also send real-time messages to the real world using advanced push technology to celebrate victories with other players, and receive messages back to their virtual inboxes.
- Aurora Mobile has successfully demonstrated some of these transmission scenarios for gaming in real time in its self-developed race cars video game demo on the Roblox platform. With the virtual push technology developed by Aurora Mobile, game developers can use JPush services to provide the information linkage between virtual reality gaming systems and mobility devices in the real world.