Facebook recently held their F8 Developers Conference and revealed the company's ten-year plan, which - amongst many other announcements - pointed to three pillars of innovation and drive that will forever change the way we communicate with brands.
Virtual Reality & Augmented Reality
In Facebook's continued efforts to connect the world through the internet (and Facebook), the tech giant announced the Aquila project, which will carry out plans to deploy high-altitude drones in developing countries to help get them connected to wireless internet.
In addition to physical internet connectivity, Facebook revealed a new live video tool that can combine audio and video from different sources to add effects and share live video streams. Facebook live video can be integrated with other hardware devices, including drones - which we are particularly excited about and will start playing at Lab very shortly!
Facebook is currently running 50 times more AI experiments than this time last year.
Facebook’s applied machine learning team is running a remarkable 50x more artificial intelligence experiments than this time in 2015. One of the most exciting AI announcements from the F8 Conference was the introduction of chatbots, which will alter the way we communicate with brands and the way brands communicate with their customers forever...if they get the tech right.
Messenger was the star of the show at this year's F8, which is opening up a whole new world for ecommerce. CEO Mark Zuckerberg announced plans to expand the Facebook messaging app by providing tools for developers to build "chatbots".
Chatbots are software programs powered by artificial intelligence which are intended to simulate human interactions. They pop up on the Facebook messaging service when users prompt them to perform simple tasks, essentially taking messaging one step further by answering questions in a more "human way".
Chatbots will change the way we interact with products and services, making it possible to text Dominos to get your pizza, check in for flights, get a weather update from an animated cat or message the flower shop to send a gift to a friend or loved one. Zuckerberg used 1-800 Flowers as an example during his presentation, joking that you'll never need to dial 1-800-Flowers again to order from 1-800 Flowers.
We know that there are still a few kinks to work out, but the ecommerce possiblities with chatbots are worth looking beyond a few early-release hiccups. This means greater opportunities for brands to have more meaningful interactions with their consumers, increased brand loyalty and problem-solving capabilities without the hassle of dialing busy customer service lines. It is just one more step in helping brands create a truly remarkable user experience.
Facebook’s virtual reality team is poised to release a revolutionary headset later this year that will allow the user to touch and interact with people in a virtual space. “This will allow a whole new layer of immersion, a whole new set of social experiences across all these VR platforms … experiences you can’t have with any existing platform today,” said Zuckerberg.
Facebook's previous release of the Oculus Rift gaming device marked one of the most exciting advancements in augmented reality tech, but new innovations will take VR into a space beyond gaming. With the new social-VR tech, Facebook has ambitions to enable intimate social interactions, replacing FaceTime as the ultimate way to stay connected with loved ones over long distances. The new headsets will also give users the opportunity to explore parts of the world never accessible to them before.
Two executives showed off a demo version of new VR tech live at the F8 conference, exploring London via 360-degree photos that allowed the users to manipulate objects in their virtual trip across the pond. For social media fanatics, this means that you could eventually take a selfie in a location 5,000 miles away without ever leaving your own living room.
In a play to create more content for the Oculus VR system, Facebook has successfully built a prototype and will release the design and software code for a 17-camera system that films in high quality, 3D, 360 degree ‘spherical’ video and fish-eye lens that will help generate high quality panoramic photos.
We love the innovation happening in the digital world and can't wait to start using it ourselves...