Facebook Launches New Multi-Participant AR Effects Option for AR Developers

With interest in AR rising, and people becoming more accustomed to connection via video calls and virtual hangout tools, Facebook has today announced the next stage of its AR development options, with a new Multipeer API for digital effects, which will enable developers to build multi-participant AR experiences, which could have a range of implications. 

As you can see in these examples, the new Multipeer process will facilitate AR effects that can be shared in video calls, among several participants at one time. 

As explained by Facebook:

“While video calling has a long history, it has mostly consisted of a video channel coupled with an audio channel. Now, with the introduction of our Multipeer API, we’re introducing a data channel that will allow AR effects to communicate with each other seamlessly, across users and devices. We think this is a fundamental shift, one that will help move AR from a single user, single screen experience to a multi-user, multi-screen experience – and ultimately, unlock incredible new use cases for group AR effects.”

The development could facilitate a range of new opportunities for brands, in building participatory AR experiences that could enhance customer connection, and boost engagement with your digital offerings. The process could also provide new educational experiences, with in-built walkthroughs to help guide customers on processes, or enhanced Q and A sessions and fun, celebratory effects to boost branding.

And these will only become more relevant as AR moves to the next stage, with the development of AR glasses that will bring digital overlays and effects further into the mainstream. Indeed, recent research from Snapchat suggests that by 2025, almost 75% of the global population will be frequent AR users.

That may seem optimistic, but based on adoption trends, that’s where we’re headed – which means new AR tools like this will increasingly become the norm, and even the expectation among consumers.

As such, it’s worth considering how such tools could fit into your process, and what they might add to your branding and outreach.

Facebook’s new Multipeer API is now in beta testing, with all creators able to apply to participate in the initial development and testing. Applicants will need to be familiar with Spark AR Studio and have a comfortable working knowledge of JavaScript.

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