One of the key aspects of our developing metaverse is augmented reality, which allows us to blend our lived experience with the virtual world. So I was especially interested to chat to Allison Ferenci on last week’s episode of Metaverse, as she’s engaging in groundbreaking work in this field as Camera IQ’s co-founder and CEO. Founded in 2016, Camera IQ is the world’s first augmented reality platform for camera marketing. Working with top brands such as Nestle EA and Atlantic Records, the company quickly and easily creates augmented reality experiences for various social platforms including Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Allison first became interested in how technology could bridge our online and offline worlds through her exploration of the intersection between design, architecture and human interaction; it was fascinating to gain her insights into how this rapidly developing field is shaping the future of the metaverse.
Allison sees augmented reality as a gateway to the metaverse: the mass adoption of the tech has come into play via social media and games. The cameras on our phones are much more than just passive vehicles for image capture: they’re “smart”; they can recognise our faces and can be patched into machine learning algorithms. We’ve already all grown accustomed to using these smart lenses in our daily life. They allow us to connect to others and insert ourselves into a virtual world already through games we play and ways we communicate– and the pandemic only “accelerated us living our lives to the lens of the camera.” So it’s easy to see how going deeper into that kind of engagement is the next logical step.
The AR experiences being created on Camera IQ’s platform offer “the first keyhole” into our new virtual world, where we’ll be able to map content in a persistent, shared way. As such, such experiences will be critical for brands to allow their consumers to engage in a thoroughly modern way. Although Allison doesn’t believe metaverse marketing will completely upend the traditional marketing model, she does believe it will be a fundamental part of any brand’s holistic marketing approach, something we will see built into strategies. So we’ll see brands consistently reaching consumers via the metaverse in addition to existing methods of direct mail, social media, and print.
Allison explained that AR offers the “best place to get started” for businesses hoping to dip their toe into the metaverse since AR users are presently growing at a 30% annual rate. So as a space for testing and learning, it’s the lowest barrier to entry. Further, since “AR is just VR with the lights out,” anything built in AR can then be repurposed for a virtual environment.
Brands that really dig into the full offerings of AR in a way that stays authentic to their vision will reap the greatest rewards. In particular, Allison singled out Smashbox cosmetics as a standout client taking advantage of the new technology in creative, fun ways, like creating
effects for Halloween and Pride. She also touched on the exciting new developments for creative artists, like how live performances have been performed within the game, Fortnite.
Looking forward, Allison believes the biggest challenges are to keep the big picture in mind– for brands to build strategies that are permanent, not just a “pop up” or “limited edition” type idea, so that they can continue to grow and evolve. She is hopeful that the metaverse will bring “a big unlock of our on and offline worlds,” creating “a persistent shared experience” that will ultimately allow us to be more present and more human.
From Roblox to AR donut glasses, our conversation took a number of edifying and enjoyable turns. The future of AR is already here, but to consider where it might take us and how it might unfold, do check out the rest of my exciting conversation with Allison here.