Technology 3 min read

Augmented Reality Snapchat Patent Means New Possibilities for e-Commerce

Ink Drop |

Ink Drop |

A recently published Snapchat patent protects a system for making augmented reality smoother while requiring less processing power. What will this mean for e-Commerce?

This Snapchat patent, which was filed almost two years ago and published last week, would protect an AR methodology that would allow an AR device (either a smartphone app or a set of AR glasses) to work with GPS, a user captured image, and limited, preset facade data to ensure a smoother transition of AR objects into the visual plane. This is loosely detailed in the graphic below.

Snapchat | U.S. Patent Office

With over $1.7 billion USD of investment thrown at AR since January 2016, one has to wonder how e-Commerce will be affected by the proliferation of these technologies. According to Digi-capital, this number is over 25x higher than the AR investment total in 2014. Snapchat’s methodology opens the door to more practical interaction with the AR plane.

e-Commerce Using Augmented Reality

As we’ve covered before, AR allows you to take e-Commerce to the next level. Shoppers, using revolutionary AR apps, can try on clothes from afar and see what different paint colors will look like on their living-room walls. With IKEA‘s AR app, you can even drop virtual couches into your parlor to see how they fit.

Sure, a lot of this AR investment is into the gaming side of things. You don’t have to look past Magic Leap‘s highly-anticipated system to see where most of the money is going–Magic Leap has received the lion’s share (~$800 million USD).

But it seems that Magic Leap might make room for e-Commerce outside of gaming as well, as the guys over at Mashable found that a Snapchat tool was included in some Magic Leap footage back in April 2016. Later, in July, Magic Leap released an AR shopping demo in China, which you can check out below.

One could even argue that the e-Commerce side of AR and VR could take the technology to the next level. Most people assume VR and AR is all about gaming, but pursuing that side of the spectrum hasn’t panned out well for the VR market.

For retailers struggling to keep their brick-and-mortar stores open, we and many others have argued that e-Commerce, and perhaps AR as well, should be a part of the business’s adaptation plan.

Security Concerns for the Snapchat Patent

At Edgy, one of our priorities is staying aware of all of the new technologies that could potentially threaten our privacy and informational security.

As we discussed, this new Snapchat service would rely heavily on geolocation. What does this mean in the context of privacy concerns and Big Data collection? The patent application mentions that the app will work with a very limited set of facade data to build the user’s environment, but won’t that data grow? Is the app allowed to capture additional data from the user input?

Almost $2 billion USD have been invested in AR since Q1 2016.Click To Tweet

All of the questions will have to be considered in order to build a strong ethical framework for the management of these AR applications, especially as it relates to e-commerce. So what do you think? What sort of things are you looking to shop for with AR?

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