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‘Augmented Reality quickly expanding into a very wide range of use cases’: Snap co-founder Bobby Murphy

Snap’s co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Bobby Murphy discussed the increasing importance of AR in the Indian market in an exclusive interview with Here are edited excerpts from the interaction

Written by Shruti Dhapola | New Delhi |
Updated: November 17, 2021 3:10:27 pm
Snapchat, Snap, Snap AR, Snapchat Flipkart, Snapchat Bobby Murphy, Snapchat co-founderSnapchat co-founder Bobby Murphy on stage during the company's Snap in India Summit. (Image credit: Snapchat)

As it hits over 100 million users in India, Snap, the parent company for Snapchat, sees Augmented Reality (AR) as the next big driver for growth and increasing adoption in the market. Snap’s co-founder and Chief Technology Officer Bobby Murphy discussed the increasing importance of AR in the Indian market in an exclusive interview with Here are edited excerpts from the interaction

On key trends and growth in the Indian market, especially around the adoption of Snapchat’s AR-driven Lenses: 

Our big milestone announcement is that we’ve reached 100 million Snapchatters in India. This is largely a testament to the tremendous work of our team based in India as well as our team members outside of India who are supporting a lot of the local partnerships with organisations and companies. We’ve seen engagement happening around augmented reality not only within Snapchat but also in other apps that we’re working with.

We’ve also seen some real success stories with local creators reaching really significant audiences, in some cases billions of views. And then, ultimately, they have capitalised on their success and are able to work on behalf of different brands and companies, musicians, and even Hollywood Studios.

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What is the future of AR adoption in India, skilling programs that Snap has undertaken in India? 

India is one of our best examples of the success of our ecosystem from all sides. It shows how AR can be used as an educational tool and a way to learn more about the world around them. Augmented Reality represents this upcoming shift in our ability to create and then experience software applications in a totally new way. It is actually much more in line with the way we as humans naturally behave and imagine the world around us.

We’ve done a number of Lens Studio workshops, Lensathons, which are basically international lens hackathons. We are seeing across the industry that augmented reality is representing a really fascinating new career opportunity for technology enthusiasts. It is accessible even from a young age but scales all the way up to really, really advanced, incredibly immersive, and interactive experiences as well.

How Lens creators are performing on the platform and the business opportunities that AR represents: 

We’ve seen a lion’s share of engagement around Augmented Reality being rooted in what we would call creative expression. These are Lenses that are really funny and entertaining and represent ways to express oneself. We’ve seen success stories of Lens creators local to India. For instance, a student Jagmeet Singh has seen his Lenses get over a billion views. The Smoke Flare Lens from India saw over 30 billion views.

But now we also have integrations coming up with Flipkart, and other e-commerce brands where people are kind of recognising that AR is a way to help consumers shop and visualise products before they buy them. AR is quickly expanding into a very wide range of use cases. We fully expect that over the next handful of years, more and more businesses will realise that AR is a fantastic way to create highly differentiated customer experiences. I think as that starts to happen more and more, the types of skills that early Lens creators are building will be increasingly in demand.

How does Lens Studio tool make it easy for creators to adopt AR?

One of the huge benefits of Lens Studio is that this is a tool and a platform that allows anybody to create an AR experience. They can then deploy it seamlessly without any extra work across both iOS and Android user bases. Our team has continued to do a huge amount of work into ensuring that our AR technology works as seamlessly as possible across as many different device types.

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