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Facebook takes Augmented Reality mainstream and doubles down on Messenger Bots

Facebook takes Augmented Reality mainstream and doubles down on Messenger Bots

 
Object recognition, Facebook's refined ability to know what you're pointing your camera at

Object recognition, Facebook's refined ability to know what you're pointing your camera at

Yesterday Facebook announced major platform updates in Messenger, and a new Augmented Reality platform that both have great significance to media, entertainment and sports. 

 

Camera Effects: making AR mainstream?

AR has been exciting for a long time, but there has only been one Pokemon Go - a transitory but seductive view of the future. Now, via a free Facebook tool called AR Studio (currently in closed beta), third parties will be able to create their own Camera Effects. Using a technique called SLAM, the new camera feature found in Facebook, Instagram, Messenger and WhatsApp will be able to detect surfaces and objects; allowing us to 'project' masks, animations, live sports scores, fantasy scores and other data into the virtual world. No headset or special glasses needed. 

Information Overlays, virtual objects for gaming and enhancing real-world objects such as buildings. 

Information Overlays, virtual objects for gaming and enhancing real-world objects such as buildings. 

AR Studio is a 3D tool that will be familiar to users of Unity or Unreal. It supports standard sharing of ephemeral video segments within Stories, and integrates with Facebook Live. Support in the various apps will roll out over the coming months. 

Open to developers and creatives

There are AR toolkits out there already and some of this has been possible before. However, it wasn't built into the world's biggest social network(s), and it wasn't an open platform. Now it's both, and that's a game changer. Snapchat's new lenses will deliver very high quality mixed reality and no doubt provide further inspiration to Facebook much larger machine. Read Facebook's full blog post on the new AR features here.

Take-away: Facebook, if they succeed, will make Augmented Reality mainstream, and with it a host of new creative entertainment and sports possibilities

 

Messenger Platform 2.0 - Fixing Discovery

Building on the growth of Messenger, now with 1.2 billion active users globally, a raft of new features focus on making the platform a better place for businesses of all kinds to engage with consumers.

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The inclusion of a new 'Discover' section in Messenger should solve one of the major challenges with bots - how to discover them. It's basically the Bot Store. Facebook is serious about providing businesses with ways to transact with consumers.

There will also be a new Games tab, with turn-based games getting some focus, and also a new way to scan Facebook's variant on QR codes - with a much better looking visual icon and an app that most people already have, maybe there's life in that old idea yet. 

Take-away: There is now a Bot Store, making it easier to get your bot used, and QR codes may have risen from the dead

Group chat bots - turn groups of fans into customers

A welcome feature for many, bots can now provide input into any conversation using a feature called Chat Extensions. Basically you can bring people together around a task or shared experience - like watching sports or booking tickets, or competing in a game. Or, as we think, doing more than one of those things at a time.

Booking travel in chat groups

Booking travel in chat groups

Whats exciting about this is converging entertainment and commerce. Play and interact together, then buy. For those who want to convert passionate fans into customers, to sell tickets for example, we believe this offers an new opportunity to develop both communities and sales. 

Take-away: group chat is good for businesses that want to make collective purchasing more seamless

 

HELLO! Magazine to use Monterosa's FanBot in search for "Star Mum"

HELLO! Bot2.jpg
 
Facebook Messenger is soon going to be a powerful tool for publishers and I’m thrilled HELLO! is leading the way, using the expertise of Monterosa and their new FanBot voting product
— Rosie Nixon, Editor-in-Chief, HELLO!

HELLO! Magazine to use Monterosa's FanBot in search for "Star Mum"

HELLO! Magazine is teaming up with Monterosa to crown the nation’s ‘Star Mum’ in honour of Mother’s Day, using Monterosa’s FanBot to power live voting in Facebook Messenger.

The HELLO! Bot will feature a public vote to choose one of five Mums to be crowned the best in the UK. Powered by Monterosa’s groundbreaking FanBot and Messenger, the chatbot utilises our award-winning cloud platform, LViS, to create and manage the vote and will present each of the five fabulous mums in an easy-to-use Messenger conversation.

As an existing Facebook Media Solutions partner, Monterosa, has extensive experience delivering high-profile, live fan interaction products for leading media owners, brands and sports rights holders. Having just launched HappyBot, for BBC Earth; a brand new bot in Messenger which serves up tailored video montages, we are at the forefront of utilising Messenger bots to help brands engage meaningfully with their fans.

A panel of celebrity judges made up of Olympic Champion Rebecca Adlington, singer Kimberley Walsh, Loose Women panellist and model Penny Lancaster, BBC news anchor Kate Silverton and HELLO! blogger Jessica Knowles, has been busy narrowing down a longlist of 40 publicly nominated amazing mums-in-a-million to the shortlist of just five who will be featured in the vote.

The winning Mum will receive a fabulous prize including an overnight stay for two at the five-star Mandarin Oriental hotel in London, plenty of pampering, tickets to a West End show and the opportunity to experience what it’s like to be in the spotlight by starring in their very own HELLO! photo shoot.

Rosie Nixon, Editor-in-Chief, HELLO!: “I'm really excited about this unique collaboration between HELLO! and Facebook - it marks a special 'event' for us, and a first in magazine publishing. The icing on the cake is that we are pioneering some new technology at the same time. Facebook Messenger is soon going to be a powerful tool for publishers and I'm thrilled HELLO! is leading the way, using the expertise of Monterosa and their new FanBot voting product for our 'Star Mum' competition. It promises to make voting a fun and smooth process for users.”

Tom McDonnell, CEO, Monterosa: “With over a billion monthly active users globally, Facebook Messenger is growing in popularity. It provides a fantastic way to involve audiences in content and interactivity without the need for new apps. This is a great opportunity for Monterosa to showcase the live voting capabilities of our new FanBot product and to work with such a high profile publisher HELLO!”.

To cast a vote for the HELLO! Star Mum, simply search for HELLO! in Facebook Messenger or click HERE now

BBC Earth reconnects audiences with nature through new bot for Facebook Messenger with personalised video montages

 
‘Real Happy Moments’ is a groundbreaking bot for Messenger which serves up individually tailored video montages
 
We’re excited to partner with a leader in digital innovation like Monterosa, so that our fans can – for the first time – create personalised moments of Real Happiness and share them online
— Alex Ayling, Head of Digital Studios, BBC Worldwide

BBC Earth reconnects audiences with nature through new bot for Facebook Messenger with personalised video montages

‘Real Happy Moments’ bot to draw on BBC’s natural history archive, delivering clips to nature lovers globally

We're very pleased to announce that BBC Earth, the BBC’s global factual brand, has partnered with Monterosa to deliver ‘Real Happy Moments’, a groundbreaking bot for Messenger which serves up individually tailored video montages for natural history lovers globally.

We've delivered the solution based on our pioneering new FanBot™ product, which taps into Messenger’s growing user base of more than a billion monthly active users. Running on Monterosa’s award-winning interaction platform LViS, FanBot is made for large scale usage, working simultaneously across territories. In addition to personalised video, it has the ability to entertain audiences with live interactivity including voting, ratings and predictions based on user preferences.

For the BBC Earth solution, the Bot asks users a short series of questions, creating a personalised Happiness Profile. It then correlates those user preferences with BBC archive footage to produce individual Real Happy Moments: personalised, sharable montages with scenes selected using intelligent tag matching. Available through Messenger at any time of the week, based on their specific preferences.

Each video clip contains the name and Facebook profile picture of the user. Deploying machine learning techniques, the Bot uses feedback via emojis to improve the algorithm. It comes just as American audiences are tuning into Planet Earth II, which premiered on BBC America in February and forms part of BBC Earth’s Real Happiness Project.

Bots for Messenger are growing in popularity as a convenient, conversational way for companies to communicate and serve content to consumers, and this is the first time a broadcaster has utilised archive footage and smart automated editing to create content for each user individually.

In order to start a ‘chat’ with BBC Earth, Facebook users simply need to follow the link, tap the Message button on the official Facebook page, or to search Messenger for bbcearth.

Alex Ayling, Head of Digital Studios, BBC Worldwide said “We’re always looking at new and innovative ways to bring BBC Earth’s vast archive of incredible natural history content to our audiences around the world. We’re excited to partner with a leader in digital innovation like Monterosa, so that our fans can – for the first time – create personalised moments of Real Happiness and share them online to give even more people a chance to enjoy their uplifting effect.

Tom McDonnell, CEO, Monterosa: “Personalisation, short-form video and bots are three of the hottest topics in entertainment. We’re thrilled to partner with the BBC to break new ground with the launch of FanBot, utilising the growing Messenger platform as a new channel for video and the BBC’s amazing natural history footage.”

Monterosa is an existing Facebook Media Solutions partner.

Start your chat with Real Happy Moments here

From engagement to affinity - do we need to stop worrying about views and likes?

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What if that briefest moment of their day is precisely how long that potential customer has spent thinking about, or engaging with, you?

From engagement to affinity -  do we need to stop worrying about views and likes?

We all want to be liked, right? Nowhere is this more true than on social media.

The rules of marketing have been almost entirely re-written in the past decade, and social or content is a massive focus of budget, time and energy for brands wanting to engage key audiences around sport and entertainment properties. Not long ago a few hundred, thousand or better still tens of thousands of, ‘likes’ of a Facebook post, Instagram image or Tweet had everyone in a marketing team congratulating themselves for a job well done. Not only had all of these people seen the hilarious/incredible/groundbreaking 140 characters, story, video or picture, but they had taken the time and liked it too! These are still positive barometers for how consumers feel about what brands create, but should we stop there or use this engagement to go further?

We believe that the world has moved on and what we can now do with this attention has evolved dramatically..

Reality has hit; all this effort and expense channeled into creating fabulous online content, but for what? Other than the rare (and probably unplanned) gem that goes truly viral – where is the value in a ‘view’ or a ‘like’ to a brand?  What if that briefest moment of their day is precisely how long that potential customer has spent thinking about, or engaging with, you?

And that’s what smart brands are looking for now – engagement and interaction. A meaningful relationship or affinity with their audience that adds genuine value and provides a measurable return on investment.

While the definition of ‘fan engagement’ may be unclear, ‘fan interaction’ is clear, definitive and measurably valuable. It’s what we do at Monterosa every day. The best digital fan interaction products provide experiences where repeated interactions can be created, linking a fan with his or her passion point and a brand. They look to create a valuable exchange, where a fan is able to benefit from digital interaction, putting them into a state of mind to greater appreciate a brand and its products. Be it giving fans a voice by voting on big moments or in key sporting tournaments, or playing an addictive game - competing alongside millions of other fans.

Fan interaction and ultimately getting into the palms of new audiences is vitally important for sports rightsholders, brands and entertainment organisations. Once we capture their attention, we take them on a journey leading to greater affinity, loyalty and conversion to sign-up or buy. Whether educating fans about a new sport, re-engaging a lapsed fan, or turning an event follower into a fanatic, it’s all about focussing on the interactions that deliver the best, most valuable experiences.

You see I don’t just want you to like me. I want us to be friends.

Ben Barker, Director of Sport

This article first appeared on DigitalSport.co