Niantic continues to place a strong bet on augmented reality technology that it believes is the next generation of computing, and this company has developed the popular augmented reality game Pokémon GO.
Although other major companies, such as: Apple, Facebook and Snap, share the betting on the startup on augmented reality technology, the size and capabilities of these companies exceed those of Niantic. But the latter depends on the massive success of Pokémon GO in enhancing its capabilities.
Since its launch in 2016, Pokemon Go has been a huge success. Contrary to expectations, 2020 – the year of the COVID-19 pandemic and the social impact of the pandemic – has been the best of the game, according to estimates by Analytics firm SensorTower. In 2020, the company is expected to generate more than $ 1 billion in revenue from the game.
The proceeds allowed Niantic to acquire several small augmented reality startups such as Escher Reality, Matrix Mill and most recently 6D.ai. The recent acquisition was a sign of the company’s upcoming augmented reality plan.
6D.ai specializes in building software for cloud mapping based on augmented reality technology, with other companies, such as: Airbnb. The technology allows users to quickly collect 3D information of the surrounding environment, just by photographing it with a smartphone.
Since its acquisition of 6D.ai, Niantic has integrated the technology into its developer platform and aims to leverage the technology to enhance its augmented reality capabilities by gathering accurate information about the world.
While the company is developing the technology, it is asking users to try it, as the company encourages Pokemon Go players to record videos of specific landmarks and destinations, with the aim of obtaining visual data that can be used to improve the experiences of subsequent users. In order to obtain high-quality data, the company relies on developing the capabilities of smart phone cameras, such as the iPhone 12 Pro from Apple, which has a sensor for 3D imaging.
The ultimate goal of collecting the data, Niantic said, is to build an ever-updating 3D map of the world. The modern technologies obtained by the company allow to distinguish between types of objects and scenes, by distinguishing – for example – between buildings, water, and the sky.