China’s leading Internet company Baidu launched an augmented reality (AR) lab in Beijing on Monday. The lab is being looked at as an attempt to rejuvenate and pick up the company’s declining profit rates with a dose of the newest technology. The project is a part of a venture which costs $200 million.
The lab will initially operate with 55 employees who would seek to derive revenue through AR marketing, and then later target health-care and education with the same intent.
Andrew Ng, the chief scientist supervising Baidu’s artificial intelligence, AR and deep learning projects, told Reuters:
AR marketing is taking off. There are few content formats where the content is evergreen—AR will be like that.
Popularized by Nintendo’s Pokemon Go game last year, augmented reality is a superimposition of computer generated image within real life setting, providing a composite display, which can be viewed through smartphones, headphones and other devices. It has uses in a vast variety of field and has also been found to have an exceptional scope in the field of marketing.
Baidu invested $200 million into its AI and AR unit in September for the sake of speeding up its growth, which was followed by an announcement of $3 billion the very next month, for the sake of mid-to-late stage startups.
In a statement the company revealed that they are currently working with KFC, BMW, L’Oreal’s Lancome and several others companies in China. The search engine behemoth started working on the technology two years ago, and is aiming to integrate it with artificial intelligence(AI) in order to take it one step ahead of the current AR games, where the integrated visuals will be capable of interacting with real-time surroundings.
It’s working quite well now, but it’s clear that it could be better. I’m quite optimistic.
For your knowledge, Augmented Reality is still under development in China, considering that the products of many foreign vendors are not allowed in the country. Pokemon Go for example, is yet to launch there. The location-based AR concept of the game has the potential of inviting security related problems, problems that China does not want in its country.