Facebook F8 Keynote Recap


April 18, 2017
Facebook F8 2017 Keynote Recap

Today, the much anticipated Facebook F8 conference kicked off at the McEnery Convention Center, where thousands of developers, open source contributors and startups conveyed to learn best practices around the Facebook open source tools and platforms.

In 2016, Facebook released key technologies like their Chatbot, open sourced 360 VR camera system and other open source solutions. This year during the keynote, Mark Zuckerberg laid out his ambitious ten year roadmap for Facebook as a company.

Facebook F8 2017 Keynote Recap


With Virtual and Augmented Reality, Chatbots, voice-activated Artificial Intelligence bots (think Alexa, Google Home and Siri) as growing tech markets, we had a strong feeling that we’d see something along those themes.

All the things

Mark Zuckerberg took stage to keynote the 2017 F8 conference and immediately started to jab at the Fast and Furious franchise’s “F8” movie and offered a few whimsical nerd jokes that lightened up the crowd.

Facebook F8 2017 Keynote Recap


Facebook goes well beyond social media

Facebook has been focusing on numerous technologies over the past decade, but it’s over the past few years that Facebook has opened up beyond social media and advertising. We left the keynote understanding the future as laid out by the Facebook team.

Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Chat, Games, Developer Communities and investing in Startups — all under the grand vision of bringing people closer together.

Augmented Reality

The majority of the talks during the Keynote revolved around Augmented Reality. As Zuckerberg stated, we all have the grand vision of putting on a pair of glasses for AR, but the real device that will power AR today will be smartphones, powered by cameras already installed on these ubiquitous devices.

Facebook F8 2017 Keynote Recap


As proven by Snapchat and Pokemon Go, our modern smartphones are already powerful enough to perform basic AR tasks, but these examples are really limited to small use cases.

Zuckerberg demonstrated that there are quite a few real-world uses for AR that extends beyond chasing Pokemon around your town. These uses include displaying information, overlaying digital objects on top of real ones, and enhancing existing objects.


The enhancements for AR come from Facebook’s latest enhancements in their SLAM (Simultaneous Localization and Mapping) technology, that is able to enhance existing scenes at framerates up to 60 frames per second.

Facebook F8 2017 Keynote Recap


It was demonstrated that Facebook’s object recognition technology is getting faster and smarter and is able to achieve 80 percent object recognition in 2017, up from 50 percent in 2015.

Beyond the basic demonstrations, Facebook opened up their Camera Effects (https://developers.facebook.com/docs/camera-effects) platform today, allowing developers worldwide to create their own AR filters. This move is poised to make Snapchat’s filters irrelevant in a year or two.

Facebook F8 2017 Keynote Recap


Facebook demonstrated a few demos with AR that allowed people to post virtual notes on things, leave virtual art on walls or even mark up a bar table as if you used a pair of keys to scratch a message.

Virtual Reality

Facebook demonstrated that VR and tying it to Social media is key for Facebook’s growth and retention strategy.


Facebook showed us a video that lays out how VR works within the Facebook platform and within the Messenger application. They laid out a vision where you could hold a virtual meeting with VR and even mix a VR avatar (Facebook Spaces) with someone’s live video for a Messenger video conference.

Facebook F8 2017 Keynote Recap


Messenger

Facebook launched Messenger chat bot in 2016 and has experienced over 1.2 billion people using the platform. As designed, many large organizations found value within this last year and use Messenger to enhance customer experience and increase sales. Facebook boasted numbers such as 100,000 bots on its network in addition to over 100,000 active chat bot developers.

Facebook F8 2017 Keynote Recap


Facebook took input from it’s 100,000 Messenger developers and included a few enhancements in their Messenger 2.0 platform, which was released today.

Facebook F8 2017 Keynote Recap


Messenger 2.0’s user interface enhancements include enhanced WebViews, support for Animated Gifs and sticky menus. Below the waterline, Facebook updated the AI engine to include support for smart replies, Parametric Codes 2.0 (their QR Code competitor) and something called Chat Extensions.


With Chat Extensions, you could integrate some features from your application with Messenger to allow easier app-to-messenger workflows, reducing the need to swap between applications.

We were treated to an example demonstration of Messenger 2.0’s integration with Delivery.com to allow easy ordering of food for a meal.


Developer communities

Facebook has increased its involvement with bringing developers together with what it calls Developer Circles.


This platform is designed to help people tackle problems revolving around specific areas of interest and even includes helping with organizing meetup events. It’s very likely that Facebook will grow this service beyond developers and become a threat to Meetup.com.

Investing in startups in the global economy

In today’s keynote, Facebook highlighted their commitment to helping startups get off the ground and delivering products as fast as possible. This is where the genius of the Facebook open source tools and platforms converge.


Facebook has been investing in open source technologies for years now. It is with these open source technologies, mixed with available platforms, such as Facebook, Messenger and their newly labeled Analytics that startups can realize their dreams faster and have more accurate insights into their customer base.

Wrapping up

This year’s F8 keynote was exciting and filled with visions of how AR, VR and Chatbots can help drive efficiencies for companies and communities. AR seems to be at the forefront of Facebook’s strategy for the next 12 months. While VR is promising, it is still clunky and has a much higher barrier to entry than AR, thus we predict that AR will get a much higher adoption rate. We think that Messenger will continue to grow as a key technology for businesses of any size in a multitude of industries, and Facebook has a proven track record of investing in the global community that helps people make the world a better place with its tools and platforms.


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Jay Garcia is co-founder and managing director at Modus Create. He is a U.S. Air Force veteran with 20 plus years of technology and consulting experience in leading RIA development for companies around the world. He is co-organizer of the NoVa.JS and NYC.JS meetups, and is actively involved in the software communities that provide business frameworks and technologies, which enable rich mobile and desktop web experiences.


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