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In today’s world, businesses utilise a tremendous amount of data and analysis to establish strategies and arrange plans. However, we find ourselves facing a fundamental disconnect between digital data and the physical world in which we apply it- the strategies established may not be efficient, and the business plans may fall apart during execution.

Augmented Reality (AR) is developed on the basis of narrowing this gap and unlocking untapped and unique capabilities for businesses and our lives. Unlike Virtual Reality (VR), AR is a set of technologies that superimposes digital data and images on the physical world without creating a virtual world. Many people may already be familiar with simple AR entertainment applications, such as filters from Snapchat, but are in the dark about AR’s potential for businesses.

Snapchat is the brainchild of Snap Inc. Its success brought AR into everyone’s sights. Hussein Freijeh, General Manager of Snap Inc. in the MENA region, explains that over 85 per cent of Snapchatters in MENA interact with lenses every day. By embedding AR in the app that is essentially connected to the real world, users can present themselves with creativity and joy without being lost in virtuality.

As the core technology driving value for every user of the Snapchat app, AR enables immersive experiences that bring real utility to people’s day-to-day lives. It fills the responsibility of being an open and real platform for people to express, interact, and build strong ties between communities for them to thrive.

It seems that most of the population has gone on to explore the possibilities of this technology. Yet, only limited brands have realised that AR is not just for entertainment, with 90 per cent of brands worldwide thinking it is primarily for fun, according to a report by IPSOS.

However, in the UAE and Saudi Arabia, the situation is different, with 84 per cent of brands that use AR believing it helps to drive sales, acquire new customers and drive performance metrics. With the endless potential to fuel end-to-end consumer journeys, it enables businesses to deliver a message that is unique to their brand.

“More than 250 million people use AR on Snapchat everyday,” says Freijeh, “this is the time when businesses have to come in, understand it and acknowledge it.”

With 20 million monthly users in Saudi Arabia later this year, Snap Inc. is set to launch a Creator Studio in Riyadh to support its highly engaged local community, help empower and educate the next generation of creators, and inspire them about the possibilities of using the Snap camera across the arts, education, and cultural sectors. The Studio strives to improve how local people live and communicate through visual self-expression and storytelling and provides its creators and partners with tools to help them achieve their goals by unlocking the true potential of AR.

By designing technology that’s connected to the real world, Snap Inc. aims to bring with it the vitally important parts of humanity - creativity, friendship, love, joy, while simultaneously enhancing relationships with friends, families and the places around us.