Snap Inc. has announced its decision to discontinue the AR Enterprise project (ARES), emphasizing the challenges faced in keeping up with the rapid technological advancements and market shifts. Initially, Snap had envisioned leveraging its current mobile AR technology for this enterprise venture. However, they recognized the increasing need to invest in web-based augmented reality—a domain that’s technically intricate and seemingly less appealing to their clientele.
The rise of generative AI has also played a part in this decision. As generative AI simplifies the creation of virtual try-on experiences, it intensifies the competition, making it challenging for Snap to set their AR solution apart. The company’s focus has also been redirected to their primary advertising business due to changing business performances.
Although their enterprise AR strategy hit some snags, Snap remains dedicated to its CameraKit partners and its global user base who engage with its AR features. They’ve pinpointed promising avenues to expand their Sponsored AR segment on Snapchat, aiming to provide users with unparalleled AR experiences.
As a result of this strategic shift, while some members of the AR Enterprise team will transition to other roles within Snap, about 170 employees will be parting ways with the company. Snap has committed to offering these individuals severance packages, outplacement services, and potential opportunities in other open roles.
The commitment and efforts of the AR Enterprise team were lauded, with emphasis on the inherent risks and challenges in pioneering innovative solutions. Even though this venture didn’t pan out as anticipated, Snap highlighted the importance of experimentation in driving global innovation.
Snap’s decision underscores the relentless pace of the tech world and the importance of adaptability. While the AR Enterprise journey has concluded, it offers lessons about market dynamics, the transformative power of AI, and the value of risk-taking in innovation.