By Radha Dhar
Snapchat and Innovations
Snapchat seems to have taken over the social media scene today – dominating tech talks and occupying phone screens with its signature ‘flower-crown’ and ‘dog’ filters, this app has leapt far ahead, leaving others scrambling behind. So overwhelming is the emerging realm of social media apps, that we often forget Snap Inc. is only five years old. The company’s 26-year-old CEO, Evan Spiegel, is as elusive as his app’s iconic symbol, the ghost. Much like Snapchat itself, the busy visionary surfaces every so often, long enough to launch a surprising new product before vanishing to his secret hideout. One of these revelations happens to be the sunglass-cum-camera called Spectacles which has sparked talks of drones in the tech world. All of this comes at a crucial time as the company just went public, making it important for us to examine the company’s trajectory. Put on your spectacles, it’s time to get a closer look.
A Snapchat Story
Keeping in line with Snapchat’s trademark style, let’s make this short and sweet. Snapchat is an app for temporary photo messaging. In other words, any picture that you send gets deleted automatically after a fixed period of time. Snapchat has become famous for its Lenses technology that enables facial recognition for mobile cameras and applies trendy customizations to people’s faces.The company is also working on enhancing the Lenses to incorporate the element of reality, by displaying animation in real world settings.
Lights! Camera-Shades! Action!
The company has come a long way from 2016, when it changed its name to Snap Inc., in order to match the new tag of a “camera company” rather than limiting itself to the flagship Snapchat app service. Around the same time, Snap finally unveiled the much-awaited “Spectacles”, a device that provides trend-seekers with sunglasses that have inbuilt Snapchat-ready camera lenses, available for a mere $129. With just one press of a button, you could document your entire life on a social media platform. On the day of its release, these shades were sold exclusively at pop-up vending machines, an original distribution strategy that clearly reeled in sales, generating $400 million in annual revenue, according to Business Insider.
From Phone to Drone
However, Snap Inc. has not stopped there. Heady with the success of its new wearable device, the company is hard at work, taking a swing at creating drones. According to The New York Times, drones could “help Snap’s users to take overhead videos and photographs, and then feed that visual data to the company.”
Snapchat sees this the aerial drone imagery as a way to improve storytelling, use machine devices to convey confidential information, and enhance news reporting tactics. Snapchat, true to its clandestine self, has refused to reveal any information and everything, right from the research to the concrete plans have been kept top secret.
The IPO Aspect
Financial experts such as Santosh Rao, Head of Research at Manhattan Venture Partners, suggest that this exploration into wearables and drones is a way of showing diversification in their portfolio as a company. It is a way of showing investors that it is more than just a “one-trick pony” , a tag that did the circles during the company’s recent IPO (Initial Public Offerings) “We’re at the beginning of what cameras can do,” Spiegel told viewers of the video screened for investors before Snap Inc went public. With this series of unexpected moves, who knows what will pop next. In time, maybe, all we have to do is look up to find out.