The African agenda at Facebook’s 2018 F8 Developer Conference

The Annual Facebook F8 Developer conference took place on the 18th and 19th of April 2017, and the technologies, ideas and future of Facebook that were discussed was some serious food for thought. How will the proposed plans for Augmented Reality roll out? What does Facebook Spaces bring and will it be a success? More importantly, how will these innovative ideas which are data intensive be rolled out across developing countries in Africa?

The conference which took place in San Jose, California included several updates on some really exciting developments in Facebook. Using Virtual Reality, Facebook is looking to create a virtual hang out space, where you can move around as an avatar in different rooms. It will allow you to draw, use 360 degree videos and also interact with the people in the room as well. It seems to be a spinoff of an IMVU type of platform.

 


A big focus of the conference was the use of the camera. In particular, how the buzz around Augmented Reality will integrate with Facebook. It was suggested at the conference that much like most AR apps, you will be able to create images that stand up and are interactive through using the video functionality on Facebook.

Much of the conference focused on the iteration of Facebook’s current platforms. An example is the improvement of chat bots on Facebook, where it will be far more interactive, and also a search functionality will be used to find businesses that have bots.

The conference was attended by over 4000 people, but also live streamed across the world. The F8 Developer Conference also exists as a platform for developers to come together, discuss and innovate. Facebook have developed a ‘Developers Circle” where ordinary people can join and build apps that could potentially be used. The facilities have been available in West Africa, which is encouraging.

 

The African agenda at these type of conferences are always hard to follow as to how they fit into the picture. A big discussion revolved around the use of QR codes for Facebook, but it’s not a concept that has taken off in most African countries. It’s a constant negotiation for companies such as Facebook to be inclusive when they are creating ideas. In fairness, Facebook has really taken big leaps to increase Wi-Fi access, by planning to expand its amount of users through funding the laying of fiber-optic cables.

 

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