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Focusing on positioning and AR, Facebook acquires Scape

The latest research report released by Strategy Analytics states that Facebook’s acquisition of visual positioning startup Scape Technologies in February 2020 is expected to improve Facebook’s work in maps and augmented reality (AR). The acquisition could pit Facebook against other location and mapping platforms like Google, HERE, Mapbox and TomTom. These companies all aim to provide next-generation maps to support real-world augmented reality experiences in various fields, while also assisting in the navigation of machines such as self-driving cars, robots and other connected objects.

David MacQueen, Executive Director at Strategy Analytics, said: “While Facebook has not commented on acquiring smaller companies, we believe Scape Technologies will transform Facebook’s work in AR. Scape Technologies will enable Facebook to improve context by enabling object detection in the real world. Sensing and environment understanding and timely localization and mapping (SLAM) to transform its current limited AR capabilities. This will open up a variety of use cases beyond Facebook’s current capabilities, such as AR multiplayer games, enhanced navigation capabilities, or anything capable of AR applications that drive value by enabling users to interact with the real world.”

Scape Technologies initially pitched visual localization as its primary use case, with the goal of enabling any machine or device with a camera to navigate and understand the real world.

Nitesh Patel, Director at Strategy Analytics, added: “Facebook must be seen as a potential competitor or partner to positioning companies such as Google, HERE, TomTom and Mapbox. These companies realize that visual positioning, machine mapping and computer vision are the next stage in the positioning industry. A key element in developing and delivering advanced location services. Both Google and HERE are testing visual location as an alternative to GPS, especially in urban environments that hinder GPS performance.”

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