Verizon, Snap Team Up on the First Ever 5G Landmarker Lens

A 3D Bitmoji of Black Pumas’ Eric Burton ‘performs’ in front of the New York Public Library

Flora and fauna explode from the sidewalks of Fifth Avenue Verizon/Snap Inc.

Verizon agreed to become Snap Inc.’s official 5G innovation partner last November, and the latest initiative to come out of this union is a landmarker lens with several firsts.

The landmarker, for the New York Public Library Main Branch, will mark the first ever 5G landmarker lens, the first full song to be used in a Snapchat lens and the first 3D Bitmoji music performance.

Starting Nov. 20, Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband customers with 5G smartphones can stand by the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and use the 5G landmarker lens to watch a 3D Bitmoji of Eric Burton of Black Pumas dance to the band’s entire hit song, “Colors,” as flora and fauna explode from the sidewalks of Fifth Avenue.

Verizon/Snap Inc.

Verizon/Snap Inc.

Snap said the 5G lens is 10 times the usual file size, which is why 5G is needed to view it, and it features more than four minutes of content made up of highly complex augmented reality graphics, animations, textures and a motion-capture rendering of Burton for the 3D Bitmoji.

The Bitmoji was developed by using Verizon Media’s RYOT‘s motion-capture technology to track Burton’s movements via digital sensors,

The 5G lens is available exclusively to Verizon 5G customers with 5G devices, but a scaled-down 4G version will roll out that same day for all Snapchatters, and they do not have to physically be at the New York Public Library to use the lens.

In the roughly one year since Verizon became Snap’s official 5G innovation partner, collaborative efforts between the two companies have included:

  • A lens for Super Bowl LIV that highlighted the benefits of Verizon 5G technology for firefighters (the lens itself was not 5G).
  • Both companies were featured at Apple’s iPhone 12 Pro event, which showcased Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network and demonstrated how LiDAR (light detection and ranging) enables increasingly advanced AR experiences on Snapchat.
  • Verizon’s new “5G Built Right” campaign features Snapchat as the innovation partner for AR and includes retail placement in 12,000 stores nationwide.

  • Verizon is sponsoring Snap Originals including First Person, which is shot entirely using Snap’s Spectacles camera sunglasses, as well as Move It!, which premieres Nov. 28, and Fake Up, which will debut Dec. 26.. A Spectacles offer for VZ Up customers will kick off Dec. 9.
  • Snapchat has been preloaded on Verizon’s flagship Android devices for the past year.

The two companies said future plans include a marker tech experience with renowned restaurant Gjelina in Venice, Calif.; a new 5G landmarker lens in early 2021 at a not-yet-determined location in San Francisco; Bitnoji keyboard integration with the Verizon Messenger application; and Verizon’s sponsorship of an AR creator fund to support creators developing additional 5G use cases with Snap’s AR technology.

Snap chief strategy officer Jared Grusd said in a statement, “At Snap, we’re always looking for ways to push the envelope with augmented reality. 5G’s increased speeds and lower latency means that we can do more with AR than ever before, and innovation partners like Verizon are helping us transition seamlessly into this new world. Together, we are creating and scaling incredible new experiences, and it starts with this new landmarker lens.”

Verizon senior vice president of consumer marketing and products Frank Boulben added, “There’s no better way to demonstrate the sheer power of Verizon 5G Ultra Wideband than by creating unique experiences that align with consumers’ interests and take them to places they never imagined possible. The 5G landmarker lens is an example of how 5G can redefine music experiences through AR. We look forward to bringing more of these new, creative customer experiences to life via our partnership with Snap.”


david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.
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