The National Program for Coders announced that it has partnered with Snap Inc. to empower Emirati university students to experience the power of augmented reality (AR) ahead of the UAE’s Golden Jubilee. Snap Inc. The camera company and global pioneer behind AR innovation, is providing 15 Emirati university students a unique opportunity to imagine the future and celebrate the 50th UAE National Day through AR.
H.E. Omar Sultan Al Olama, Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications, noted: “Building a technologically-advanced generation is a key direction for the Government of the UAE, which aims to enhance the role of creative technologies to serve the community and promote a sustainable knowledge economy, in line with the UAE’s 10 principles for the next 50 years.
Collaborating with private sector partners greatly facilitates these efforts. Announcing the new partnership ahead of the UAE’s Golden Jubilee represents an important opportunity for young people to share their visions and aspirations for the next 50 years. It will also enable them to explore how they can transform their ideas into AR-based applications that inspire them to actively participate in shaping the future of the country.”
The collaboration aims to support the government’s ongoing efforts to spur digital skills enhancement across the country, highlighting the potential for AR to be a key enabler of creative expression while adding entertainment and utility to people’s lives. A group of skilled professionals will work with the university students to cover the fundamentals of programming AR experiences, the tools available to bring their ideas from concept to materiality, and how to publish AR experiences in the global marketplace.
Hussein Freijeh, General Manager of Snap Inc. in the Middle East, said: “Today, innovative technologies are creating new value for businesses in the UAE while assisting governments in their strategic roadmaps and raising the quality of life across local communities. This will only accelerate moving forward. As the UAE looks to the next 50 years, we believe technologies like AR play a fundamental role in shaping the future of how people experience the world around them, combining what they see in the real world with all that’s available to them in the digital world.”
As part of the engagement, participants will be invited to create their own AR experience through Snap’s Lens Studio, a powerful application designed for global creators and developers to build augmented reality experiences. Each participant will be given the prompt to use AR to imagine the future of the UAE over the next 50 years. A selection of the resulting AR Lenses will then be published directly on Snapchat and made available to communities across the UAE.
In a recent report by Deloitte Digital and commissioned by Snap Inc., almost all UAE users of social and communication apps were predicted to be frequent AR users by 2025. Although AR is generally still seen as a “toy”, nearly 80% of respondents in the study expect and desire to use AR as a practical “tool” in their everyday lives.