What You Are About To Learn

In this article, we’ll walk you through the history of Augmented Reality. We’ll delve into how it may change how people consume and interact with branded products and experiences, and why AR can act as a steroid for any major business’ revenue. And yes! If you didn’t know, Augmented Reality is a key piece in the Metaverse explosion. (more on that to follow).

If you are curious about what exactly is the Metaverse, this article will have you covered: What is the Metaverse

The Conception

Augmented Reality has been evolving for longer than people think. It is said that the first head-mounted AR display was created in… wait for the shocker… 1968!!! By a guy named Ivan Sutherland (nothing to do with Kiefer).

The actual term “Augmented Reality” was created in 1990. And immediately the capitalistic corporate leaders saw the opportunity. Only four years later (still before it was accessible to anyone), AR merged with entertainment and the first Theater started exploiting the tech in 1994. Add another four years, and in 1998 the NFL added the 1st and 10th line feature powered by AR.

Then the rest of the story up to now is not that exciting and most of us already knew it or lived it. A major point-turning moment took place in 2000 when the ARToolkit open-source library went available. That allowed, basically everyone interested, to delve into AR and start building their own “things”. Although, camera tech, processing power, graphics, and many more “must-haves” were not fully sufficient to make great things happen. But today, things are different. An old iPhone 6, which many can consider retro tech in 2021, is 32,000 times faster than the best Apollo-era computer!!!

​The ARomance Between Businesses and AR

For many, it wasn’t until 2017 that corporations grasped their hands around Augmented Reality (AR) and never let go. Although there have been some previous attempts to bring AR as a scalable business, they didn’t work quite as expected. It was the huge flop of Google Glass, back in 2014.

Moving forward to 2017, many believe IKEA (the Swedish furniture titan) was the first major company to merge itself with AR.

They launched an app that allowed anyone to scan their living room, and then place a chosen furniture or product on it. Real-time, through a smartphone. And that was the biggest leap for mankind when we talk about AR. An industry that had a complex funnel for buyers, since getting the right furniture is no easy task, had completely found a new and easier way to push products and increase revenue.

On top of what the “obvious implementations” maybe, some creatives are pushing the envelope regarding how Augmented Reality (AR) can be mixed to enhance any customer’s experiences, even from a non-traditional communication and engagement standpoint.

It’s the amazing case of Gojek! Southeast Asia’s leading platform for several services such as transport, payments, food delivery. They wanted a campaign to create awareness and show their users how they approached everything with due safety, amidst the pandemic. Polar London created the campaign, came up with a brilliant idea: an Instagram AR game where users had to dodge the virus using their head, and then they could share it as a Story.

​You can read the full specs of this successful AR case here:

What Happens Now?

AR is now mainstream, and major brands are either using it as marketing tools or powerful awareness actions that directly lead to push and sell products to their audiences.

Before AR, you used to see an Ad from Nike. If you liked the sneaker, you had to go to the store, try them, and purchase them.

With the e-commerce revolution, you can click on the ad, get taken to their website, make the purchase and have it delivered to your doorstep in 24 hours.

AR allowed brands to connect the promotion with the sales in a seamless, transparent, and engaging manner. It’s a win-win scenario, where the customer’s experience is greatly improved.

The Impact & The Future

There is no negative impact on brands from this AR revolution, only positive. But there’s a catch-  larger companies cannot afford themselves to not be into it. Otherwise, the risk of losing market share and ultimately disappearing highly increases.

AR is here to stay, and the world is confident that it will continue to appear in many different ways to make consumers’ lives easier, simpler, and safer while stuffing corporations’ pockets like never before. 

The worldwide transformation consumers’ behavior is suffering creates the perfect ground for AR to prosper even more. We could fairly say that it has reached mass adoption. So any type of solution, app, or “thing” related to AR that any company wants to launch won’t require people to have to buy special or expensive gear like some years ago.

It is believed that when 2020 ended, there were 598 million AR devices on Earth! And that amount is set to be almost quadrupled by 2024.

For the younger generations, it will not be “a new way of engaging with a company” or “the new way to purchase goods”. It will be the only way to go about life. That’s what many brands have a hard time grasping. It’s reaching a point where adopting AR into their business models is no longer about just revenue, it’s about survival. Mega traditional brands like Lacoste have turned to AR recently. Following the titans is following the trend. For small businesses, if they are keen enough to early adopt AR and figure out how they could implement it in interacting with their audience, they will hold the key to short-term success.

AR can indeed save companies today, but the Metaverse can too. In this article, we also covered how the Metaverse could be traditional retail’s salvation: The rise of the Metaverse.


If you want to explore further how Polar London can support your next Augmented Reality idea, get in touch.