The Trending Digital Inclusion: Augmented Reality is integrating into every part of our life

The term ‘Augmented Reality’ may not be as much as familiar in our daily life, but if turned this as ‘AR’, many people would have heard about it and associated this to a similar term ‘Virtual Reality’ (VR), they could define this as advanced technology, a new field that still needs to discover, or an entertaining tool like the VR and AR games. In this generation, the element of AR is blending into so many parts of our life, much more than we thought, the fact is that the augmented reality is affecting the way we think and behave in a nature way as it became an acceptable part in our life. ‘Augmented Reality’ is a digital inclusion, its transformative effect gives benefits to many industries and groups of people, such as marketer, customer, residence, workers, and entertainers.

The ‘Augmented Reality’ could be defined by separate these two words, firstly ‘augment’ means for adding something on, make something become greater, and the ‘reality’ is the state of things that are actual exist rather than imagination. So that, the ‘augmented reality’ could define as adding extra elements by computers to the state of things which real exist on the world, making the greater reaction and enhanced the view of the physical world, and this is produced with technological supports. The simplest example of AR element in our daily life could be found in our smartphones, like the ‘filters’ in Snapchat and many selfies apps, or the AR game apps like ‘Pokémon GO’. The ‘Pokémon GO’ seems like a first breaking outs for making the AR elements become well-known by the public in 2016, but before this, various fields and companies has made efforts on the AR technology innovation for many years. So, what is the genesis and history of Augmented Reality?

Key Timelines for History of Augmented Reality


The earliest timeline is when the first augmented system is made by Ivan Sutherland (1968) (Fig.1), this head-mounted display(HMD) combined with a mechanical tracker and an ultrasonic tracker, this system has technological limitations at that time by only displaying the simple wireframe drawings (Arth et al., 2015).

Figure.1: Ivan Sutherland’s System (Source: Sutherland, 1968)


The researcher Tom Caudell and David Mizell coined the ‘Augmented Reality’ as a term, and distinguish the different features and requirements between AR and VR (Arth, 2015).


Paul Milgram from University of Toronto and Fumio Kishino from Osaka University (1994) discovered the concept of “Virtuality Continuum” (Fig.2) in their seminal paper. This is a description of the continuum steps from the real environment to the virtual environment.

Figure.2: The Virtuality Continuum (Source: Milgram & Kishino, 1994)

-Early 2000s

From the start this century, AR elements usually appeared as a form of games to public, such as the AR Quake is first outdoor mobile AR game produced in 2000, and the two-player AR tennis created by Nokia in 2005.

Video: The Nokia users play the AR tennis and AR Lego game by using the 2G mobile phones


-Recent Trends of AR

There are many companies from different fields and industrial sectors analyzing and producing products using AR based in the recent decade, the two examples of companies which made lots of contribution on AR industry could be Niantic and Google.

Niantic– Pokémon GO



Pokémon GO is a mobile AR game launched in July 2016 by Niantic, it reached 500 million users in first two month and the revenue $207 million which was the highest revenue of any mobile in its first month from the Guiness World Records (Iqbal, 2020). Pokémon GO allowed users ‘catching’ the AR Pokémon by encountering with the real-world environment based on user’s mobile device GPS, and the Pokémon that users collected could be trained and interacted with other users.




Figure.3: View of Pokémon GO on mobile phone (Source: Pokémon GO, 2020)


Google– Google Glass

Figure.4: The Screenshot taken from Official Google Glass Guide Video (Source: Google Glass, 2013 [YouTube])

The Google Glass enable users interact their daily basis only through a pair of glass by an AR view instead of the viewing the screen of mobile phone. However, the Google Glass is one of a failure case of AR products.

AR Blending into Real Life: Who has Benefited from it?

Augmented reality is existing through the technology, we can see it through our eyes but it is intangible and untouchable, many sectors use this characteristics of AR effectively and blend AR into our life, and both parties has benefits from it.

  • AR Benefits in Customer Experience (Experience Marketing)

AR intelligence also attracted many brand marketers for creating better purchasing experience for consumers, and AR becomes the new marketing trend in various categories.


Ikea has combined the AR into its mobile apps ‘Ikea Place’ in 2017. As a furniture retailer, Ikea app recorded more than 2000 of furniture items with true-to-scale and display as a AR view, customer can use this function to see how the furniture looks like when it placed in their home, this reduce the risk of buying wrong size of furniture and enhance the consumer confidence (Miles, 2019).

Video: Benefits of Ikea Place

2. Beauty try-on

Figure.5: Beauty brand’s virtual try-on app (Source: Illustration by Bella Geraci)

Beauty products has large demand and wide range of customer, many makeups, hair, even the nails brands offered the AR virtual try-on to customers, they could try-on different lipstick color, eye shadow products, hair colors and different style of nails only by swiping the mobile phone. Makeup brand L’ Oreal Paris, Benefit Cosmetics and hair brand like Schwarzkopf already provided customer the AR try-on apps on mobile phones (Pinzivalli, 2020).

  • The Ways AR Benefits in Political Economic

  1. Transportation & Smart Infrastructure

AR is already producing a great value on the navigation use for the public, the Google Map is actively inserting AR function to its app which offers more visual 3D information and interaction to users. Government could work on the visually AR connection of the public infrastructure and transportation for residence conveniences.

  1. Simulate Situation

AR is able to create a real-based scenario in a virtual view, this could insert to occupations with high-cost or dangerous training demands, such as military, astronaut training. AR creates the real-time training scenario, it helps them to be well-prepared in the lowest risk and cost (Briggs et al., 2018).

  1. Tourism

Some tourism starts using AR to create the immersive experience, especially in the museum and national part, this is the way of interactive education, it visualize the information and history into its original environment, which enhance the touring experience.

Video: Tourists sketching virtual paint to the wall in Vivid Festival Sydney


        4.Public health

In fact, AR games also give benefits on the public health. Many evidences came from the Pokémon GO AR game, users are getting more sunlight, vitamin D and having more physical activities during the game playing. Pokémon GO increased users’ vigorous physical activity to 50 minutes a week instead of the time spend on online gaming at home (Chamary, 2018).

  • AR benefits in Social Culture

  1. Entertaining & Celebrity Industry Engagement

AR and VR games are now trending in different area, because it gives a brand-new experience in mixed reality or virtual reality. Many celebrities also engage even addicted to the AR game.

Tweets: Celebrity engagement in Pokémon GO

Moreover, the most recent trend of AR is to combine the virtual avatar into a celebrity culture. The game company ‘League of Legends’ produce a virtual girl group ‘K/DA’ with its game characters from 2018, the song of this girl group is recorded with the real celebrities, and the highest view of K/DA official music video reached 380 million views on YouTube.

Video: The collaboration performance by celebrities with AR virtual girl group ‘K/DA’


AR brings lots of benefits through different industries and sectors, it could enhance customer’s experience by several try-on and other AR functions. Also, AR brings lots of value to the political economies, such as to tourism and public health. Lastly, as AR is well-known for the entertaining purpose, current trends combines the celebrity culture for more entertaining experience. This is how the Augmented Reality integrated to our life and giving various kinds of benefits to us.







Arth, C., Gruber, L., Grasset, R., Langlotz, T., Mulloni, A., Schmalstieg, D., Wagner, D. (2015, November                 11). The History of Mobile Augmented Reality. Retrieved from

Briggs, R., Dul, J., Dobner, E., Mariani J., Kishnani, P. (2018, August 24). Digital Reality in Government.               Deloitte. Retrieved from                  sector/augmented-virtual-reality-government-services.html

Chamary, J. (2018, February 10). Why ‘Pokemon Go’ Is The World’s Most Important Game. Forbes.                         Retrieved from         sh=735f38bf3ab0

Iqbal, M. (2020, October 29). Pokémon GO Revenue and Usage Statistic (2020). Business of Apps.                            Retrieved from

Miles, S. (2019, January 28). How 6 Brands are Using AR to Drive Experience Marketing. Street Fight.                    Retrieved from        experience-marketing/#.X5vuJ1MzY1I

Prinzivalli, L. (2020, July 21). 11 Hair, Makeup, and Nail Brands That Offer Virtual Try-on. Allure.                           Retrieved from

Sutherland, I. E. (1968). A head-mounted three dimensional display. In Proceedings of the December 9-                 11,1968, Fall Joint Computer Conference, Part I, AFIPS ’68. DOI:    

About Hongyu Shi 3 Articles
Digital Culture & Marketing Student at The University of Sydney