AR Development: How Augmented Reality Will Become Our New Reality

First Descent-AR is one of Canada’s leading digital experience companies. We are continually evaluating technologies that can help expand our service offering and ultimately help our clients create more engaging and measurably effective marketing campaigns.

We’ve been building our capabilities out in Augmented Reality application development for the last few years. You could say we augmented our services!

With a stable of incredibly talented software developers, graphic designers and 3D modellers, this was an easy business for First Descent to embrace. We had the “know how” already here, it was a matter of extending the opportunity to our team.


It’s an adaptation of technology that allows a device with a screen (smartphone, tablet, eyewear) to have a computer-generated image superimposed on a user’s view of the real world – ultimately providing a composite view that “augments” (or improves) the experience for the user.

Think of it as another way to make your Apple iPhone or your Samsung Galaxy even more useful. Augmented Reality is a “big deal” because software, hardware and bandwidth have finally converged to a point where AR makes sense. It runs smoothly and reliably on the latest generation of iOS and Android devices.

It is also successful because the biggest tech companies in phone hardware and software, Google and Apple will make it so. They have invested staggering sums of money into their development platforms; AR Core and AR Kit. Moreover, when Tim Cook says on CNBC that “Augmented Reality will make the iPhone even more essential” you know that he’s putting his personal credibility on the line.

Many of you will already be familiar with the most successful AR application, Pokémon Go. The viral application that succeeded in getting millions of people out of their Mom's basement out into the real world.



First, there’s the use of a visual, printed marker (like a QR code) that can be used to trigger an AR experience through a downloaded app on a phone or through the phone’s own web browser and camera to reveal content. That content can take several forms. So far, First Descent has:

  • Created interactive, animated or floating infographics that can be superimposed or float above anything from an ad to an annual report. Think about how the best ads catch and hold your attention and now imagine being able to hold your iPad over an ad to receive 5 minutes of detailed information that is a combination of interactive elements like buttons, video and infographics on the product or service being promoted.

The second opportunity is to use the built-in GPS features of your device to recognize where you are and provide wayfinding information or content generated that is geographically relevant to precisely where ​you are. Think about walking past a new restaurant with your phone out and a virtual menu appearing in your phone that has photos and video of the different dishes and links to user reviews.

  • First Descent is developing an AR application right now that will allow users to find each other more easily at large outdoor events like amusement parks or concerts. Imagine, the two of you open your app and you pan your surroundings and see a floating arrow that increases in size as you walk in the direction of your missing friend.

Lastly, there’s the ability to choose from a set of 3D rendered objects that can be kept at scale or scalable that you can drop into your current environment. This is an incredibly useful way to see what something will look like in a space you’re are occupying at that moment.

  • First Descent has developed a couple of applications that take advantage of this capability. We created an application where the user could drop a Bunkie cabin onto a user’s lawn to scale and the user could walk on the outside (and the inside) of the cabin to see how it would look. The user could even see the view out the cabin windows! The other application that we built is the ability for a user to drop a prefabricated concrete leisurescape element like a firepit into the user’s backyard at scale while choosing between brick colours.

Augmented Reality development is in its early stages, but it’s clear that the most immersive, rewarding and effective applications will fuse great programming with first class content, two things that First Descent-AR is extremely proficient at. First Descent is one of the only Canadian companies with the capability to develop AR apps on web, Apple and Android platforms today.

You are limited only by your imagination and budget. There’s an incredible opportunity right now for companies with the desire to have first mover advantage to establish themselves as leaders.

To learn more about how First Descent can augment your marketing, contact us via email or call 204-219-8838


  • Will AR give viewers an experience that they otherwise couldn't have?
  • Will it augment their world and compel them to explore?
  • Could augmented reality ads give shoppers a better feel for your product?
  • Will your recording environment be rich with things to see?
  • Will viewers want to continue watching beyond the initial "That's cool" moment?
  • Can you transport someone somewhere in an immersive way that overcomes the hassle and expense of travelling there? (think of having your best salespeople available anywhere to do product demos.

Shopping is the top reason smartphone users are interested in AR/VR. Consumers want to see items in real size and form.


A viral success with marker-based AR technology is the 19 Crimes Wine Label, bringing a depth of intrigue and fun to a series of labels.

We are certainly at the fine point of the Augmented Reality adoption wedge, but this means that the playing field is wide open and there’s a real opportunity to gain first mover advantage for those with the foresight and appetite. Augmented reality is no longer a novelty, but fun, consumer-focused applications like this can create memorable experiences in busy markets.

Here's what some of the experts have to say about the opportunities for Augmented Reality in a marketing context:

"On the display network, ads are generally shown in a two-dimensional interface. However, AR opens up a wide new range of possibilities in the third dimension. Where viewers could once only see ads directly ahead of them, they will now be able to see display ads in their peripheral vision. AR also allows for more detailed ads. This is due to the higher pixel/display size ratio seen in AR versus 2-D monitors." - Larry Gurreri, Sosemo

"As marketers and advertisers, we are all telling stories. AR gives you a more immersive platform to tell a story directing people to deeper content, game-like features, and bringing the consumers into the experience. We are all trying to determine the ROI of AR. If we connect it with the brand story and our owned properties, then we can start to show value through engagement and brand affinity." - Gina Michnowicz, Union+Webster

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