Top 3 Business Leaders Who Believe in the Power of AR

Don’t be surprised if we see a Keeping up with the Gates reality TV show soon. With the level of public admiration they receive today, it’s safe to say business leaders are reaching celebrity levels of popularity, if not higher. Nowadays, people leverage every bit of info they can get from influential leaders. Such info includes everything from business strategies to meal recipes to how long they should brush their teeth for. While that may be excessive, it’s still remarkable that this generation majorly takes successful business people for role models.

But if you ask me, it’s these leaders’ outlook on the future that you should be specifically after. That is, you should be on the lookout for their predictions for the next game-changers in business. That’s especially the case when it comes to the tech world. Speaking of which, you need to hear the massive expectations three of the world’s top leaders have for AR.

You see, Augmented Reality has been wowing people and businesses alike for years. It’s economic, creatively satisfying, and it can take up multiple forms according to the task at hand. By all means, AR use cases have been proving valuable. To assert, this latter statement applies to all industries from automotive to education. And the results have been groundbreaking so far. 

But if that still doesn’t make you an AR believer, these three world leaders will:

1- Tim Cook

Credit: South China Morning Post

Tim Cook had the incredibly unenviable task of following in legendary thought leader Steve Jobs’ footsteps. To Cook’s credit, he’s been doing an epic job at it for eight years now. So much so that Apple is seeing its highest performance levels ever in the Cook era. For starters, he reimagined Apple’s supply chain before he even became CEO. Truly, this was what set the stage for Apple’s global expansion. 

Then ever since Cook’s appointment as CEO, Apple’s finances have been through the roof. In 2018, Apple became the first-ever company to be valued at a trillion dollars. If that isn’t breathtaking enough, Apple’s revenue has almost tripled since 2011. It has gone from $108 billion to $265.6 billion.

While that’s an unprecedented financial success, Tim Cook doesn’t think of it as the most relevant measure of success. Instead, he looks at his team’s hard work as the true measure of success. Indeed, this vision has set him apart as a leader when it comes to culture. 

Despite all these hits as CEO, some criticize Cook for a supposed lack of innovation. Most probably, Cook is looking to prove these critics wrong using AR. Plain and simple, Cook thinks of AR as the future of Apple. Particularly, he believes that AR has the power to amplify human performance. Out of this belief, he made this ultra-bold statement:

“AR use will become as common as eating three meals a day.”

Ever since, Apple has been taking big AR strides. Most recently, we found out that ARKit 3 is getting major updates with iOS 13. These upgrades to Apple’s mobile AR initiatives are in line with another Cook prediction. Tim Cook believes mobile AR’s rise will be as significant as the rise of mobile apps. A decade ago, people didn’t understand the value of apps. Now, they can’t live without them. Apple’s resident leader thinks the situation will be the same with AR.

As a leader, Tim Cook is also looking ahead with AR. While no official announcement has been made yet, all signs are pointing toward inevitable Apple AR glasses. Under Cook’s leadership, Apple has over 30 open AR positions. That’s up from only 5 last year. Clearly, Apple’s leader is onto something here.

2- Bob Iger

Credit: TIME

In his own words, Bob Iger thinks of himself as a classic incarnation of the American Dream. He didn’t have much to his name when he joined ABC as a production assistant. From there, he continued to build his way up until Disney acquired ABC. A few years later, Iger becomes the CEO and leader of Disney.

In that position, Iger has excelled in multiple areas. For one, he has mastered the skill of choosing the right movies for Disney to create. During his reign, Disney released 5 of the top 10 highest-grossing movies ever. In addition, Iger has devoted much effort into Disney theme parks. Apart from opening one in Shanghai in 2016, Iger has been investing billions into overhauling all parks.

But arguably Bob Iger’s biggest accomplishments lie in Disney’s acquisitions under his leadership. Between 2006 and 2019, Disney acquired Lucasfilms, Pixar, Marvel, and 21st Century Fox. So if we ever get a movie featuring Han Solo, Buzz Lightyear, and Deadpool, you have Iger to thank.

Generally, Disney’s leader credits the company’s success to staying true to Disney’s purpose; storytelling. On that note, Iger can’t see VR as a viable platform for Disney stories. He believes Disney experiences should always be real and one word he called VR was “ersatz”.

Instead, he said he’d been spending time in Disney labs fighting Stormtroopers with lightsabers. Of course, that’s through AR. So yes, that confirms Iger is high on AR and that Disney will wow us very soon in AR.

3- Mark Zuckerberg

Credit: CNet

There’s probably no need to introduce Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook’s dominant leader and 21st-century prodigy is one of the most popular people on Earth. Everybody knows his story with its high points and controversies. But Zuckerberg’s story with AR is unlike the two you’ve read so far. Actually, Zuckerberg wasn’t the biggest AR believer in the world a while back. In 2016, he claimed it would take AR 5-10 years to reach VR’s level. 

That’s underwhelming, to say the least. Well, let’s fast forward while just disregarding the fact that VR is in decline. So today, Zuckerberg is actually all in on AR. His biggest issue with AR was that he couldn’t see potential in AR use cases without AR headsets. Thankfully, it only took him two years to change his mind. At that point, he realized that face filters can be a gold mine for Facebook. 

Accordingly, Zuckerberg announced an AR platform for creating filters in F8 2017. In 2018’s F8, Facebook rebranded the platform, calling it Spark AR and adding many new features to it. Also, the platform allows creating Instagram and Messenger AR filters too. Today, over a billion users have interacted with Spark AR.

From there, it’s only going to get bigger. Facebook’s manager of AR Camera Matthew Simari says, on Facebook, they believe AR can better connect people. Hence, the company is continuing to integrate AR into other Facebook services like AR ads.

All in all, Mark Zuckerberg says he’s confident AR can be Facebook’s next big thing. Finally, he also confirmed that Facebook is currently developing AR hardware.