I don’t recall when I first started following @steedmrspeel on Twitter, nor she, me.
She’s a graphic arts professional who’s also a retired guitarist and a motorcyclist. Unusual and interesting for a printing specialist, I thought.
So I wasn’t terribly surprised when she sent an email asking to chat about AR (Augmented Reality) as a possible post topic. AR is one technology that is definitely unusual and highly interesting. I was game.
In the past I’ve written about augmented reality; one post showed how a shower door manufacturer uses it in a catalog. An earlier post recounted a presentation by Sappi’s Daniel Dejan. But Cindy wanted to discuss a different side of augmented reality. She wanted to focus on the additional information AR brings to printed pieces.
Cindy’s the founder of Walas Younger Ltd, a Chicago-area print management firm offering over 30 years of experience. You can reach her at 630.421.0495 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
As a way of introducing her thoughts on AR, Cindy referred to a LinkedIn post by Kevin Keane. Kevin’s a highly active social media guy, with a long resume as CEO of for profit and not-for-profit printing organizations. He’s also an attorney providing legal advice and marketing consulting for start-ups ranging from cyber security to packaging innovation to a new entity for any #printprotagonist who loves smart print. I know Kevin the same way I know Cindy: through social media. He has my respect, and I enjoy reading what he posts.
Here are the summary points on AR that Kevin Keane posted in a LI group:
“What is AR really? 1) It brings print media to life, 2) it adds value to print, 3) it should involve M-commerce (mobile commerce), 4) it should offer a deeper dive of engagement with product and service offerings from the client’s enterprise, 5) it should offer social sharing integration, 6) it like should offer gamification as it is a proven way to develop “stickiness” with customers – sweepstakes, contests, surveys and even puzzles cause folks to stick around, and 7) it must offer analytics. Seven splendid layers of discovery.”
Cindy has experience producing augmented print projects for clients. “AR creates the bridge between the print and digital worlds,” she wrote, so I’m hoping this post helps to get the word out.
Recently, her firm worked with StampaSud SPA in Britain and Italy to produce a few AR projects. In one project for “Who’s Hungry?” magazine, they created 10+ pages of AR-enhancement, using StampaSud’s exclusive StampaTech “Print Infinity” Augmented Reality platform. The enhanced pages link to additional digital content that’s not part of the printed magazine. This content includes videos, extra blogs, recipes for all of the food featured, plus restaurant and chef links.
Her colleague in Italy, Tony Calo of Stampatech, is starting to lean towards “interactive print” instead of “augmented reality.” Personally, I think this term works. It keeps the word “print” while suggesting something much more dynamic. “Augmented reality” sounds like it could apply to just about anything.
She sent along a few examples of the AR work she’s been involved in. First, there’s a neat little video (1 minute) about the AR platform “StampaTech.” It really shows you the power (and the magic) of using interactive print. The LabelActive wine flyer includes instructions for downloading the Stampatech app and using it. Another image referred to a piece for an Italian opera association to teach kids about opera. The enhanced cover leads to lots of links to print music, which you can then print out.
What was interesting to me was the notion of using AR to augment a printed piece with additional information (content, videos, links, etc.). It’s a different way of talking about augmented reality. We tend to think of it as a superfantastic technology, period, but it’s really much more practical.
“We talk about AR being the bridge between print and digital,” Cindy added, “and we can do that by linking to blogs, embedded videos and much more.”
Does AR still have that wow factor? Absolutely. But is has more value, especially if you can’t afford to “print it all.”
© 2014 Margie Dana. All rights reserved.