Daniel Dejan. Surely, if you’re in graphic design or print production, you know the name. Daniel’s one of the most respected and oft-requested speakers on a dozen different topics, such as Life with Print, Intro to Color Management, Paper Essentials, Environment and Sustainability, Varnishes & Coatings, and Print in the New Media Mix.
He is the North American ETC Print & Creative Manager for Sappi Fine Paper. Daniel’s a regular speaker at our PBI conferences because he is that good. A beloved graphic arts educator, author and consultant, Daniel has groupies. After one of his presentations, there’s always a line up of people elbowing others out of their way to speak with him – or get his autograph.
Last month Daniel presented twice at our Print & Media Conference: once on Color Management, and then a second time for a keynote on QR (Quick Response) and AR (Augmented Reality) Codes.
Is there no topic he can’t master? (Don’t take my word for it. Attendee feedback shows that Daniel’s the highest-rated speaker at last month’s conference.)
Daniel’s keynote on QR and AR codes was fantastic. I asked him a few questions about these new technologies and learned he’s been researching them for four or five years. For the rest of us, they’re pretty new, but for him, “It’s an old conversation!” (QR codes were invented in 1994 and were major retail tool and marketing tools in the Pacific Rim.)
QR codes, of course, are 2D mobile barcodes that are predicated on smartphone technology. They are 2D because they store data in a length/height matrix, whereas 1D barcodes only store data in length. QR codes are read by an image scanner that you download (for free) onto your smartphone. To access or ‘read’ the QR code, simply launch the reader on your phone, aim the phone at a QR code, and scan it. Then you’ll “enjoy magically delivered content” including text, video, coupons, orders, and so much more.
He taught us about the necessary “quiet zones” of a QR code (“always leave a white border all the way around the edge of the embedded image so that the data areas of the QR code are separated from the image”) and other format specifications for optimizing your code. We learned that QR codes aren’t the only 2D barcodes. Others include Datamatrix, Microsoft Tag and Tag Custom, and EZ codes.
Daniel shared a ton of statistics about code adoption, including information on the demographics of early adopters. (In Q3/Q4 of 2010, there was an 83% increase in Global Scanning Action according to 3G Wision/i-Ngma Worldwide Data 2010). Another interesting factoid: on average, a unique user scans 2 – 3 barcodes each month. And guess what were the largest “scan days” last year: “Black Friday (the day after Thanksgiving) and Christmas Day. One chart really had an impact: it shows Scanning Growth from Q1 2010 to Q1 2011. Scanning grew 4549%. That’s not a typo.
We saw QR codes on cakes and buildings and sails of a ship, as well as in packaging, direct mail pieces and magazines. We saw beautiful examples of ‘designed’ QR codes. They need not be square. And they need not be printed in black ink.
Then Daniel segued into AR codes, which is “really the bomb.” Personally, I think Augmented Reality is a stroll into the Twilight Zone. Daniel defines it as “the integration of generated data with our perception of the world.” AR technology takes advantage of more commercial applications. Where QR codes take advantage of camera and wifi capabilities, AR takes advantage of camera, wifi and GPS in your phone.
Applications for this advanced technology have a video responding to a code. Daniel predicts we’ll see AR business cards, AR campaigns – even AR tattoos. Augmented Reality “enhances our awareness of the world around us. It increases our situational knowledge by providing visual information that supplements what we naturally perceive.” We learned about clothing retailers that use AR technology to let shoppers “try on” watches or outfits to see whether or not they like how the products look. And how about IKEA, which used this technology to launch its PS furniture collection? It let users see how pieces of furniture would look in their homes – virtually, of course.
I wonder: will dating sites pick up on AR and let you see how a potential date would “look” next to you? Hmm…I won’t go there.
(C) 2011 Margie Dana. All rights reserved. Your comments are encouraged. You’re free to forward this email to friends and colleagues. However, no part of this column may be reprinted without permission from the author. Comments?
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