Getting Real: Interactive Training for Interactive Print
Are customers going to be more enticed to purchase from you if they can see a 3D image on your printed piece?
Actually, according to numerous new studies like one from Nellymoser, novel linking technologies like Augmented Reality (AR) are really gaining momentum in the integrated print marketing universe thanks to the extended uses of mobile phones. No longer a futuristic fantasy of overzealous marketers, AR, image recognition, and invisible water marking are quickly growing in popularity. Although customization and QR codes are still being used successfully, consumers’ desire for more realistic experiences is creating viable applications for these new technologies.
How to Apply AR in the Real World
So how can printers implement AR and other ever-increasing linking tools and start seeing the ROI? At events like Integrated Print Forum 2013, you will see, step-by-step, how to create AR pieces in real time with hands-on lab sessions that effectively link print to digital content and engage customers.
Joe Marin, Senior Instructor/Manager, Training Programs (whom you may know if you have ever attended a training workshop or attended a webinar for Printing Industries of America), leads this IPF session and has also authored several white papers and blogs on the subject. His skill and enthusiasm get you involved in your learning.
If you are not quite sure how to begin to apply AR, here is Joe to fill in some of the details:
When AR is integrated with print, it can link the consumer to online, relevant content or offers. Combining print with an AR scene is typically accomplished by using a marker. A marker is a specialized barcode that is mapped and linked to the digital AR application. The marker is the “trigger” that is placed in front of the smartphone camera or webcam where an AR software application is installed. It is this marker that retrieves the data via an application or Internet connection and becomes the reference point for the AR scene that is displayed on the monitor or smartphone. Click here to see a video where I demonstrate the use of AR.
AR overlays real life with relevant, computer-generated information. An example of augmented reality that we are all familiar with is how it is used when watching a football game on television. Current game information (yards to first-down, player information, time remaining, etc.) is superimposed over the actual live gameplay, providing up-to-the-second information. Using this example, we can see how AR is used enhance a person’s understanding of what they are currently viewing.
(Read more on Joe’s hands-on lab sessions like “Augmented Reality with Print!” at IPF 2013 here.)
There are many successful case studies for AR, including a package printing promotion that received world-wide press. LEGO partnered with an AR software developer to create a box that, when held up to a kiosk at LEGO stores, combines 3-D animation with a live video feed. The result for the customer is an animated, finished toy displayed on top of the box the person is holding. The box can be rotated to show the finished LEGO toy from all angles.
Get Started on Expanding Print
Using new linking technology like AR will expand print capabilities because it allows you to connect with your audience in real, unique ways and engage them in your message. With continuously improving mobile technologies, companies that integrate them into marketing plans will see better results in website hits and profits.
Getting started in this growing trend does not have to be a major investment but can generate valuable returns. There are affordable programs like SketchUp that also offer free trial versions. More advanced tools like Creator from mataio can still only run you a few hundred dollars, which is not that costly when you consider the returns a well-planned and—executed campaign can provide.
Be proactive and train yourself and your staff in how and when to use print-to-Web linking tools. We have many effective resources here at Printing Industries of America, including the interactive AR sessions at IPF 2013. You can also find white papers and how-to videos on this and related topics from our expert, Joe Marin, on our new Integrated Print Center webpage in the Learning Center.
Integrated Print Forum 2013 takes place May 14–15, at our headquarters in Pittsburgh, PA.