Once the preserve of Hollywood films and computer games, augmented reality is no longer the stuff of dreams. In the 21st century, augmented reality allows video, animation and interactive content to literally jump off the page.
While augmented reality (AR) may sound like something Keanu Reeves would squint at in The Matrix, today the merging of the real world with your tablets and smartphones is an integral part of the digital revolution. In other words, AR brings digital information and virtual objects into the physical space.
You may not know it but AR has been around for some time. Remember the Pokémon Go craze? Back in summer 2016, everywhere you looked there were people scrutinising their phones, then rushing off to who knows where. More recently, tech giants such as Google and Microsoft have harnessed AR software to produce all manner of apps and tools such as Sky Map and virtual reality headsets. One of the most innovative uses of AR has been developed by the military which seized the chance to use it o train forces in safe environments.
Publishers across the globe have been quick to see the potential of AR. In a world where naysayers constantly predict the end of print, AR allows newspapers and magazines to continue selling their ink versions while offering content beyond the printed page.
Consider the Tokyo Shimbun, a Japanese newspaper that employed AR to morph articles for an adult audience into comprehensive stories for children. Then there’s the app launched by The New York Times last year. Calling it ‘the newest advance in digital story telling’, the paper created a bridge between the digital world and the physical one, making flat images three-dimensional and its reporting more immediate than ever before.
At Century OnePublishing, we recognise the myriad benefits associated with AR. As such, we believe that we’re the first company to produce a membership magazine with an AR cover. The December/January edition of DieteticsToday boasted this technological innovation.
Ina nutshell, excluding web-based AR, there are three types of AR triggers: marker-based, marker less and location. The AR cover for Dietetics Today cover was created using marker-based AR software. It may sound complicated but all it means is that the software recognises items or objects and then reacts.
So, what are the benefits of using AR in magazines?
AR creates interactive and engaging experiences that bring a product to life, straight from a print ad, catalogue or any printed material.
AR can strengthen print as a sales channel by letting consumers scan-to-purchase directly from the page.
This is a powerful way of boosting the value of magazines, books or any reading material, and creating memorable and unique reader experiences.
At Century One, we think this is just the tip of the iceberg. AR has many possibilities, including interactive adverts, easy-to-use subscription campaigns, membership renewals, deeper reader engagement…we could go on. AR represents print and digital coming together – and we’re at the forefront of this new way of working.