The Maple Ridge & Pitt Meadows TIMES has taken the leap into Layar and a quick survey of my social media savvy peeps has generated big buzz about this new medium.
Layar (www.layar.com) is an augmented reality (AR) platform that enables smartphone users (iPhone, Android, and tablets for now) to scan, print, copy, and link to an almost infinite number of online sources and resources.
And it's about to rock the print world.
According to Layar, the Dutch founders of the platform, the simplest way to explain AR is as a way "of viewing digital information which has been superimposed - or augmented - onto a live view of the physical real world environment around you." In this case, our local TIMES newspaper.
Provided you've downloaded the app, you can view a short videoclip, visit my Facebook page, or website or email directly with your questions from this article.
Or, it could be any other print publication - magazine, brochure, poster - or packaging, labels, or letterhead.
Your experience has just gone from the relatively passive: holding, reading, and turning pages, to the inter-active where you can scan, click, browse, shop, and download all while sitting in your jammies reading this community's news.
One of the classic examples of ideal interface is the comic book industry, that already merges print gaming, film, and merchandising.
Comic book af icionados would tell you that holding (and collecting) the printed comic book is central to the experience and simply not possible in a virtual environment.
Augmented reality though, will enable fans to access more detailed information about the characters, the artwork, or artist and link directly to online digital channels, while maintaining the integrity of the print product.
This will hold true for any kind of fiction or non-fiction print.
Imagine being able to access an author's research or an artist's early sketches, or a digital J.K. Rowling reading a chapter of Harry Potter to your children at bedtime.
A natural audience for this medium, and one I predict will be early adopters, are advertisers.
The print ad is no longer a static vehicle to promote products and services.
With this technology, advertisers can link logos directly to websites, link phone numbers so they can be autodialed from mobile phones, connect to Google maps for location, include coupons, special offers, menus, recipes or point to Facebook or Twitter channels.
One click can take you from print ad or catalogue page to online shopping carts and your Paypal account.
Demonstration videos, price comparisons, and product reviews can be accessed directly from the print ad.
If you are in the business of selling cars, for example, you can incorporate almost everything - short of the new-car smell - to give potential customers the full experience.
Community and government agencies, non-profits, and corporations can use this technology to create a more direct and meaningful connection with audiences.
Picture reading an annual report that opens with a video welcome from the CEO or clips of client success stories.
Event posters, flyers, and ads can now provide direct access to ticket purchases or donation opportunities.
What will be important as this technology emerges?
As my co-Chick marketing specialist Lori Graham of Six Degrees
Marketing (sixdegreesmarketing.wordpress.com) pointed out, many websites are not mobile-friendly.
Those that are going to take advantage of augmented reality will need to be sure that websites and other digital media are current and up to snuff.
In a recent social media workshop, one of the attendees said, "I know the future is coming, and I need to be ready for it."
My response: "The future is here. Welcome!"
Vicki McLeod is owner of Main Street Communications and is happy to answer questions. Send them to her through www. thesocialchicks.com
- Vicki McLeod (http: //www. mainstreetcommunications.ca) is a business coach and consultant and one of the Social Chicks (http: //www. socialchicks.wordpress.com).
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