Home' Asian Printer Magazine : February 2015 Contents 32 January 2015 - Asian Printer
Technology is taking the QR code concept
into new areas, which may o er printers
opportunities to marry print and digital for
pro t, reports Jenny Roper
THIS year the number of
smartphone users around
the world is expected to
hit 1.75 billion. Currently
88 per cent of smartphone
users use their phones to research
an online purchase. And mobile use
now accounts for 51 per cent of time
To say we are -- particularly in the
West -- a society increasingly glued
to our phones, is an understatement.
From tweeting our every move to
ordering groceries, the number of
tasks performed on these devices is
And if proponents of
image recognition and digital
watermarking technology are to
be believed, another task soon
to be regularly and unthinkingly
performed by our beloved gizmos is
The prediction for the future is
that when you are leafng through a
magazine and see an ad you think is
interesting, the frst thing you will
do is get your mobile out and skim it.
'Skim' refers to offering users
the ability to access digital content
by scanning pre-programmed print
with their smartphone or tablet.
QR codes, according to tech-
sav vy printers, have failed to take
off due to a number of issues. The
codes were considered intrusive by
many designers, the online content
was often poorly thought out and not
mobile-optimised and, crucially, the
content could not be changed, or the
Companies developing mobile
solutions, such as Ricoh's Clickable
Paper, say their technology
dispenses with these issues and
poses the frst interactive print
viable enough to make this trend
Other strengths of these new
technologies is that content is
downloaded when the user installs
the app, so the user is not reliant on
signal strength. The download and
video starts playing instantly. That
is key because people do not want to
wait for content.
Dependent on a printed logo
for activation, some technology
fts into the digital watermarking
category of print-to-mobile software,
which connects the user to live
web content. This is the kind of
technology advocated by Linkz.
The other category of interactive
print currently emerging works by
recognising the shapes of a page's
artwork rather than a logo. This
is the technology behind Ricoh's
Clickable Paper software.
DIRECT mail, fyers, posters,
magazines, newspapers, books
and packaging, the applications for
interactive print are endless.
Clickable Paper is being trialled
at a magazine publisher, where both
ads and editorial take readers to
extra review, video and e-commerce
content. It has also successfully
used the technology in a boat frm’s
brochure and a fshing book.
Proponents say there is no limit:
it is as good as your imagination.
Applications are myriad, schools
with yearbooks, tourism attraction
owners, packaging with its limited
spacefor printed information.
Some would point out, though,
that print-to-mobile technologies
have been around for a while
without spurring a revolutionary
groundswell of interest. Indeed,
the mjority of interactive print
applications cropping up over the
past few years have featured, slightly
confusingly, the more complex
application of augmented reality.
Projects such as the Ikea
catalogue, which now allows
customers to overlay furniture onto
their room and to use an X-ray
mode to view inside furniture
compartments, proves that the
technology can do much more
sophisticated things than just link to
video content or websites.
So will printers who are now
getting involved experience the
boom they are anticipating?
Proponents say it is a resolute
yes. They argue that the climate is
exactly right, in terms of smaller
brands, publishers and marketers'
engagement with digital content, and
consumers' willingness to scan.
"The huge wave upon us now
is this idea of objects connected
to the internet," says Pete pierce,
co-founder of print-mobile software
vendor Onprint. "Google is saying
with that Google Glass, objects are
going to talk to us. And if Google are
going there, we are all going there."
He adds the example of Amazon
Flow, an app launched this year that
links consumers -- through image
recognition technology when they
photograph a piece of packaging on
a smartphone -- to similar products
Ricoh's Clickable Paper provides the connection between print and digital
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