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What is Augmented Reality?

Augmented reality or AR, uses smart devices to allow further interaction with a real-world image, object, or place by using digital overlays. Augmented reality incorporated with print is often referred to as Interactive Print.

How does augmented reality work in interactive print?

To implement augmented reality in a print piece you will:


1. Choose an Experience - The experience is what will happen when using augmented reality. Experiences include video, audio, 3D models, images/graphics, and buttons.

2. Choose a Trigger Image - In order for augmented reality to work you will need to have a trigger image, an image that the user scans with their smart device while using the AR app to enable the AR experience. 

Example of a trigger image is shown here on this business card:

3. Have a Call-to-Action - One of the most important details in making sure your AR experience is put to action is to have a well defined Call-to-Action (CTA). We recommend using simple language to make sure the end user understands.


Step 1 - Download the AR app from your app store (ie. iTunes or Play Store). 
Step 2 - Scan images where you see the AR symbol to experience AR.

How do you know what has interactive print?

As mentioned above in "HOW DOES AR WORK WITH INTERACTIVE PRINT?", the end user will need to see the Call-to-Action (CTA) in order to know if a print piece is interactive. If there are multiple trigger images throughout the printed piece, a well defined CTA can be used to direct the end user to scan the area where the AR symbols are located. The CTA must be simple, direct, and prominent on the interactive print piece to drive the end user to interact. 

How can augmented reality benefit marketing efforts?


1. Enhancing relevant content- Target your tech savvy audience with AR to give them a deeper experience with your company, brand, and/or products.


2. Interaction - When you integrate AR technology with print marketing you get interactivity that provides a lasting memory. Creating an eye-catching call-to-action along with customer incentives will increase your campaign's success.


3. Personalization - You can develop that personalized, one-to-one marketing opportunity using AR to create interactive print. When you enhance the consumers' experience you can receive improved customer engagement, better brand positioning, more effective marketing campaigns, and increased sales.


4. Always changeable - You can easily make changes because augmented reality is digital.

What can augmented reality be used for?

Augmented Reality can be used in many ways and can be applicable to all different industries and job fields. As mentioned before, when AR is incorporated with print you get interactive print. Interactive print can be incorporated in marketing print pieces such as, business cards, postcards, direct mail, brochures, catalogs, booklets, signs, posters, packaging, labels, and more. Here are a few examples of how you can incorporate interactive print in your next marketing plan:


Business Card - Imagine placing a video overlay on a business card using AR.  Once a user scans the business card with a smart device using the AR app a video appears playing an introduction of yourself, telling the end user about you, your business, etc. This is an excellent way to share your brand in a personal way! 


Packaging - Let's say you are a small coffee shop that partners with a charity for every package of coffee beans your customer purchases that charity gets 10% of the sales. You want your customers to learn more about the charity that they're donating to. The customer scans the product package and then an audio clip plays thanking the customer for thier purchase and informing the customer about their donation as well as providing more information about the charity.


Poster - So you have a concert coming up and place that poster of the concert in a high traffic area at the local coffee shop. Using AR you can have the end user scan that poster bringing them to the concert event landing page to purchase the tickets right then and there.

Magazine Ad - Make your small magazine ad space come to life with AR! Advertising a car? In the add you would only be able to show one color, but with AR you could show multiple colors that are available with that car. 

Advertise a new book you published in a magazine ad. Now let's take it another step further by adding a video or audio clip of the author talking about the book and add a button to purchase the book right within the ad all using AR.

Indutries and job fields using AR

From education to remote work, here are ten of the best uses cases for AR technology that are set to emerge in the near future -


1. Medical Training

From operating MRI equipment to performing complex surgeries, AR tech holds the potential to boost the depth and effectiveness of medical training in many areas. Students at the Cleveland Clinic at Case Western Reserve University, for example, will now learn anatomy utilizing an AR headset allowing them to delve into the human body in an interactive 3D format.


2. Retail

In today's physical retail environment, shoppers are using their smartphones more than ever to compare prices or look up additional information on products they're browsing. World famous motorcycle brand Harley Davidson is one great instance of a brand making the most of this trend, by developing an an AR app that shoppers can use in-store. Users can view a motorcycle they might be interesting in buying in the showroom, and customize it using the app to see which colors and features they might like.


3. Repair & Maintenance

One of the biggest industrial use cases of AR is for repair and maintenance of complex equipment. Whether it's a car motor or an MRI machine, repair and maintenance staff are beginning to use AR headsets and glasses while they perform their jobs to provide them with useful information on the spot, suggest potential fixes, and point out potential trouble areas. This use case will only continue to get stronger as machine-to-machine IoT technology grows and can feed information directly to AR headsets.


4. Design & Modeling

From interior design to architecture and construction, AR is helping professionals visualize their final products during the creative process. Use of headsets enables architects, engineers, and design professionals step directly into their buildings and spaces to see how their designs might look, and even make virtual on the spot changes. Urban planners can even model how entire city layouts might look using AR headset visualization. Any design or modeling jobs that involve spatial relationships are a perfect use case for AR tech.


5. Business Logistics

AR presents a variety of opportunities to increase efficiency and cost savings across many areas of business logistics. This includes transportation, warehousing, and route-optimization. Shipping company DHL has already implemented smart AR glasses in some of its warehouses, where lenses display to workers the shortest route within a warehouse to locate and pick a certain item that needs to be shipping. Providing workers with more efficient ways to go about their job is one of the best ROI use cases in today's business environment.


6. Tourism Industry

Technology has gone a long way towards advancing the tourism industry in recent years, from review sites like TripAdvisor to informative website like Lonely Planet. But AR presents a huge opportunity for travel brands and agents to give potential tourists an even more immersive experience before they travel. Imagine taking a virtual "Walkabout" Australia before on AR glasses before booking a ticket to Sydney, or a leisurely stroll around Paris to see what museums or cafes you might like to visit. AR promises to make selling trips, travel, and vacations a whole lot easier in the future.


7. Classroom Education

While technology like tablets have become widespread in many schools and classrooms, teachers and educators are now ramping up student's learning experience with AR. The Aurasma app, for example, is already being used in classrooms so that students can view their classes via a smartphone or tablet for a more rich learning environment. Students learning about astronomy might see a full map of the solar system, or those in a music class might be able to see musical notes in real time as they learn to play an instrument.


8. Field Service

Whether it's something as small as an air conditioner, or as large as a wind turbine, every day field service technicians get dispatched to repair a piece of mission critical equipment that needs to get up and running as soon as possible. Today, these technicians can arrive on-site with AR glasses or headsets and view whatever they're repairing to more quickly diagnose - and fix - the problem. And instead of having to thumb through a repair manual, technicians can go about their business hands-free to get in and out faster than ever.


9. Entertainment Properties

In the entertainment industry, it's all about building a strong relationship with your branded characters and the audience. Properties like Harry Potter are immensely successful because readers of the books and watchers of the movies feel like they know the characters, and are hungry for additional content. Entertainment brands are now seeing AR as a great marketing opportunity to build deeper bonds between their characters and audience. As a matter of fact, the makers of AR sensation Pokemon Go are soon planning to release a Harry Potter-themed AR game that fans can interact with day in and day out.


10. Public Safety

In the event of an emergency today, people will immediately reach for their smartphone to find out what's going on, where to go, and whether their loved ones are safe. Moreover, first responders arrive on the scene of a fire or earthquake trying to figure out who needs help, and the best way to get them to safety. AR is showing promise in solving both pieces of the public safety puzzle. First responders wearing AR glasses can be alerted to danger areas, and show in real-time individuals that need assistance while enabling to still be aware of their surroundings. For those in need, geolocation enabled AR can show them directions, and the best route to, safe zones and areas with firefighters or medics.


Example of an augmented reality trigger image used on a business card
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