Editor's Notes: Be Actable –PolischukApril 2013
Print meets augmented reality on the pages of packagePRINTING this month. It should be a fun interaction. Take a moment to download the free Actable app from Quad/Graphics on your smart phone or tablet; instructions are at the bottom of the table of contents (p. 4). Then use your device to scan over the back cover to experience how ink-on-paper is becoming more relevant in the digital world.
This blending of print and mobile technologies is picking up steam as companies leverage the latest technologies to connect with their customers. Even online, Internet-based companies such as Facebook and social gaming company, Zynga, are being measured on their success with mobile platforms. It's no wonder then that the printing industry, with roots going back more that 500 years, is incorporating this latest technology. Remember, the print industry has been changing and evolving since day one and flexographic printing has spawned letterpress, gravure, lithography, and screen—along with their many derivatives. The evolution continues today as digital printing technologies step in line to advance the nature of print.
So now print is augmenting (a key word here) its quincentennial stature by serving as a gateway into the digital world. Although simple and easy to use, there's more than meets the eye. Quad/Graphics' mobile technology platform, Interactive Print Solutions (IPS), can incorporate various technologies that deliver an enhanced experience. These include: QR Codes, Image Recognition, Aumented Reality, and Near-Field Communications (NFC).
QR Codes are 2D bar codes that have been in use for some time. Unique data is stored in the code itself and today they can be so unique as to include personalized data (printed via digital printing technology). Image Recognition is a key application used by Actable, as it captures the image and calls up and delivers the content associated with that particular image. Augmented Reality allows the use of 3D interactive content to be displayed. NFC is an RFID microchip-based technology that when incorporated into a device, allows digital content to be accessed without the need for the app infrastructure.
These technologies are fun to use and fascinating to see being developed. But remember, they really are not so new. Dick Tracy used a two-way wrist communicator back in the 1940s, and just look at what they've been doing on Star Trek and Star Wars all these year. And I was just reminded that somewhere around 95 percent of the universe is made up of dark matter and dark energy. Once we figure out what that stuff is, our imaginations can really run wild. In the meantime, enjoy Actable.
Print lives on!
Tom Polischuk, Editor-in-Chief
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