Big Picture - March 2018 - 26
Through the AR
in these 19 Crimes
wine labels by
Estates in Australia,
these exiled British
men and women
come to life.
With the iPhone 8 and iPhone X, Apple introduced its ARKit
framework of sensors and software. Apple technology will
enable AR app developers to create vivid AR adventures that
put virtual objects smoothly into the viewer's environment.
Multimedia content can be stored and updated in the
cloud. Content opened from advanced barcodes can be
updated and refreshed.
Many consumers want more product information than
what can fit on the package. Online content linked to the
package can include a detailed list of ingredients, assembly
instructions, or information about whether the product is
organic, contains allergens, or is ethically produced.
Brands are paying closer attention to developing
compelling content. Presentations at Adobe Max and How
Active packaging uses advanced forms of barcodes that
allow customers to engage with content controlled by the brand.
Many forms of active packaging are designed around
Digimarc's "Barcode of Everything." The Digimarc barcode
can digitally activate any visual content, including shelf labels,
P-O-P displays, posters, books, magazine ads, TV ads, and
digital signage. The imperceptible codes are applied directly
into the images during the design stage. These "digitally
watermarked" images can be printed with analog or digital
printing processes onto many types of substrates.
When a connected package is activated on your smartphone, you might see a video, music, game, contest landing
page, or a properly translated version of a multilingual
package insert. Or, the connected package could trigger an
augmented reality experience.
Augmented reality (AR) is a layer of additional content
that appears over an image that is scanned by the camera on
your smartphone. You view the added content in the environment in which you are using the smartphone.
Augmented reality is considered a whole new communication medium. It will be used for much more than packaging.
When you travel, you can use AR to translate signs and
menus. Or you can see how a piece of furniture in the IKEA
catalog might look in your own apartment.
Learning from Past Mistakes
Companies started experimenting with interactive print after
QR (quick response) codes were introduced for use with
mobile devices in the mid-'90s. Many attempts failed because
consumers who took the trouble to download the app and
scan the code were disappointed by the online content. Often,
the QR code took consumers to a website that hadn't been
designed for smartphone viewing.
Today, even companies that experienced minimal results
with QR codes can see the potential of connecting print to
online content. Changes in smartphone technology and
consumer behavior make it more likely consumers will
activate the codes embedded in the printed designs. Here are
a few trends that portend success:
It will become easier for more people to access digital
content from printed pieces. Apple enabled support for QR
codes and NFC in iOS 11. Together with QR code support in
Chrome, up to two billion devices can natively scan and
interact with products.
Design Live conferences are encouraging web, app, print, and
package designers to imagine what's possible when printed
materials are connected to digital content.
Creative services agencies are sensing a massive
opportunity to help clients realize the potential of augmented
reality as a new form of communication - not just with packaging
but with all forms of marketing, education, and training.
Technologies Are Advancing
One way to track emerging technologies for connected
packaging is to follow the Active and Intelligent Packaging
Industry Association (AIPIA). AIPIA is an informationexchange community of 800 companies, including brand
owners, major packaging manufacturers, logistics firms,
technology developers, and suppliers.
Below are a few companies heeding AIPIA's recommendation to convert various technologies into integrated, usable
solutions that will provide real, long-term value to brands.
Digimarc has developed imperceptible barcodes that can
embed digital information into images, printed materials, audio,
and video. For packaging, the barcodes can carry the same
Global Trade Identification Numbers used in UPC/EAN
consumer barcodes but can also include serial numbers or
other information. Digimarc serves grocers and household
brands that are eager to deliver interactive content to consumers, drive faster retail checkout, and improve quality control for
product manufacturing. Digimarc codes for packaging can be
applied to images through a Photoshop plug-in. The company's
barcodes are licensed to HP and other technology providers.
HP Link Technology creates a fully interactive, costeffective link between printed and online communications.
It can give every single package (or other printed materials)
coming off a production line its own unique identity. For
example, serial codes can track user interactions with
marketing messages, authenticate products across the supply
chain, or better manage product recalls.
To enable the high-speed creation and embedding of
variable-data Digimarc barcodes, HP tools include a SmartStream Composer and Designer plug-in, and open APIs for
workflow software integration.
Linkz is a cloud-based content-delivery platform for
interactive print. How-to videos, recipes, coupons, contest entry
forms, and other content can be stored on custom portals and
activated through whatever method a brand wants to test. The