Mashable published an article yesterday, on ‘clickable paper’, paper that comes alive when you scan it with your cell phone. Sounds fun, but how can it be that a renound platform like Mashable publishes an article on this subject in 2014 when it is about technology that has been globally available for years and use the title ‘Finally, an alternative to the much hated QR code’?

Mashable published an article yesterday, on ‘clickable paper’, paper that comes alive when you scan it with your cell phone. Sounds fun, but how can it be that a renound platform like Mashable publishes an article on this subject in 2014 when it is about technology that has been globally available for years and use the title ‘Finally, an alternative to the much hated QR code’?

Mashable describes Ricoh’s latest invention of clickable paper. But actually there are at least 6 other image recognition or augmented reality platforms that have been around for years that deliver a similar experience: Layar and Blippar (as already mentioned by other people responding to the article), but also Aurasma, Metaio, Vuforia and Wikitude. Each platform has its pros and cons. Metaio e.g. is the only one that offers 3D object scanning instead of only 2D scanning. All can visualize 3D objects. [youtube_video] http://youtu.be/Pah_VCsKvo8 [/youtube_video]

Marketing channel turns into sales channel

There are several interesting angles to this technology. There is the one mentioned in the article above: paper becomes interactive. From a business perspective this means that you are turning a traditional marketing channel into a sales channel. And since the latter is at least 10 times more valuable than a marketing channel, this could help publishers with their current predicament of a declining advertising market.

Internet breaks out of your laptop

But there is another angle to augmented reality based on image recognition: it can actually help the internet escape your computer. You can now publish digital content in the real world. Imagine a world where whenever you need help, you just take out a mobile device, which will look around for you and present you with the information that you need.

Some examples: have you ever needed assistance when shopping in the Media Markt / Wall Mart / *you brand here*, but had a hard time finding a free assistant? Well, your phone knows that you are not a home, so when you scan the product that you are considering to buy, your phone will show consumer reviews and marketing features by the vendor. Once you have bought a product and scan it at home it will help you out with the user manual and a link for buying the right accessories and consumables.

Or have you ever been in a hospital and been totally confused looking at the massive unreadable signs that are supposed to show you the way? Your phone, knowing your appointment can recognize the sign and simple show you an arrow pointing left or right.

Augmented Reality provides sight for smart devices

The camera gave your smart phone eyes. But image recognition in combination with augmented reality is providing your smart device with sight. That will radically change the way we interact with brands and think about web sites. The question is whether people will adopt this technology on a large scale. Currently about 14% know about the technology as opposed to 54% of people that know what to do when they see a QR code. To reach mass market adoption you need to cross the famous innovation chasm between 15-18%.

Will augmented reality reach mass market adoption?

Looking some of the last succesfull technologies that reached mass market adoption, it shows that providing people with the ability to create their own content (as opposed to the prepared marketing content in ads) tremendously helps in creating traction for a technology. Remember the internet before Facebook and WordPress?

So what kind of apps could provide DIY Augmented Reality? To stay with the example of clickable paper: what if you could create (and send) you own postcards that are based on your own video? If you use the first frame of the video on the card it will actually create a kind of “Harry Potter” effect where your card comes alive just like the moving pictures in the books. Just download Smilez to check it out.

Or maybe we could have international flash mob where graffiti artists gather and change the most ugly parts of our cities, without actually leaving footsteps and spray paint. Or we could organize a digital trip for our city’s landmarks. The Statue of Liberty could travel and meet the Eiffel Tower. Or maybe, just maybe, Obama would scan the Oval Office and finally notice the yellow balloon that was put there in augmented reality just a few years ago, and add his response to the questions already there.

Now wouldn’t that be cool?

Mashable describes Ricoh’s latest invention of clickable paper. But actually there are at least 6 other image recognition or augmented reality platforms that have been around for years that deliver a similar experience: Layar and Blippar (as already mentioned by other people responding to the article), but also Aurasma, Metaio, Vuforia and Wikitude. Each platform has its pros and cons. Metaio e.g. is the only one that offers 3D object scanning instead of only 2D scanning. All can visualize 3D objects. [youtube_video] http://youtu.be/Pah_VCsKvo8 [/youtube_video]

Marketing channel turns into sales channel

There are several interesting angles to this technology. There is the one mentioned in the article above: paper becomes interactive. From a business perspective this means that you are turning a traditional marketing channel into a sales channel. And since the latter is at least 10 times more valuable than a marketing channel, this could help publishers with their current predicament of a declining advertising market.

Internet breaks out of your laptop

But there is another angle to augmented reality based on image recognition: it can actually help the internet escape your computer. You can now publish digital content in the real world. Imagine a world where whenever you need help, you just take out a mobile device, which will look around for you and present you with the information that you need.

Some examples: have you ever needed assistance when shopping in the Media Markt / Wall Mart / *you brand here*, but had a hard time finding a free assistant? Well, your phone knows that you are not a home, so when you scan the product that you are considering to buy, your phone will show consumer reviews and marketing features by the vendor. Once you have bought a product and scan it at home it will help you out with the user manual and a link for buying the right accessories and consumables.

Or have you ever been in a hospital and been totally confused looking at the massive unreadable signs that are supposed to show you the way? Your phone, knowing your appointment can recognize the sign and simple show you an arrow pointing left or right.

Augmented Reality provides sight for smart devices

The camera gave your smart phone eyes. But image recognition in combination with augmented reality is providing your smart device with sight. That will radically change the way we interact with brands and think about web sites. The question is whether people will adopt this technology on a large scale. Currently about 14% know about the technology as opposed to 54% of people that know what to do when they see a QR code. To reach mass market adoption you need to cross the famous innovation chasm between 15-18%.

Will augmented reality reach mass market adoption?

Looking some of the last succesfull technologies that reached mass market adoption, it shows that providing people with the ability to create their own content (as opposed to the prepared marketing content in ads) tremendously helps in creating traction for a technology. Remember the internet before Facebook and WordPress?

So what kind of apps could provide DIY Augmented Reality? To stay with the example of clickable paper: what if you could create (and send) you own postcards that are based on your own video? If you use the first frame of the video on the card it will actually create a kind of “Harry Potter” effect where your card comes alive just like the moving pictures in the books. Just download Smilez to check it out.

Or maybe we could have international flash mob where graffiti artists gather and change the most ugly parts of our cities, without actually leaving footsteps and spray paint. Or we could organize a digital trip for our city’s landmarks. The Statue of Liberty could travel and meet the Eiffel Tower. Or maybe, just maybe, Obama would scan the Oval Office and finally notice the yellow balloon that was put there in augmented reality just a few years ago, and add his response to the questions already there.

Now wouldn’t that be cool?