A Short History & Future of Augmented Reality in the Print industry
We have only seen in movies where imagination becomes reality, but today it is indeed a reality since we have AR in our lives. Augmented Reality is now a part of our lives and it has transformed everything it has touched. The print industry is one such sector that has been revolutionized ever since the arrival of AR about which we are going to see in detail in this blog.
Augmented Reality: A Brief History & Future Trends
Augmented reality (AR) is not a concept born yesterday or a year or two before. In fact, its history can date back to the 60s when it was first conceived. In 1968, Ivan Sutherland, a Harvard professor, and computer scientist coined the concept of the first head-mounted display called ‘The Sword of Damocles’ which was a user-experienced computer-generated graphics that enhanced their sensory perception of the world.
That was the beginning and today 60 years later, AR has come a long way with a growing list of use cases for AR i.e. from NASA simulations to immersive marketing experiences, augmented reality makes tasks easier – and more fun!
Augmented reality (AR) is an enhanced version of the physical world. It is a technology that lets people superimpose digital elements such as text, images, videos, and audio over a real-world environment. It creates an illusion that holographic content is part of the physical world around the user. Like VR (virtual reality) AR does not immerse a user into an artificial environment but alters a users’ perception of reality by adding three-dimensional objects, sounds, videos, and graphics to their view of reality.
AR evolved with time and with it our lives too as today with AR it is possible for us to get an immersive experience without going anywhere. AR is already in our hands meaning from the Snapchat dog filter, games like Poke Mongo and AR Stack, to shopping from IKEA, AR is everywhere and we are already using it in our daily life unknowingly. Rather than predicting the future of AR, it can be said the future is AR because as per the market forecast it is going to reach $72.8 billion in 2024 for sure.
AR technology has become a need of the hour in industries as the application of AR has boosted efficiencies, cut costs, and generated wide-scale opportunities beyond one's imagination which is why today, from education and healthcare to finance, manufacturing and logistics, AR has disrupted every corner of every industry and print is no different.
AR in the Print Industry
Augmented reality has made its way into the print industry since 2016 and by now, it has established a strong foothold in it. From print advertising, product packaging, exhibition, product configuration, direct mails, product catalogs, large format prints, menus, business cards, to magazines, AR in print is a newly emerging area of web development that uses our mobile devices to provide a user with a redefining augmented reality experience with a printed product.
How Does it Work?
By scanning a custom-created QR code or by tapping on the NFC tag on printed collateral via smartphone, a user can get an immersive AR experience of the printed product. The user will be able to view your print through the camera and the AR magic happens. The user gets a real-life-like experience when the AR brings life to a product straight out of a print.
For example, IKEA allows its users to scan their product catalog pages and see via an immersive AR experience how the furniture will look in their room before buying. In fact, some print companies are making use of AR in product configuration as well. With a 3D product configurator tool, the user is given an AR experience where he/she can customize the print by themselves and get it as they desire. Let’s understand it in detail.
AR + 3D Product Configurator: How is it Revolutionizing the Print World?
Many online stores are offering product configurators already but with AR in it, you get some awesome added perks that will let you stand out from competitors and give customers a superior experience.
With the combination of photorealistic 3D imagery and AR visualization, a user can customize, configure and visualize products by placing them in their own environment, directly from the webshop, website, or mobile app. For example, one can how a printed interior or decor such as wallpapers, wall murals, photo collages, bespoke upholstery, carpets, table covers, drapes, and so on will look before buying.
Thus, by incorporating an augmented reality store into your websites and apps, you can personalize customers' journeys as well as keep them engaged by providing them with the tools and inspiration they need to complete the sales cycle.
Benefits of AR 3D Product Configurator
AR product configurator is a boon to businesses in retail or any other sector selling tangible products in which there is a need to demonstrate goods, allowing customers to “try before buy” products as it gives the following benefits to both the customers and the sellers.
- Increased Customer Engagement
Who won't love to see the product options they want in high-quality AR + 3D? And who won't come back to experience the same again and again? Nothing is better than a 3D preview of a product with AR to keep customers engaged with your business. As it will not only help customers understand modular or configurable products but will also entertain them for which they will stick to you for sure.
- The Ultimate Sales Tool
Seeing is believing and for customers when they get a try-before-buy experience online, they will keep shopping happily which means more sales. By allowing customers to configure products in terms of color, size, material, design, etc., and create «their own» product before making an actual purchase as well as download high-quality images from your Product Configurator, you are giving a tremendous boost to your sales.
- Gain What You Lost
AR product configurator works best for customer retention. If you have lost customers you can garner more eyeballs for your brand and win them back by providing them a better realism and accuracy of your product which they will definitely love. For example, you can use AR solutions in creating AR-enabled business cards, newsletters, and create awe-inspiring customer experiences.
- Less Investment, More Returns
If you are thinking that incorporating AR will burn a hole in your pocket then guess what? It is not at all expensive and is also a one-time investment you simply have to partner with the right AR app development company and create a mobile application on Google Play or AppStore so that users could have it on their devices.
Alternatively, an AR product configurator can be developed as a web XR technology, which means if you don't have the budget of developing a web/mobile application you can allow your uses to open inside a browser.
Top 5 Exciting Examples of Augmented Reality in Print
- Business Cards
AR has opened the full potential of business cards which is arguably the most essential tool in any professional’s pocket. With AR technology, new contacts can now scan your business card and see not only the details printed on the card, but also a wide range of other media including photos, videos, and links. Also, viewers can import your information directly into their contacts, send you an email, or dial your phone number.
- Direct Mail
One of the most effective marketing strategies businesses, direct mail with AR bridges the gap between print and digital marketing by integrating the two. You can now share a 3D model of products with customers and showcase specific capabilities by incorporating AR into direct mail campaigns.
- Product Catalogs
As we cited before, IKEA has incorporated AR into its product catalogs through which customers can “try out” furniture right in their homes making sure everything looks good and fits right.
Food ordering at restaurants has now been upgraded. Instead of food images, customers can now see the food before they even order it. With AR you can know precisely how your meal will look and then order or take out.
- Large Format Prints
Marketing has become even more powerful with AR incorporated large format posters and displays used in events, sales promotions, or trade shows. From bringing architectural plans to life by adding AR layers to the designs to creating 3D models, or embedding an exclusive deleted scene into a movie poster AR keeps audiences hooked.
AR: To Infinity and Beyond
With AR the possibilities are endless and when it comes to 3D printing, many companies are now leveraging its benefits to win customers' attention and keep them engaged as much as possible because the competition is getting hotter day by day. AR is already into print and what the future holds only time will tell but one thing is sure, it will be more interesting than it is today.