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The print aggregation models of today and tomorrow are by nature both digital and virtual. And the rise of “Augmented Reality” in print is a natural evolution for gaining more benefits from print aggregation. As evidence of this new reality in print, the CBS broadcast network advertised its fall TV season with a video-chip ad embedded in an issue of Entertainment Weekly. The September 18 issue of the Time Inc. owned magazine featured the first video ad to appear in print and it certainly will not be the last. The print aggregation model is ideally suited to integrate these interactive technologies and print production by putting all the relevant vendors into a single database. While the exact details of the future of Augmented Reality are not clearly known today, print aggregation assures that wherever the technological breakthroughs are, they will be visible and accessible through print aggregation software.

The following excerpts are from an article on augmented reality and include many good examples:

“As we look back at 2009, a technology milestone for the printing industry, marketing communications, education, and the media world may be the rise of augmented reality. Augmented reality (AR) is a field of computer science that involves combining the physical world with an interactive, three-dimensional virtual world. This term might be new to some of you, but augmented reality makes print the ultimate in interactive media. Engaging customers with print is sometimes difficult, but augmented reality is popping up everywhere to drive product sales, get people to open magazines, and enhance the educational experience associated with books.

LEGO: Boosting Retail Sales with Augmented Reality
In November, Danish toy manufacturer LEGO launched its “DIGITAL BOX” in selected toyshops and LEGO stores worldwide. This interactive terminal utilizes innovative technology supplied by Munich-based augmented reality expert Metaio in the form of a software program specially developed for the LEGO Group. Together with a camera and display screen, the software enables a LEGO package to reveal its contents fully assembled within live 3-D animated scenes.
In today’s buyers’ market, purchasing decisions are often driven by consumer excitement about a product. This certainly applies to the toy market. Ideally, consumers will want to hold a potential purchase in their hands and look at it closely from all angles, but this can be difficult when the product is composed of individual pieces. For example, consider construction toys—even if you opened the box right away, it would take hours to find out what the toy looked like when it was assembled. The DIGITAL BOX from LEGO provides a solution. Parents and children can hold special LEGO boxes (containing a hydraulic digger or police station, for example) up to an interactive kiosk to see a 3-D animation of the assembled product superimposed on the box.
[See Lego Example, plus others]

Augmented reality may seem like science fiction or a reaction to today’s constant barrage of digital content, but it represents an important step on the road to making technology more understandable and useful. While some of the examples of augmented reality may appear gimmicky, my personal belief is that there is huge potential for AR across all industries. For example, an assembly line worker might be able to view step-by-step instructions within his field of vision while assembling a part, a surgeon could overlay an X-ray of a patient while operating to ensure a more precise incision, an architect could preview various prototypes of a building on-site before starting, or a clothing designer might visualize how an outfit will appear on different body types. Augmented reality will foster better ways to acquire, develop, and retain customers in a personalized, differentiated manner; better equip employees to ensure the maximum use of skills; and better educate students. Stay tuned for other new and visionary applications that will evolve as the virtual and physical worlds collide.”

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