Print and Pixel Dust

GRAPH EXPO 2012 is alive with leading-edge interactive print examples that propel ink-on-paper messages to compelling mobile and Web content. From QR code applications to cloud-based content repositories to augmented reality, this year’s showing of multi-media communications highlights the way a well-executed brochure, publication, or billboard connects presence and permanence to online and social media applications. It is a world where print, mixed with a little pixel dust, helps launch great marketing ideas into flight.

The first-ever PODi Cross-Media Application Gallery in Booth 1269 celebrates some of the best in interactive and multimedia direct marketing. The 2,400 sq.ft. gallery highlights the world’s largest production digital printing case study library.

Staffers from PODi’s parent organization, marketing consultancy Caslon, are onsite at the gallery, answering questions and sharing information about new initiatives. PODi will also highlight effective cross-media strategies for the non-profit sector today during a 3:00 pm presentation in the GRAPH EXPO Marketing Theater (Booth 1274).

The Marketing Theater is host to a robust series of free sessions throughout the show highlighting multimedia opportunities for PSPs. Today at 2:00 pm, John Foley, Jr. of InterlinkONE and Grow Socially will present a session on “Social Media for the Printing Industry.” And tomorrow at 2:00 pm, InterlinkONE’s Jason Pinto will give additional detail on the latest in digital marketing in a presentation titled “The Cloud and Mobile Demystified” in Booth 1071.

“There is no doubt in my mind that QR codes are still one of the most effective ways to make print interactive,” said Foley.

The main GRAPH EXPO conference program features Dr. John Leininger of the Clemson University Department of Graphic Communications presenting “QR Codes I.Q.: A Practical, Tactical Approach” on Oct. 9 from 8:30-10:30 am in room S403a. His session will help PSPs discover practical marketing applications with 12 ways to use QR codes in marketing campaigns.

“Many links do a poor job of enhancing the marketing message,” according to Leininger. “Learning when and how to best use a QR code isn’t rocket science, but it is a bit more difficult than just converting a URL to a QR code with a QR code generator.”

Another GRAPH EXPO seminar presenter, Printing Industries of America’s Joe Marin Sr., leads the second half of his two-part “Print Unleashed!” seminar this afternoon in room S404a. The program is a hands-on instructional session to get graphic communications professionals immersed in the tools that effectively link print to dynamic content on the Web. Today’s session, which will take place from 2:00 - 5:00 pm, will highlight QR code creation and customization, mobile-optimized websites, search engine optimization, and building engaging augmented reality offerings.


Multi-media’s MUST SEE ’EMS technologies

Several new cross media/interactive print technologies on display at GRAPH EXPO have earned recognition as MUST SEE ’EMS award winners. In Booth 2600 attendees can see why Ricoh earned a MUST SEE ’EMS nod for its Clickable Paper augmented reality application. Clickable Paper is a new, cross-media service that enables consumers to receive online content on their smartphones without using a QR code.

Originally shown at drupa earlier this year, Clickable Paper features can be added to printed documents without requiring any editing or reformatting. Users can scan any type of document content, including text, to trigger online content. Dedicated, online information can be linked to multiple areas within a single document.

Another MUST SEE ’EMS winner, Circle from Xerox subsidiary XMPie (Booth 1200), is a cloud-based, digital storyboard used to help visualize and plan individualized multimedia campaigns. The product helps PSPs and agencies manage many stages in campaign development, from conceptualization and mock-up to preview and deployment so they can collaboratively sketch, view, plan, build, and discuss their 1:1 multi-channel implementations.


Managing print-to-mobile formatting

Agfa Graphics (Booth 627) has also enhanced its :Apogee workflow solutions for more-robust multi-media work. The company’s :Apogee Suite 8.0 includes :Apogee StoreFront, a new, cloud-based Web-to-print solution that enables easy set-up of online stores for printed and non-printed products.

A new SaaS solution from Agfa, :Arkitex Eversify, helps publishers maintain complete control over the look and feel of their online and mobile version publications with minimal effort.

PSPs and publishers automate the delivery of publications to mobile devices with :Arkitex Eversify, as it can operate seamlessly with the existing print production workflow to create a mobile publication. Designed specifically for publishers seeking an uncomplicated mobile solution, :Arkitex Eversify provides a rich reading experience without increasing production costs.


QR codes for better mail management

MailSpotter a new direct-mail QR code utility from Datatech SmartSoft (Booth 653) tracks mailings through the U.S. Postal System, using a combination of both the new Intelligent Mail barcode and QR codes.

When a service provider prepares a mailing for a client, MailSpotter can generate unique QR codes for each individual mailpiece, along with the IM barcode, and the entire mailing is tracked through the Postal Service in real-time and reported on through an online portal that has a variety of easy-to-read reports.

When a recipient scans a QR code the mail sender gets an instant notification via SMS or email with the details of who has scanned it, for more timely and proactive follow up. Mailspotter not only removes the guesswork that happens when a direct mail campaign goes out, it allows mailers to drill down to the mailpiece level with instant, detailed campaign performance data on who is scanning their campaigns.


Multi-media’s next GRRR-eat application

Like Ricoh’s Clickable Paper, HP’s Aurasma technology takes interactive print beyond the QR code. And HP (Booth 1227) has also had some compelling uses beyond the traditional printed page and into the large-format printing arena. In fact, Chicago is one of 50 cities worldwide where rock legends The Rolling Stones have installed Aurasma-enabled billboards and signage featuring 3D augmented reality illustrations for the Stones’ new GRRR! greatest hits album.

The album cover features a Gorilla painted by iconic wildlife artist Walton Ford, and fans can use Universal Music’s uView app to watch the GRRR! artwork, fully realized in 3D animation. Viewers will also be treated to exclusive content and can pre-order the album through the Aurasma-enabled print application.

In addition to Chicago locations, the campaign appears on worldwide landmarks, including Big Ben in London, New York’s Empire State Building, Tokyo’s Skytree, and the Sydney Opera House—all of which have been tagged with a variety of virtual 3D gorillas modeled on the GRRR! album artwork.

And, while nearly every GRAPH EXPO exhibitor’s large-format advertising features QR codes nowadays, HP’s ads also feature Aurasma. Look with your smartphone using the AurasmaLite app and you’ll see the customer testimonial ads turn into full-video interviews of PSPs discussing the advantages they gain with HP technology. The HP large-format printer models featured in these campaigns are the centerpiece of authorized HP reseller PriscoDigital’s exhibit in Booth 201, including the HP Designjet L28500 Latex Ink printer and the HP Scitex FB700 UV-ink printer.