Organizations with a heavy investment in print – newspapers, magazines, books, catalogues and the like – have been bulldozed by the Internet.
For the last 15 years they’ve been alternatively fighting and embracing the digital world with mixed success: Many magazines have seen their pages shrink while newspapers watch readers drift away.
The latest attempt to bridge the gap is technology from an Amsterdam company called Layar B.V., which makes what it calls an augmented reality browser for Android or iOS smart phones that can read a code embedded in print and then jump to a Web page with new or expanded digital content.
Another reason he’s here is that this month Layar hopes to register its 1,000th customer of its online editor.
Layar is a competitor to Near Field Communications codes, QR codes and Amazon’s Flow app (scan a product’s barcode in a store with your mobile device and it will find the price on Amazon and link to related content).
However, Layar pays for itself through a software-as-a service Web-based editor for creating and installing the code on a digital page before publication.
Organizations upload the PDF or JPG pages they want to embed the reader symbol into Layar Creator, an online editor that can read both formats. Through the editor they can place the symbol anywhere on the page. Then the saved page goes to press the way it normally does.
The cost is about $20 a page.
On seeing a code marker on a page, a reader aims an enabled smart phone at the document. The app recognizes the code and links up to a Web page with any content the publisher has set up – a video, a slide show, an information page or a page where the reader can buy an item.
Schevernels said a number of Canadian publishers are trying it including Postmedia Network
(which publishes a number of dailies including the National Post), the Toronto Star, the Globe and Mail, Reader’s Digest and Glacier Media Group
(Vancouver-based publisher of daily and trade publications).
Layar's Canadian partner is Avenue Road, a Toronto digital marketing consulting firm.