Konica Minolta’s GenARate Attracts New Audience in Marketing/Advertising

Colin McMahon
Mar 25, 2020

Konica Minolta’s flagship augmented reality (AR) software platform, genARate, launched back in November 2018, but the company has been supporting, developing, and expanding its usage ever since. For those who may not be familiar, genARate is best described as a content creation tool for the AR space. Like many solutions, it has a mobile component – which currently includes an app that users can download (as well as a web solution…more on that later), and it also has a backend content creation studio that helps clients create intriguing and engaging AR experiences.

Ashley McConnell, Konica Minolta’s International Business Development Manager, recently sat down for a podcast interview with us at Keypoint Intelligence to discuss all the ways he and his company have been working to support genARate, as well as new improvements to the product. One of the big takeaways: While genARate was created with print service providers in mind, the product is seeing success in a new field – marketing and advertising.

Konica Minolta Augmented Reality Print

Image Source: Konica Minolta

Why AR is Ballooning in Marketing

Data gathered by Hubspot in 2020 shows that video has captured the top spot when it comes to content strategy in marketing, having recently overtaken blogs and other infographics. In this category, brand storytelling and standard promotional videos are most common. This complements AR, which often includes adding animation or video content to static images.

More frequently, many marketers likely see AR as more engaging, since it is more involved than a video where the user just presses “play” and watches. AR could represent the future number one channel of marketing, but only if it is done right. In our interview, McConnell was quick to point out the need to overcome gimmicky experiences or what he sees as “dancing dinosaurs.” This simply means that many AR experiences are impressive the first time, but rarely worth repeat engagements.

AR experiences are still new and often developed by software engineers rather than creative marketing campaign designers. As more marketers become comfortable with genARate’s content creation platform, McConnell hopes that the overall quality of AR experiences will increase. The key is to design with repeat experiences in mind.

The Continued Need for Ease-of-Use

In another effort to boost genARate’s applications and the popularity of AR experiences overall, McConnell shared that efforts are well underway to equip genARate with web AR development. This means that an AR experience that can be launched directly from a web browser without requiring the user to download an app, thus reducing the effort required to see an AR experience. The desire for increased simplicity fuels web AR development.

McConnell’s comments echo similar remarks made by RealityBLU in its last podcast interview with Keypoint Intelligence. This indicates a broader trend among AR solutions providers that web AR is a key priority. Businesses are prioritizing ease-of-use and encouraging their partners in print and marketing to do the same.

Despite ceasing development on its first AR headset, Konica Minolta remains committed to the future of AR with its new product offering. The focus, at least for now, is on valuable software solutions for current AR hardware – ranging from the standard smartphone to the more advanced headsets available for the enterprise space. Keypoint Intelligence expects to see these efforts ramp up as AR technology draws ever closer to mainstream viability, helped in no small part by the advent of 5g in 2020.

If you have any questions on AR or its role in print and beyond, please contact Colin McMahon at Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends.

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