What genARate Means to the Print Market

Colin McMahon
Dec 14, 2018

Released last month, genARate is a new software tool from Konica Minolta. The platform specifically focuses on applying augmented reality (AR) technology to print products. Although it is not the first tool to encourage AR application creation, or even the first to target the print market (see HP’s Reveal platform), genARate is notable for its ease-of-use and its application focus.

What is genARate?

With genARate, Konica Minolta has essentially created a competitor to Blippar—an AR platform that enables marketers to attach images and animations to real-life objects. Neither application requires real coding knowledge or experience, and both specialize in the overlay of digital content into the physical world.

Using genARate is simple; users need only open a web browser and start creating. There’s no lengthy setup involved and no need to install a new system. Once implemented, the experience should be viewable through most smartphones and tablets.

GenARate can be a helpful tool for PSPs for two primary reasons:

  1. It works on existing print products. PSPs don’t need to redesign or create a new offering lineup to take advantage of AR displays.
  2. GenARate comes with a built-in data analytics tool that helps creators track how their application is being used.

So essentially, PSPs can refit their product offerings with interactive elements that also provide greater insight into consumer behaviors and interests.

During an interview, Head of Project Delivery and Operation at Konica Minolta Business Innovation Centre Europe Christian Kiesewetter stated, “We wanted to create offerings that are broader than just print, but we also wanted to offer our core customers something that can help them in the transformation to the digital age.”

Part of the mission of genARate, according to Kiesewetter, is to help PSPs and printers transition away from outdated technologies and become digital innovators.

An Augmented Print World

Based on first impressions, Keypoint Intelligence – InfoTrends (InfoTrends) suspects that genARate probably won’t be the most robust AR creation tool on the market. That said, it’s still a useful platform for PSPs that want to quickly and affordably augment their product libraries with new technology.

Printed communications have several negative stereotypes to overcome in the minds of younger generations, who frequently choose digital communication avenues for their perceived convenience, interactivity, and sustainability. To remain competitive, print providers should consider adding new elements whenever they can. On this level, AR and print can be a compelling option. A printed surface has natural limits (like page size and ink usage), but AR does not. A small drawing of a mouse can be transformed into a life-size animation that catches and keeps the user’s attention.

Going forward, InfoTrends expects AR’s presence in the print world to increase as more PSPs take the next step in differentiating their products and bringing increased value to consumers. GenARate is a tool that can help them achieve this goal.

 

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