In this column, Roger Belanger Director from GossRSVP, a subsidiary of Goss International Corporation, introduces interesting concepts about how digital media technologies can increase the value of print media.

“Disrupting the Future” by Dr. Joe Webb is a good read on the past, present and the possible future of print and how digital technology will continue to change print. One suggestion that supports industry trends and what GossRSVP and others have been promoting is to use quick response codes, or any other open standard 2D barcode, to enhance print as a communication media. However, before 2D codes can become ubiquitous in print, three items need to be addressed and your critical input to help address them is requested. The three items are; the need for publication tools that integrate and track quick response codes seamlessly, the size of the code and the cell phone devices that interact with them.

This new technology connects our physical world, including print! E-readers, tablets, pads, etc all take the consumers directly to the Web while industrial hand held scanner phones engage the user first with their physical world before connecting to the internet. Herein lays the problem and a great opportunity for print communications.

The problem is digital device manufactures don’t really care about print communication, which is very short sighted. While we must apply new cost effective and relevant tools to reach the digital consumer, print continues to play a vital role which studies by McPheters* and others continue to show. I applaud these device manufactures for such digital convenience in reading web content, but as of yet they have not understood the opportunity that exist by engaging the consumer with the physical world of print.

The opportunity is already proven through business solutions such as, inventory, logistics, mail sorting, package shipping, retail, ticketing, etc, all of which use handheld scanning devices. All these handheld devices use light assisted scanners, and they eliminate the need to enter codes. They provide valuable data mining, tracking, immediacy of information, and can connect to the Internet. They use industry proven technology with proven business revenue models to scan the smallest of codes in the worst of conditions nearly 100% of the time.

The print industry can not and should not wait for digital device manufactures to provide print communication solutions. Just imagine if everyone could just point their cell phone at anything in print and instantly engage with it or be taken to the Internet? With such devices the fulfillment and interactive possibilities from the physical world of print are endless. However, to make 2d codes acceptable and ubiquitous in print, they must to be small, unobtrusive and integrate with the image. Today, ¾ or 20mm-sq bar codes or larger are a good start but a novelty at best. 

As Wi-Fi becomes available many places for free and smart phones are capable of accessing this free service, consumer interaction with printed 2d codes is likewise often free. So none of the solutions here add to the cost of print, rather they only enhance its value.

Print is already a “World Wide Web” in itself & it’s ubiquitous. Print will be even more dynamic as cell phones become true scanning devices and front end publishing & creative tools have interactive code features built in. True scan phone technology is available today to change the digitally unconnected print industry, but it will not evolve unless those vested in print communications band together and make the case. 

Here are just some of the few “Possibilities for Print Communications”, just Imagine, the Possibilities for Print:  world wide web of print, wwwp:// new search algorithms ?, insert small 2d codes with any publisher software or others office tools, every sentence, paragraph, page or picture can be digitally connected to the net, advertiser can direct consumer to targeted offers or info efficiently to minimize phone data cost, any print item instantly shared with any social media group, use consumer data to produce targeted print ads and internet ads, methods to engage younger digital consumer to interact with print, scanning print, a driver to increased online ads & sales the possibilities are endless…

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Portada Staff

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