Best Buy, which has an aggressive outreach to small-business owners, has begun implementing QR bar code technology in some of its stores. Shoppers can aim a smartphone at a product's code and their screens will display additional information or a Best Buy landing page.
But augmented reality is the sexiest of the emerging interactive print technologies.
To herald the opening of the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, advertiser Universal Orlando Resort inserted a “simple” printed map of the theme park in the Jan. 28 edition of USA Today. Readers, instructed to put the map in front of a Webcam, could view and rotate the entire park in 3-D, from all sides and angles, with a rising Hogwarts castle and a step-through experience of Hogsmeade village. Users who blew on their computers' microphones could make the banners wave.
Lego Group has installed Webcams and displays in toy stores. Potential buyers can rotate a closed Lego box in front of the Webcam to see a 3-D representation—movable and viewable through 360 degrees—of the finished product, perched on top of the box.
On the b-to-b front, Klein said Pitney Bowes is considering adding QR codes to its invoices, to encourage up- and cross-selling opportunities.
“One of the things we need to recognize is that consumer technologies are infusing themselves into the business environment,” said Michael Becker, managing director-North America for the Mobile Marketing Association. “To a certain extent, all marketers are becoming direct consumer marketers. In a b-to-b context, I'm not marketing to a company but to a person at a company ... and to his phone.” M