Holograms and Augmented Reality leads to new business opportunities for publishers

Amazing technology is commonplace today, and as often happens, the real blockbusters show up when we merge several new technologies into something really new and exciting.

Such is the case with the development of the simple hologram, and following our ability to blend this with digital technologies, we are generating totally new ways to work, to play, to teach and to learn, almost on a daily basis. This new composite technology offers literally fantastic applications for all businesses, and for the media and book market in particular, augmented and virtual reality, as they are now called, are looking ready for prime time.

Since the beginnings of the simple hologram, which is nothing more than a three dimensional, often moving, image formed by the projection of a laser or other light source onto a basic transparent pyramid, we then graduated on to merging holograms with computer animation. And so in this world of mixed reality, people in their own ‘virtual reality’ can interact with the digital world to such an extent that practically any experience can be customized to anything you want.

Take a gaming example for a moment; a ten foot invader robot smashes through your own living room wall, you defend yourself by blasting it into a thousand pieces and calmly walk your animated dog out of the living room into your own kitchen. You get the idea, albeit a little over-stimulating! It is with these extensions that have become known as Augmented Reality (AR), that we have begun to see a whole new world of opportunity for businesses other than the gaming market – especially in publishing.

Marketing in all publishing verticals is a great example. In whatever side of the publishing industry you are engaged, the application of this new technology is a boon for marketers.

Building holograms into your marketing campaigns is an impactful way to influence purchasing behavior and to create brand awareness.  It adds valuable content to enrich the buyers experience while adding dwell time.  In addition to that, hologram displays can be updated rapidly and continuously to hold attention of your target market over longer periods, and nothing captures attention better at a book show.

Knk demonstrated this kind of application at the 2016 Frankfurt Book Fair.  We showed how holograms and Augmented Reality apps can be used to tell a story, to bring promotional materials to life, or be wrapped up in more sophisticated entertainment and marketing campaigns.  They become another form of content which can be sold and repurposed and managed in an integrated publishing system, just like any other asset.

Whereas virtual reality (VR) creates a fictional world, augmented reality (AR) provides an additional level to the real world. We think of this as a totally new media, and a new market for professional, B2B and technical publishers. The AR glasses are very sophisticated and are no more intrusive than sunglasses. The computer projects images such as text, infographics and film directly into the goggle lens, and as you can see below, there is practically an unlimited number of applications for professional publishers.  Here are some examples.

  • To support on-the-go doctors, lawyers, tax advisors, accountants.Doctors, lawyers, tax advisers and auditors can use embedded AR content provided by technical or scientific publishers to create efficiencies in daily work when they need to be mobile. For example, info graphics and recommendations for therapy and rehabilitation, while treating a patient.  The patient doesn’t even see that the doctor has used the system.
  • To support technical support services.In the maintenance of airplanes, automobiles, and other machinery, technicians can use embedded AR content provided by technical or scientific publishers to learn quickly and to get advice in difficult situations. For example, info graphics and recommendations on how to exchange parts, how to reconnect wiring, and perform quality maintenance tasks etc.
  • Cookbook publishers.While showing instructional videos (on how to blanch or fillet for example), you can simply embed new content in existing material, and then you can add image recognition on specific vegetables, steak or fish course displays, and add food preparation instructions with holographics. It’s the same recipe but with real world content.

And Virtual Reality has found many applications too. Think virtual travel to any place in the world – making learning about the real world and other cultures more affordable for everybody, particularly those that can’t travel easily.  Virtual reality is just a new media type. The computer games industry made some of the first advances in this new medium. But it is also a great new market for trade book publishers.  Most VR games played today are the so-called “ego shooter” games, which are of course not particularly valuable, socially or ethically. Publishers are the guardians of our culture, and we are creating tasteful alternatives: adventures, puzzle games, role playing, detective stories, spy stories, fantasy, mystery thrillers, etc. There are other examples.

  • Special Interest Publishers.  Take your VR goggles to the gym and download a 360-degree video shot from San Francisco – instantly you’re jogging on the Golden Gate Bridge!
  • Travel guide publishers in hospitals and nursing homes. This requires only the simplest form of 360-degree videos, e.g. a helicopter flight through the Grand Canyon.
  • Training and continuing education.  In areas where human interaction is necessary, you can imagine educational software content in virtual reality, for example for service staff in restaurants and hotels, or in the caring professions and sales training.
  • Construction professionals and architects. VR can be used on 3D CAD drawings of an in-design house to prevent planning errors turning into expensive building problems. Kitchen manufacturers have been using CAD for years, and here is a mature market for a smart specialist publisher.

    So whether it’s wrapping holograms and AR technologies into product marketing programs, or creating new content or extending existing saleable content, AR offers a new way for publishers to create value and add to the bottom line, and all of these assets can be managed together in an integrated publishing software product such as knkPublishing.


Real blockbusters show up

when we merge

several new technologies

into something really new and exciting.