How many of you reading this blog post have ever heard of “Aurasma?” If you haven't heard of this new technology, I would suggest you Google it and spend a minute or two digesting what you are about to find. While technology certainly continues to provide printed newspapers with immense challenges, I would suggest that to those willing to think outside the box and view the world through a different lens, it has also provided immense opportunity.
The beauty of TV years ago, and the Internet more recently, is that both can take the topic and subject you are viewing and literally bring it to life; they can bring it into your living room or the location in which you are viewing it. Traditional newspapers, while offering an excellent reading experience, are unable to provide the experience that live TV and the Internet can.
Speed ahead to the era of Aurasma. Now newspapers finally have the ability to provide real action and visual enjoyment embedded in each story. Point your smartphone or tablet at the picture on the sports page and watch the players come alive and view action highlights. Point your smartphone or tablet at the ad previewing a coming box office hit and watch as a theater quality preview comes to life. All that and so much more are possible with technology.
Point that same smartphone or tablet at an advertiser's ad and watch a 30-second commercial or, better yet, view a full-blown infomercial. The audience and revenue opportunities from both the news content and ad content are practically endless with this type of technology. It takes the latest fad, QR codes, and bumps it up to a whole new level — without the ugly black and white square codes all over your product.
While still not TV or the Internet, newspapers now have the ability through modern technology to spring back to life. The million-dollar question, however, is the same one that we have asked ourselves on more than one occasion: Will we reach out and grab the lifeline or will we sit back and wait for the technology to pass us by yet again?
As I have pointed out on more than one occasion, being willing to take risks is what separates the “men from the boys,” via true innovation and the entrepreneurial spirit. Many talk the innovation or reinvention talk, yet are content to sit back and wait while others “work out the kinks,” so to speak. As an industry, we can't afford that type of thinking any longer — we must get out in front where it makes sense and lead, taking smart and/or calculated risks in order to survive.
None of us knows where the Aurasma technology will go, but it is these types of inventions that we need to embrace quickly in order to right the ship that is listing badly to port. It will be interesting to see how and if the print industry embraces such technology or if we squander yet another opportunity.