What Is Augmented Reality and Why is it a Must Do for Publishers?

What is Augmented Reality?


Augmented Reality (AR) is the layering of media (video, music, text, picture, graphics, animation) on top of a live video feed or real world environment in real time to create an interactive experience. According to Layar, Augmented Reality was originally invented by Ivan Sutherland in 1968, but the term was not coined until the 90s by Tom Caudell and David Missel.

Augmented reality can be used for a myriad of functions including marketing, advertising, magazines, architecture, gaming, and GPS systems. The technology is considered well established because it has been around for twenty seven years, but it is just now being used to it’s full potential.

Currently there are many iphone and droid apps that allow users to overlay the view from their camera with information about the surrounding area. Augmented reality is not just some niche trendy idea, but rather a huge marketing industry which  tech analyst firm Juniper Research estimates that AR apps will generate close to$300 million in global revenue next year (Mashable)

Screen shot 2012-12-13 at 10.12.34 AMIn 2009 National Geographic Magazine used the idea of augmented reality to combine apps that use GPS locations and photographs to tell information about the user’s location such as constellations, restaurant reviews,and updated local crime information.

Augmented Reality and Print Media

Print and digital media do not have to be mutually exclusive…

The age of intertextuality has arrived, where texts not only interact with one another, but texts, graphics, videos, websites, shopping and more interact with one another to give a comprehensive view of a word or place. People shouldn’t worry if print is dead, but instead worry about optimizing their own websites and apps to be able to interact with a wide selection of magazines and newspapers. Many magazines such as Maxim and Esquire, are making interactive covers and insets. The magazines place scannable codes on certain pages, for example a fashion page and by using their app the user can be directly linked to a fashion show featuring the clothes, or an online store to buy the clothes.

Making Money with Augmented Reality

Because augmented reality can be used in print to offer further information about a company, venue or special, it can be charged for like advertising.

Here are some examples of how businesses can use augmented reality…

  • Restaurants and Bars:
    Enhance ads with specials and coupons, this enhancement can be charged for as an upgrade to a regular space advertisement.
Augmented Reality for Restaurant

App allows users to easily “Order Now”

  • Hotels, Music Venues and Spas:
    Use augmented reality to not only advertise one picture of their space or offers, as print formerly offered, but create a video that shows off the whole area or the whole menu of specials.
AR for Spas

Darque Tan us the app for a guided video tour of their menu.

  • Video/Commercials:
    Any ad that was formerly perceived to be better on television can now be attached to the print ad. This video attachment to the print via augmented reality is not only better for a comprehensive understanding for the consumer, but it is also getting more value out of the cost of production for the original commercial. By not only using the commercial on tv or on the website or blog, and putting it as an attachment to a magazine ad, the company looks more ‘in the know’ about current technology and gets more value out of their commercial.

    AR video

    The Brewsky uses a How To video to support the product.

  • Editorial Content:
    By incorporating mobile augmented reality into editorial content, readers can unlock behind the scenes video, or special discounts and deals by pointing their device at the page. This is a unique opportunity to mobilize content for readers.
AR for magazine articles

Magazine editorial is enhanced with video interviews and behind the scenes footage.


Augmented Reality examples of how magazines and advertisers are using the technology

 Augmented Reality and Study Breaks Magazine

sb-1280Study Breaks magazine has been publishing college life since 1988. Now, with Study Breaks AR, college life has never been so alive.

It’s a fast and easy way to connect with local businesses to find local events, offers and listings; unlock augmented content on images and objects to play games or experience new virtual interactions.

And, it’s a scan away from getting behind the scenes with photo shoots, concerts, interviews and just the everyday shenanigans that go into making a magazine.


Download Study Breaks AR now and explore college life with Augmented Reality.