Augmented reality was thrust into the spotlight recently with the creation of Google Glass, Google’s interactive optical headset computer. The new technology provides an immersive 3D virtual world that can surround us as we go about our daily activities. Over the last couple of years, mobile apps have taken a step in this direction as well with augmented reality features that overlay information onto anything you are viewing on your mobile device camera.

Starting with the January 2014 issue, Microwave Journal will be the first publication in the industry to apply this technology by implementing interactive pages that use the augmented reality app Layar. This exciting new technology brings print pages to life by overlaying digital information to give the reader a more immersive and engaging experience. Scanning the designated pages in the magazine with the Layar app will display rich media and links to web pages so that the reader can explore more information about the technology or product being covered.  Videos and animations can play automatically in augmented reality mode and objects can appear to come to life from the page. Links to app notes, white papers, datasheets and other web pages can appear as buttons that will launch off to those items on the Web. Some other functions include YouTube videos, social media interaction, downloading apps, calling a company for more information, visiting a shopping cart to purchase a product and even the activation of 3D images that can be viewed from all directions. The Layar app is free and available on iOS (Apple) and Android based mobile devices (phones and tablets).

For the advertiser, this technology enables additional related information about products and services to be added to a print ad so that readers can learn more about them. It also allows the advertiser to collect stats on how many people viewed each element of digital content that was overlaid onto their pages and how many people scanned the page. By adding links to forms to download items such as white papers and app notes or to request evaluation samples, the advertiser can collect full contact leads. The print ad is now even more valuable than ever delivering branding, lead generation and measurable click-throughs. Microwave Journal editors are also adding useful material to technical articles and product features that could further reinforce a company’s technical leadership or provide more information about its products or services that are mentioned in articles. As an advertiser, keep in mind that this technology can be used on any print materials such as trade show posters, brochures and business cards.

The January 2014 Radar and Antenna themed Microwave Journal issue will have 31 interactive pages that are Layar enabled.  A special publisher’s note provides instructions to the reader on how to use the app along with a list of enabled pages.  Each active page also includes a special logo that says “Scan page using Layar app” to indicate interactive material is available. About 20 advertisers are taking part in the inaugural interactive issue this month. Advertisers were encouraged to provide video content since it is an engaging form of rich media and most were able to provide short video demonstrations related to their products plus links to additional details such as datasheets, brochures or product landing pages on their web site.  Microwave Journal also produced a special entertaining video for the cover.

If you’re interested in utilizing this cutting-edge technology in your company’s ads in the future, contact your MWJ rep for more information. We would be happy to discuss creative ideas on content to use for your ads and look forward to working with you to implement creative content with this new technology.