Augmented Reality Graphics Installation Honors Community College Grads

In the spring of 2020, schools and colleges printed yard signs, pole banners, and other wide-format graphics to publicly honor home-bound graduating seniors. This spring, the tradition of finding creative ways to recognize graduating student continues, even as some socially distanced graduation ceremonies were streamed online or held live in front of limited numbers of attendees.

In honor of Lorain County Community College’s graduating class of 2021, LCCC created the “Doors of Opportunity” interactive graphics installation to celebrate each student’s resilient journey to become a college graduate.

Twenty-one full sized doors lined a grassy median stretching nearly 450 feet in the college’s parking area. Each door graphic linked to an augmented reality video that shared the personal story of a graduate from each of the college’s academic programs. These 21 custom videos featured 25 members of the class of 2021 who appear to enter their door in unique ways when viewers scan a QR code on every door.

The large-format AR installation “The Doors of Opportunity” featured 21 doors with QR codes that linked to
videos about graduates from different areas of specialization. (Photos: Lorain County Community College)

The Doors of Opportunity display was open to the public for eight days following the May 15 graduation ceremony. Visitors were encouraged to bring their smartphones to interact with the doors, take photos, and share on social media.

“The Doors of Opportunity honor the courage the class of 2021 demonstrated to achieve their academic goals,” said LCCC President Marcia J. Ballinger, Ph.D. “Many of our students faced incredible challenges throughout their journey and yet they persevered to become college graduates – perhaps during the most challenging years of their lives.”

Lorain Community College Graduate Akua Agyemang poses in front of the “Door of Opportunity” that tells the story of how earning her Associate Degree in Science will lead her to her next opportunities.

The 21 doors also represent the depth of academic opportunities LCCC provides its students by offering more than 100 programs, including a University Partnership providing bachelor’s and master’s degrees, high-school dual enrollment options, and short-term training certificates.

A door that featured the word “achieve” showed the story of Akua Agyemang, Coca-Cola Academic Team Gold Scholar and member of the All-Ohio First Academic Team. Agyemang earned an Associate of Science degree with a 4.0 grade point average and plans to transfer to a four-year university to earn a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry before attending medical school to become an obstetrician-gynecologist.

Ballinger says that while the single row of doors symbolizes the commonality among a united graduating class, each door brings to life the unique path a student takes to reach graduation day.

“A one-size-fits-all approach to education no longer works in today’s world,” Ballinger says. “So LCCC meets our students where they are in life to help them reach their academic goals. And today, our graduates are walking through that door, toward the opportunities that lie ahead.”

Lorain Community College is located in Elyria, Ohio. For more information, visit: 21 Doors of Opportunity | Lorain County Community College (lorainccc.edu)

SpeedPro’s Smart Signage Technology Connects Printed Graphics to Digital Content

Over the years, printer manufacturers have demonstrated various methods of connecting printed graphics with updatable content on a smartphone. The goal is to create “smart signage” that integrates printed materials into measurable, multi-channel communications programs.

Recently, SpeedPro introduced a smart-signage solution called InfoLnkx. It takes advantage of the fact millions of consumers now carry smartphones that can automatically read tags programmed for NFC (near-field communications). This means consumers don’t have to download an app or use a camera to scan a QR code to open the connection from the printed piece to the online content.

SpeedPro is a network of more than 170 studios in the U.S. and Canada that provides a variety of printed products, including large-format graphics. SpeedPro studios can use InfoLnkx to help buyers of graphics for stores, restaurants, stadiums, and events improve the customer experience.

For example, to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Breckenridge-Wynkoop Restaurant Group is using InfoLnkx technology to eliminate the need for customers to touch menus. When restaurant visitors put their smartphones near a tabletop sign, they can read the menu on their phone screens. The restaurant can update to digital content to show daily specials or suggest alternatives to beers or other menu items that are temporarily unavailable.

The Denver-based Breckenridge Wynkoop Restaurant Group used InfoLnkx technology in Wynkoop Brewing and both locations of Cherry Cricket restaurant. (Photo: SpeedPro)

“Signage is playing a bigger and more critical role in our restaurants than it ever has before. It’s involved in almost every aspect of the new guest experience and is helping to guide our teams and guests on how to navigate this new normal,” says Alex Bunn, Director of Marketing for the Breckenridge-Wynkoop Group. “Touchless menus create safer dining out experiences for us all.”

How It Works

InfoLnkx uses programmable NFC tags applied to printed graphics. When sign viewers place their smartphones near a designated portion of the graphic, they will immediately see the on-screen messaging. The NFC tags can connect viewers to whatever type of digital messaging the client wants to provide, including audio or video files.

The graphics could be posted in a variety of locations, including posters in high-traffic entryway or on graphics applied to tables, stadium seats, or elevator doors.

“We knew this touchless technology would change the customer experience,”said SpeedPro CEO Larry Oberly. “We were developing it prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, but expedited the launch of the technology in order to aid businesses that were re-opening and seeking innovative ways meet new public health requirements.”

A Versatile Solution

SpeedPro studio owners are working with their clients to explore other ways to use the technology, such as reducing long lines at stadium concession stands by enabling in-seat ordering or helping non-profit agencies connect people with disabilities to online communities.

Museum visitors concerned about touching an interactive digital kiosk that has been repeatedly touched by other people could scan InfoLnkx-enabled posters to get wayfinding or exhibit information delivered to their smartphones.

Focused Innovation

While print-service providers routinely research innovative materials and applications, most smaller print shops don’t have the time or staff to thoroughly evaluate the pros and cons of implementing different options for smart-signage technology.

SpeedPro’s corporate group worked with the EdgeDweller business-growth consultancy to develop and build a system that all SpeedPro studios could use.

Lauren Ziegler, who owns SpeedPro Innovations in Reading, Pennsylvania, helped source NFC chips that would work with typical large-format graphics applications. She says InfoLnkx technology is easy to implement once you learn how to interact with the tags.

For More Information

Click this link to visit a landing page about InfoLnkx: SpeedPro Website: Smart Signage

This link takes you to an article on the Wide-Format Impressions website: SpeedPro Smart Signage Technology Helps Restaurants Improve Customer Safety and Experience

See how the technology works by watching this YouTube video: SpeedPro Smart Signage | Near Field Communication (NFC) | InfoLnkx

Interactive Print Technologies Link Printed Pages to Online Content

International Print Day is an ideal time to discuss three interactive print projects that demonstrate how printed pages can be linked to rich, online media.

At the Print 17 show in September, I picked up two books and a magazine that use three different link technologies and apps to showing how printed pages can be connected to video, motion graphics, discussion forums, PDF updates, and additional resources.

Business Book: The Third Wave

The Third Wave by Joseph Webb and Richard Romano Book CoverThe book “The Third Wave” by Joseph W. Webb and Richard M. Romano uses HP Link technology. Readers who download the HP LinkReader can scan hyperlinked text and images to get more information, watch a video, or listen to a song.

In addition to engaging book readers, HP Link Technology can be used on packages and other printed products for authentication or tracking shipments and inventory.

In the book, which was written for owners of printing businesses, the authors discuss how smarter mobile phones, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things will affect printing businesses.

The pages of the book were  printed on an HP PageWide WebPress T240HD and the cover was output on an HP Indigo digital press. The book was published by King Printing Co., a Lowell, Massachusetts-based company that provides short-run book-printing services for more than 10,000 authors and publishers.

Textbook: Introduction to Graphic Communication

Introduction to Graphic Communication” by Harvey Levenson and John Parsons is a prototype edition of an updated textbook that is being developed for students of graphic communications. It uses Ricoh’s Clickable Paper technology with the CP Clicker app to demonstrate how print and digital content can work together. Readers can access video demonstrations, animations, photo galleries, audio content, live chat, and other multimedia content.

Ricoh’s Clickable Paper technology doesn’t require printing unsightly QR codes or other marks on the page. Instead, the Clicker app detects hotspots on the page that can connect to several links. In addition to enlivening books and educational materials, Clickable Paper can be used in marketing materials. It can connect readers to additional product information, product reviews, or e-commerce portals.

Magazine: Out of Chaos 

“Out of Chaos”Out of Chaos magazine cover is a digitally printed version of the online magazine published by the color-management experts at Rods and Cones. The Spring 2017 issue of the magazine was printed, bound, and trimmed on the Canon imagePRESS C10000VP digital press. The printed articles are enhanced with Stampatech “Print Infinity” technology.

Stampatech augmented-reality technology recognizes photographs and logos on printed books, labels, marketing literature, or packaging and triggers interactive content. Users of the app can learn more about the product, give feedback, or even make purchases.

An article in “Out of Chaos” magazine features excerpts from the white paper “Has Augmented Reality Really Gone Mainstream?” by Cindy Walas and Kevin Keane.

Print Re-Imagined

As it becomes easier for readers to use smartphone apps to access digital content from printed pages, designers, authors, and other content creators will have to think differently about they plan their books, magazines, packages, and marketing materials.

Authors of non-fiction books will no longer have to worry so much that content in the book will become quickly outdated. And they can link to video demonstrations of complex processes that can be difficult to explain in a few paragraphs. Fiction writers could use rich media to help readers visualize key characters or settings or interact with the author.

The new linking technologies combine the interactivity of e-books with the simple pleasure of “off-screen” reading. It’s up to the reader to decide whether they want to access information solely through the printed page or if they want to use the printed pages as gateways to informative videos or more current, in-depth content.

Ad Beacon Helps Advertisers Measure Effectiveness of Printed Displays

AdMobilize is a venture-backed technology company headquartered in Miami, with offices in Washington, London, and Bogota. The company's mission is to provide advanced analytics solutions and integrated platforms for the physical world. (PRNewsFoto/AdMobilize, LLC)
AdMobilize is a venture-backed technology company headquartered in Miami, with offices in Washington, London, and Bogota. The company’s mission is to provide advanced analytics solutions and integrated platforms for the physical world. (PRNewsFoto/AdMobilize, LLC)

Although brands spend $7 billion a year on street-level advertising such as bus shelters and digital signage, it remains a challenge for marketers and agencies to accurately track how effective those campaigns are.

“The out-of-home advertising industry is struggling to find ways to have better analytics as to who and when consumers are most likely to see their ads,” said out-of-home advertising expert Nick Coston.

Tracking solutions that do exist are extremely difficult to install and configure, requiring huge amounts of time, money, and personnel.

With the AdBeacon® device from AdMobilize, out-of-home advertisers and retailers can gather viewership data from both printed graphics and digital signs. The all-in-one hardware and software solution can be configured in two minutes and used by anyone, even people without technical skills.

AdMobilizeSScrop

About the size of an iPhone 5, AdBeacon uses a camera sensor to collect viewership data about printed graphics in physical spaces. For digital signage that already has built-in camera sensors, AdMobilize offers a seamless API solution.

Advertisers can use AdBeacon to track dwell time, gaze ratio, demographics, emotions and more. Using the browser-based AdDashboard, they can access real-time performance data by location, time, audience, engagement, demographics and other key factors.

AdBeaconMarketers can use this data to adjust campaign strategy to maximize outdoor, out of home, and retail advertising returns, optimize store layouts, and fine-tune the content on digital signs.

“Real-time data and analytics drive online advertising and marketing for a reason – they generate incredible ROI,” said Rodolfo Saccoman, CEO and founder of AdMobilize. With AdBeacon 2.0, AdMobilize gives outdoor advertisers and brick-and-mortar businesses the same level of analytics that e-commerce companies use.

The AdRemote apps for Android or iPhone devices can be used to remotely configure and adjust the AdBeacons.

The AdRemote app can also display key metrics that quantify advertising effectiveness. With just one tap, these results can be shared with agency clients or campaign partners.