Netpage's Digital Twin could be a boost for printed magazines
By David Ward, San Diego Thursday, 20 December 2012
Lenexa, Kansas-based Netpage has unveiled an augmented reality app that lets readers clip, save and share content from printed pages to their mobile device.
Netpage's app, branded Digital Twin, has not only generated a buzz in the advertising world but also raised hopes of a traditional magazine revival.
The patented platform enables smartphones users to download a digital replica of the Netpage-enabled printed page to their mobile device.
The user moves the phone over the surface of the page, and the Digital Twin appears in the screen and tracks with the page, creating a 'glass-bottomed boat effect,' between the printed page and the user's smartphone, the company said.
The technology formally launched in the US with Esquire’s December issue and not only lets consumers store and save content on social media, it also lets them purchase items highlighted in the Esquire simply by moving their smartphone over the page and clicking "buy".
"The December issue gives readers the opportunity to support the Great American Things Collection, hand-curated by Esquire and in partnership with Made Collection and Netpage," explained Netpage chief executive Paul Morris in an interview with PrintWeek.
"Using Netpage, readers will be able to purchase American-made gifts from the Collection on the mademovement.com site, where an Esquire-branded storefront has been created. They’re able to do this right from the page."
While some are comparing Netpage to QR codes, Morris stressed the differences between the two, noting: "Our page recognition technology means you don't have to actually embed a code, watermark, or any other system into your publication. The page itself becomes the key to further digital content, making the overall reading and user experience better for it.
"With Netpage the entire magazine, every page, every article, every image, every ad is interactive and sharable by the consumer. So for the first time ever, print has become completely social, not just a means to link print to a website."
Right now the only way to get the free Netpage app is by downloading from the iTunes Store and Morris was mum on whether the app could eventually be built into smartphones and other devices.
But at least on the surface, there appears to be little downside to commercial printing from this technology, because it will not require any new press equipment to Netpage-enable a magazine or catalog.
"One of the biggest advantages that we provide, in fact, is that we don’t require any special coding, or watermarking on the printed page," Morris said. "Netpage doesn’t impact the printing process in any way, which is something publishers prefer to avoid, since it requires additional time, costs and effort."
The early reaction from the publishing community has been strong. Jack Essig, Esquire’s senior VP, publishing director and chief revenue officer, said in a statement: "Esquire’s readers and advertisers have come to expect leading-edge content experiences - this partnership with Netpage represents both a ‘first’ and a new standard for the industry.
"As partners in breaking boundaries, Esquire and Lexus will not only deliver a new means for engaging with our content but will also fuel the conversation around both our brands."
Hearst Magazines has committed to enabling additional titles in 2013, Netpage added, adding it has interest from a number of other publishers. Netpage, which has been issued in excess of 20 US patents protecting its Digital Twin platform, was spun off from Australia’s Silverbrook Research in 2011.Tweet
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