Star product: Konica Minolta GenARate

By Barney Cox, Monday 15 April 2019

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An AR creation tool that aims to facilitate the integration of print with other channels.

sp-genarate

What does the system do?

GenARate is an augmented reality tool with two components: Studio for creating AR experiences/making a piece of print interactive and Publish to handle the integration of those experiences either within GenARate or an existing app.

When was it launched and what market is it aimed at?

The European launch was in October 2018 with the first local country launch in the UK following in December. The intended user base is broad, ultimately including any company from micro-businesses to mega brands across all sectors who want to integrate their print collateral with other channels. The marketing focus promoting GenARate is on service providers, including printers and creative agencies, although Konica Minolta will work with any brands that approach it directly.

How does it work?

At the heart is image recognition software hosted in the cloud. To augment a print job you upload the PDF of the artwork to the system and then the software analyses the image to identify unique features that it can then recognise from an image captured on the user’s mobile phone. At a push you can use any artwork, including a photo taken on a phone for the software to analyse. In the Studio module you select areas of the image that will be used as triggers and where those triggers will take the user. 

How does it differ from previous products?

“There’s no need for any coding skills, it’s all drag and drop, although you can do even more with a bit of coding,” says Konica Minolta international business development manager Ashley McConnell. “It’s AR for everyone,”

What is the USP of the product?

“The USP is the simplicity of drag and drop combined with the flexibility of being able to work via its app or integrated with the customer’s existing app,” says McConnell.

How easy is it to use?

In one word: Very. “In a recent pitch a prospect passed me their publication and said ‘can you AR this?’. I did there and then within three minutes,” he says.

What training and support is on offer?

“It’s so easy to use that we don’t see much need for training in how to use the software,” he says. “What is more important is supporting our customers with business development – how to propose, pitch, sell and support AR.”

He adds any issues operating it are likely to be simple user error to be expected with learning to use any product. As far as any problems with the software itself he adds that “if there’s a critical issue we’ll know before anyone else”.

How much does it cost?

It’s offered on a subscription model with annual pricing ranging between £3,000 and £20,000 depending on the number of pages augmented.

“Once we know more about usage we may offer a pay per use model,” he adds.

What is the sales target and how many users are there?

At the moment The Big Issue is the only UK client, although another half a dozen clients are in the process of going live. By the end of the year he expects to have 70-100 firms signed up and using it. 


SPECIFICATIONS

Product type Subscription based cloud hosted AR creation platform that uses a simple drag and drop interface to augment existing print without the need for coding skills

Price Annual subscription from £3,000 up to £20,000

Contact Konica Minolta www.genarate.konicaminolta.eu


ALTERNATIVES

Search ‘AR creation tools’ online and a plethora of options emerge, so we have focused on tools for using printed matter as a jump-off point for further interaction digitally. There is an argument that some tools to integrate print aren’t strictly speaking AR, a pioneer in this was DocuMobi, which has since rebranded as Brandactif and doesn’t consider print a core market. Blippar, a big name in AR, is in hiatus. 

HP Reveal

Formerly known as Aurasma, the renamed HP-owned tech now offered as a full AR tech as Reveal, and a more print-centric brand protection tool as Link. A basic version is available via a free account

Contact www.hpreveal.com


USER REVIEW

“GenARate has been a big step forward to cross the print/digital divide, we have been able to engage our audience in richer and more nuanced ways by complementing our print editorial with digital media. Additionally, we have been able to get our readers to parts of our own and our advertisers’ online presences, in a more streamlined way” 5/5  

Oliver Waddington-Ball Big Issue head of custom content & sponsorship

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