Taking stock of 2010, and preparing your business for 2011 and beyond.
Chesterman: Yes, QR codes are a great example of how print can be integrated with digital media to provide creative solutions for the digital-brand owners and drive their businesses forward. QR codes, augmented reality, etc. – these are all things that illustrate the many possibilities which may well come to define printers in the future. Digital media is increasingly prevalent throughout the industry, and print service providers need to be open-minded and consider embracing this technology now, while it’s still in its infancy. Applications such as QR codes are a way of encouraging dialogue between the print provider and the customer.
Marx: I’ve been interested in QR codes for some time, and they are becom¬ing more and more pervasive here in the US. I think QR codes offer an excellent opportunity for imagers and designers who can incorporate them into ad campaigns, and for ad agencies and businesses interested in using their static signage to drive customers to the Internet through their mobile devices. Today’s enterprising imaging companies should learn how these codes can be optimized and offer that knowledge as a “value add” to clients.
Boer: Don’t forget that QR codes have been in use in Japan for nearly a decade. While, like in the US, they found great early excitement among print service providers as a tool to make print more interactive, it requires additional steps from the user to learn more. The interest in Japan seems to be waning as other innovations in communication come along. Standardization of format is a key issue so that users do not have to download different readers to be able to read the code. Any print service provider would be well advised to proceed cautiously with making investments in the ability to print QR codes – in other words, buy off-the-shelf software to help, don’t pay a premium for custom software, and make any investment decision on the basis of fast ROI – 18 months or less.
Question: Like most companies, print providers are dipping their toes into the social-network media (e.g., Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.) pool with varying results. Here at The Big Picture, we’ve seen vehicle-graphics providers es¬pecially put social networking media to good use. What’s your take on how successful print providers will be in benefiting from social-network media?