In an interesting twist, QR codes (Quick Response Codes), a type of matrix barcode first designed for the automotive industry in Japan, are getting an update by the Japanese-US printing giant, Fuji Xerox, which is also using the cloud to take it to the next level.
Fuji Xerox Asia Pacific has announced that it will launch SkyDesk Media Switch, a cloud service that links print documents to multimedia, starting with Singapore and Hong Kong in December 2013.
In this new solution, when a user aims the camera to an embedded image (instead of an image made of dots such as the QR codes) on print (with nearly transparent makers), the linked digital content is displayed on the phone.
This is how it works: imagine pointing your phone camera to a picture of a restaurant dish on paper. The phone reads it and takes you to a webpage where you get a recipe of the dish or watch a video of the dish being prepared.
According to a Fuji Xerox spokesperson, the SkyDesk Media Switch service 'provides a way to enrich print media with multimedia content delivered to smartphone users'. Using this service, say a printing company, or an advertising agency, can easily link printed materials to digital content by simply defining an image or area to activate on the print.
A company spokesman said it is using Embedded Media Markers, an image search technology developed by Fuji Xerox's U.S.-based affiliate, FX Palo Alto Laboratory Inc., in its new technology. Embedded Media Markers are invisible and thus do not interfere with the layout and creative design of the print material.
However, to view the linked content, one needs an app provided by Fuji Xerox.
Fuji Xerox first launched SkyDesk Media Switch in Japan in February 2013, and it has been well received by the market, said the spokesperson in a statement.
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