One of the complaints that I have with church bulletins is that they are passive. There’s just text, maybe a few pieces of off-centered clip art, and more text. Its to the point that I can only get impressed when I see that a church has actually used a quality stock of paper and ink. And of course, those bulletins don’t last in my possession very long. I snap a picture of what’s important, and hope to be able to hand back to a member/usher/greeter the item so they can give it to someone who might keep it. That sounds horrible to some, but if Layar has anything to say about it, things just might change for the better for print bulletins and other static media efforts.
Some days ago, I read (at Engadget, Reuters) that Layar Creator is now available as an web-based augmented reality (AR) media enhancement platform. It works very simply, after creating an account, you upload a PDF, PNG, or JPG of a page or screen element (think: business card, letter, flyer, etc.), and then append to it a button, URL, or social media connector. Then save and that’s it. After that, when a person looks at that print media item with the Layar browser, they are able to see the digital content that you’ve “embedded” into that print page.
When seeing this, I immediately though of the QR-enabled business card that I’d been using until recently. To be able to do something additional such as add a AR snippet of the MMM Twitter feed, or an embedded YouTube video of one of our presentations would not just add to the information that a simple business card carries, but also endears people who interact with MMM to think in these mixed reality/mixed media intersections.
The second thought that came to mind was that of Bibles. I’ve many times said that if a mobile could be turned into a magnifying glass, that a print Bible would find renewed interest. Using Layar, a person could create an AR layer of their own notes on top of a print bible they own. Or, a publisher could encode pages or passages of a print Bible with videos, maps, commentaries, or even links to conversations happening around a part of the text (a modern day Tallmud). In this light, its more than simply having a QR code on each page that points to the content, but you don’t have anything at all, just the marker of the Layar icon on the page, or on the cover of the book noting that each page has augmented features.
This is the kind of engagement that mobile devices can open. And as soon as I get in front of a browser that’s able to do Layar Creator, I plan on adding this layer to as many relevant moments as possible. I’d recommend that you and your ministry seek to do the same; especially since Layar Creator is free only until August 1 (then its the normal costs for publishing layers). This could be some reality-redefining stuff. Visit the Layar website learn more and start your AR campaigns with Layar Creator.