Interactive Print and the Internet of Things

The Media Innovation Studio presented work past and present at the World Publishing Expo in Amsterdam in October.


The Media Innovation Studio presented work past and present at the World Publishing Expo in Amsterdam in October.

An invitation to speak at the first World Printers Forum saw Media Innovation Studio Director Paul Egglestone introduce the latest in a line of interactive print projects to an international audience at the RAI conference centre with a rallying cry to innovate.

Egglestone said “I’ve been looking back to see when the last real innovations in print occurred. I’m not talking about building faster, cheaper printing presses or inventing more efficient ways of laying or drying ink. I’m talking about innovations to the platform itself. Innovations on paper.

“As things stand there seems to be static print at one end of the scale and digital displays like tablets and mobiles at the other. That leaves a massive space between those two technologies for a new hybrid media that offers the reader a unique experience. Interactive print can do that.”

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During the presentation Egglestone talked about web connected paper coffee cups and printed theatre tickets offering news and information updates as content is streamed from the web. Those gathered for the session were left in no doubt that paper and print needs to reimagine itself. Web connectivity could open up new opportunities for print if the industry has the imagination and vision to change the way it thinks about itself.

The Internet of Things (IoT) is a rapidly developing field of web-connected objects which are creating opportunities for users and audiences to interact with responsive and web-connected physical objects. Gartner suggests that, by 2018, there could be up to nine billion connected devices operating globally, while CISCO estimates 50 billion ‘things’ will be web-connected by 2020.

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Will paper be one of those ‘things’?

Egglestone said “It’s a leap from where print is now to where it needs to be if it’s genuinely wanting to be part of a new wave of physical connectivity. It’ll take a few brave and highly creative people to span the gap –but the returns are likely to be worth it.”

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