Posted 7/2/2016 7:12:10 AM by RICHARD HARRIS, Executive Editor
We recently visited with Ash Fortune, Digimarc’s Product Manager Mobile Products, to discuss how Digimarc is transforming the way brands connect with consumers. There is a revolution going on in the palms of our hands, with mobile devices quickly becoming the “remote controls of our lives.” Mobile technology enables consumers to access information they desire at any moment, but also provides an opportunity for brands to create innovative experiences that deliver new levels of engagement.
Through its Digimarc Discover Mobile Software Development Kit, the company is allowing developers to create apps for brands that deliver multimodal experiences to consumers and increase business efficiencies.
ADM: Who is Digimarc and what does the company do?
Fortune: Digimarc is the inventor of the Digimarc Discover platform featuring the imperceptible Digimarc Barcode. A Digimarc Barcode is a unique, imperceptible identifier that links print, packaging, or even audio/video materials to interactive online content when scanned with enabled retail scanners, the Digimarc Discover app, or any Digimarc Discover-enabled app. Recently we’ve collaborated with standards organization GS1 US, to release the Digimarc Barcode as “DWCode” in their portal.
This code is an exciting development that enhances the reliability and efficiency of product identification throughout the product lifecycle, from manufacturing through supply chain and inventory, to consumer engagement and ultimately even recycling. Major retailers, brands, governments and other organizations rely on Digimarc technology to bring convenience, simplicity, security and enhanced experiences for users.
ADM: Tell us a little bit about the Digimarc Discover Mobile SDK.
Fortune: The SDK enables app developers to build powerful mobile apps that deliver a better overall experience for consumers scanning the most common traditional barcodes – or 1D barcodes – on product packages and virtually any media with mobile devices. In addition to setting a new standard for barcode scanning performance in traditional barcodes, it also scans QR codes.
And, most importantly, it provides the exclusive capability to scan imperceptible Digimarc Barcodes, which enhance most any media object from print to packaging to audio/video.
ADM: What role does Digimarc have with the new SmartLabel industry initiative?
Fortune: The initiative will provide a whole new level of transparency to product information to consumers, from provenance to allergens by scanning a QR code on the back of the package. However, packaging real estate is exhausted and a significant number of brands are holding back participation owing to the yecch factor of QR codes and their impinging on the precious packaging space. Our codes cover all sides of a package, imperceptible to consumers, so we provide an alternative to the industry and superior consumer engagement that will speed adoption of SmartLabel.
ADM: Which mobile platforms are supported?
Fortune: Currently, we support iOS and Android.
ADM: How can developers use the SDK for app engagement.
Fortune: I’ll give you a few examples. Imagine you’re flipping through a fashion magazine, with lots of shopping-related ads. If the magazine’s advertisements leveraged Digimarc technology, a reader with an enabled app could scan the ad with their smartphones to get transported into a digital shopping experience or simply to obtain deeper product information – all without tarnishing the layout with QR codes.
When shopping at a grocer, you can better scan hard-to-read UPC codes or just point at the front of a package for SmartLabel content, or capture promotions and coupons. Or, you’re watching a TV show that incorporates Digimarc Barcode for audio and your app instantly triggers access to expanded digital content, creating new second screen experiences. Talk about a new way of watching TV!
All of this can be powered by our SDK, and in fact, these are activations we’re already doing through our many licensees such as Shazam. We want to bridge the physical and digital worlds, allowing brands to create innovative, emotional experiences that deliver new levels of consumer engagement.
ADM: What is Digimarc Barcode Manager and how does it relate to the SDK?
Fortune: The Digimarc Barcode Manager is a simple service that allows anyone with an account – including app developers – to create and manage Digimarc Barcode-enhanced print and audio media through the Digimarc Barcode Manager interface.
We created this web-based service for publishers, retailers, brands, agencies, advertisers, and others to have the ability to manage projects online. Not only can users track results in real time, providing the ever-important analytics piece of the pie, but users can change the consumer experience at any time, creating the ability to update campaigns without changing promotional materials, such as in-store signage.
Users can either self-serve the creation and management of print media through our Digimarc Discover plug-in for Adobe Photoshop or work with any of our certified partners. The Digimarc Barcode Manager is accessible directly from our website or via the GS1 US Mobile Scan portal.
ADM: Now, particularly for Millennials, the smartphone is becoming the remote control of our lives and brands are learning how to engage with this new audience of mobile consumers. How does Digimarc support this trend?
Fortune: Every brand impression – print, packaging, audio and video – is becoming an opportunity for rich, engaging digital experiences. Brand activations, inspirational ideas, product how-to videos and even turning impressions into Buy buttons are some of the many engagement opportunities now being delivered by Digimarc-enhanced media.
We want to make it easy for Millennials, and really any consumer, to seamlessly get the information they want. The vision of a world where technology should be both powerful and inconspicuous is the basis for Digimarc’s Intuitive Computing Platform, a comprehensive software platform to enable a more pervasive computing model now and in the future, making technology easier to use for everyone.
As brands look to interact with the increasingly mobile user, we’re able to give all forms of media and many everyday objects a unique digital identity, helping consumers and organizations to quickly and easily access digital content when, where, and how they want it.
ADM: The SDK was used by Rovio in its latest game, “Angry Birds Action!.” In what capacity did Rovio leverage the SDK?
Fortune: Integrating the SDK into its latest variant of the has enabled fans to unlock a new area of the game and see an additional exclusive movie clip simply by opening the app during the end credits of “The Angry Birds Movie.” The music during the end credits is enhanced with Digimarc Barcode for audio, so when moviegoers take out their smartphones and open the “Angry Birds Action!” app, the Digimarc Barcode is instantly discovered, triggering access to exclusive content.
ADM: What other innovative uses are you seeing with the SDK?
Fortune: In addition to cool use cases like the Angry Birds app, our SDK has been used to bring multimodal experiences to markets as varied as retail, entertainment, supply chain and publishing. Sports teams, like the Portland Trail Blazers, are using our technology to introduce a new form of sports fan engagement. Leading supermarkets, such as Wegmans, have embraced Digimarc Barcode as a way to enhance customer engagement through packaging and their gorgeous store magazine.
Shazam partnered with Digimarc to integrate Digimarc’s patented visual recognition technology, increasing the footprint of what is “Shazamable.” Our SDK was integrated into the latest version of SPARC, a mobile app developed by Rockfish that gives Walmart suppliers instant access to inventory information in Walmart stores via their mobile devices. The possibilities really are endless and that’s what gets us so excited.
ADM: What can app developers expect from future release updates to the SDK?
Fortune: Digimarc has never sat idle in our twenty years of industry-leading innovation. In future updates, app developers will find that the SDK will continue to become more nimble in its operating capabilities, with continued optimizations to all of its scanning capabilities to deliver the most comprehensive and versatile mobile scanning software solution available.
We want developers who are creating apps that leverage scanning functionality in any way – be it product packaging, audio, print – to know that they can come to Digimarc and we’ll have what they’re looking for. Our SDK does it all, at an affordable price.
Candidly, if a mobile scanner doesn’t have these capabilities it will soon be obsolete. This is why, if developers choose our SDK, they are future-proofing their apps for their clients.
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