Conde Nast Tests New Form Of Augmented Ads, Enabled Through Print

Print-triggered augmented reality advertising is coming to VR headsets.

HTC has just launched a new capability that can integrate physical print content into virtual reality environments.

The so-called Vivepaper involves printing QR code-like markings on a physical piece of paper, which can then be scanned by a VR headset to trigger digital content on top of that piece of paper.

Various media and formats of content can be triggered, including 360-degree photos and videos, 3D models, spatial audio and 2D content.

In addition to enriching the user experience, these capabilities can bring new advertising opportunities to the print industry, according to HTC.

Condé Nast Traveler China is using Vivepaper in next month’s issue, along with several other China-based publications.  

HTC is also in discussions with other major western publishers for future expansion.

Vivepaper uses the built-in camera on the HTC Vive virtual reality headset to see and track the user’s interaction with a physical page in their hand. This is conceptually similar to AR print implementations that previously involved a smartphone moving around over an AR-enabled ad.

However, the user behavior is inverted with Vivepaper, due to the immersive nature of virtual reality.

Rather than accessing a restricted window of digital content through the use of a smartphone in the physical world, Vivepaper aims to incorporate a limited part of the physical world into a predominantly digital-based world, through the use of a VR headset.

As a result, the user’s interactions with the content are not through tapping on a screen, but rather by physically manipulating a piece of print material in their hands. This also means that the results of those interactions are not limited to the size of the screen in a consumer’s hand.

In addition to the Vive VR headset, HTC plans to launch a Vivepaper app for Android and iOS so consumers can access the content using mobile-based VR viewers like Google Cardboard.
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