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Konica Minolta has moved into the augmented reality (AR) market with the launch of a flexible cloud-based tool that can be used to bring printed material to life.
Launched around a month ago, genARate, which requires no coding or previous experience to use, overlays digital content such as video, animations or 3D models onto printed materials.

Targeted users include commercial printers, agencies, central reprographics and marketing departments.

With the genARate Studio augmented reality tool, Konica Minolta said users can open a web browser, login and quickly start building an AR experience. The tool is said to be “very intuitive”, with a drag-and-drop interface that simplifies the whole creative process.

Consumers can view and interact with virtual objects using a dedicated app on a smartphone or tablet, which automatically recognises images and presents these three-dimensionally onscreen.

Konica Minolta said the tool provides a more compelling way to have potential customers interact with content and boost conversion rates. Interactive experiences can also be used to provide more detailed or in-depth information.

Christian Kiesewetter, head of project delivery and operation at Konica Minolta Business Innovation Centre Europe, said businesses can “use printed materials to be digital pioneers”.

“We wanted to create offerings which are broader than just print but we also wanted to offer our core customers something that can help them in the transformation to the digital age.

“Augmented reality can link and combine print with digital and we see this as a big opportunity. If you look at the packaging and label world, where you have very limited space to print, augmented reality could offer a broad new way of delivering content.”

He added: “Augmented reality itself is nothing new so we wanted to focus on something that is as easy and simple to use as possible – with genARate you can create something with a few mouse clicks.”

The professional edition of genARate includes built-in analytics that measure app usage and user engagement with the content. Konica Minolta said that, as a hosted service with “a straightforward pricing structure”, it is quick, easy and very accessible to get a campaign up and running.