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German magazine features augmented reality in special issue

Germany?s popular Sueddeutsche Zeitung Magazine has incorporated mobile augmented reality features viewable through smartphones into its most recent issue.

Readers will receive enhanced content by viewing certain pages through the camera of their handsets. The magazine used the mobile augmented reality platform junaio, which is available as a free application for iPhone and Android platforms, to facilitate the experience.

?[Using augmented reality] you can connect your online and offline resources perfectly, keeping the magazine up to date,? said Jan Schlink, spokesman for metaio, Munich. ?Maybe there?s an update to an already published article, or you have a dialogue function in the printed magazine.

?The 3D models in this issue are clickable and editable by readers,? he said. ?You can discover one more dimension [and feature] eye candy, games, riddle solutions and functional stuff like breaking news or graphs ? almost anything which is somewhere on a server.?

Munich-based SZ Magazine is the magazine supplement for Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Germany?s largest subscription-based daily newspaper.

Augmented reality specialist Metaio is the developer of the junaio platform.

Augmented reality issue
Mobile users who have downloaded the juniao application can select the ?SZ-Magazin? channel to view the augmented reality content using their phone?s camera.

The cover of the magazine shows a picture of Sandra Maischberger, a prominet German celebrity, covering her face with her hands, which have been painted over with illustrated eyes.

Here is a screen grab of the cover:

When viewed through juniao-enabled smartphones, users can see the famous German removing her hands from her face to reveal a beaming smile.

In addition, the magazine also includes an ?interview without words? with musician Lena Meyer-Landrut.

The interview consists of images from a photoshoot taken of Ms. Meyer-Landrut.

When magazine readers view the images via their smartphones, speech bubbles appear with comments from the musician.

Here is a screen grab of the augmented-reality interview:

A column by SZ writer Axel Hacke also includes augmented reality features, generating 3D animations when users view it through their handsets.

Finally, the magazine includes virtual guides to German cities Munich, Berlin and Hamburg.

The magazine?s editors designated their favorite restaurants, shops and other locations in those cities.

When readers in those cities look at landmarks via their smartphones, the application will direct them to those locations mentioend in the issue.

Here is a screen grab of this feature:

SZ Magazine is targeting high-income consumers who read the publication regularly with the initiative.

?The target group of this magazine is well-educated, high average income and has a quite high smartphone penetration rate,? Mr. Schlink said. ?So it addresses curious consumers and early adopters.

?It is read by many people working in the media and design sphere,? he said. ?For all the readers who like the magazine, it is because of stories that show them something new.?

Augmented reality a nascent technology
A number of publications have integrated mobile technologies, though augmented reality is a more recent development.

Time Out New York included augmented reality features in its ?Summer Drinking Special? issue (see story).

The technology has potential not only for enhancing editorial content, but for creating more effective advertising, as evidenced by Nike and Fanta case studies at the Mobile Marketing Forum in June (see story).

While the current issue of SZ Magazine did not incorporate augmented reality advertisements, Mr. Schlink said that Metaio would be pitching that concept.

?An augmented ad with interactive and dynamic content could be interesting for marketers,? Mr. Schlink said. ?Ads are one thing, while cross-promotions with content owners are another ? think about Universal Pictures trailers in a movie magazine.

?And, of course, the creative space for editorial content is vast,? he said.

Final Take
Peter Finocchiaro, editorial assistant at Mobile Marketer, New York