AR: Augmenting the Label Print Reality

| 28 July 2019

Augmented-reality technology is enhancing the volume, the scope and nature of the information that modern labels can provide. It requires sophisticated printing, but the sky is the limit, says Manny Da Silva, Manager – Industrial Print at Konica Minolta South Africa



As brand owners increasingly bring digital functions in-house and start producing their own labels, the range of what they are producing is also expanding. Nutraceutical labels, health-and-beauty material, promotional content, even entertainment is finding a place on product labels.


Industrial labelling is also becoming a hot sector, as new label legislation is implemented, requiring greater accuracy.


However, labels are physically finite, limited by the dimensions of product and packaging. If they are to truly provide all they can for both manufacturer and customer, they must deliver digitally. Here, augmented reality (AR) offers almost limitless opportunities for label printers.


AR combines real-world views with digital content. Users simply download an app, then scan the label to access videos, cartoons, audio files or other content and information relevant to the product.


This delivers an unprecedented level of interactivity and more sophisticated functionality. Take the example of a wine enthusiast who buys an expensive bottle of wine but stores it and only opens it five years later. Augmented reality allows the wine label to automatically update, so that when it is scanned after five years, it can provide topical, relevant information on what the wine drinker can expect today.


The opportunities that AR technology provides for businesses to upsell, cross-promote and generally make their products stand out are almost limitless. However, the success of any AR label technology depends heavily on the quality of the label itself.


AR relies on the printing of sophisticated markers. Smartphone cameras must be able to pick up those markers accurately for the AR content to appear, which makes it crucial that the printed label be highly accurate in terms of colour reproduction, fidelity and crispness.


A printer such as the Konica Minolta Accurio Label 190 provides just this functionality, helping customers to innovate and compete more effectively in a changing world. This technology opens up new opportunities for printers who need small volumes of labels but require sophisticated options such as the ability to print barcodes or AR markers. 


With the bigger printers already receiving strong demand for AR-enabled labels, it’s only a matter of time before AR labels go mainstream. When they do, and when the full possibilities of digital printing are realised, the most successful label printers will be those who have the right equipment in place to meet demand.


About Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe

 

Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe GmbH, based in Langenhagen, Germany, is a wholly owned subsidiary of Konica Minolta Inc., Tokyo, Japan. Konica Minolta enables its clients to champion the digital era: with its unique imaging expertise and data processing capabilities, Konica Minolta creates relevant solutions for its customers and solves issues faced by society. As a provider of comprehensive IT services, Konica Minolta delivers consultancy and services to optimise business processes with workflow automation. The company further offers its customers solutions and managed services in the field of IT infrastructure and IT security as well as cloud environments. With regard to its office printing solutions, "IDC MarketScape: Worldwide Print Transformation 2020 Vendor Assessment" stated that Konica Minolta is "recognised globally as a leader in print transformation". As a strong partner for the professional printing market, Konica Minolta offers business consulting, state-of-the-art technology and software and has established itself as the production printing market leader for more than a decade in Europe (InfoSource). Its Business Innovation Centre in London and four R & D laboratories in Europe enable Konica Minolta to bring innovation forward by collaborating with its customers as well as academic, industrial and entrepreneurial partners. For its innovative service approach that complements their devices perfectly, Konica Minolta was awarded the prestigious ‘"Buyers Lab PaceSetter Award for Serviceability and Support 2020/2021" by Keypoint Intelligence. Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe is represented by subsidiaries and distributors in more than 80 countries in Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa. With approximately 10,000 employees (as of April 2020), Konica Minolta Europe earned net sales of over 2.34 billion in financial year 2019/2020.

 

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