After QR (Quick Response), AR (Augmented Reality) seems to be taking over everything from coffee cups and cafes to outdoor displays and bus shelters

Technology makes ads more creative, more captivating — and more complicated, says an old-timer.

AD: What's that you're checking out in the papers?

BC: Have you seen the weird designs in these ads? The little squares.

AD: They're QR codes...

BC: Queer, yes, but QR?

AD: QR stands for Quick Response — QR codes are images with little squares. When you scan the code, you are led to more information about the product.

BC: There was a time when print ads in newspapers and magazines tried to drive customers to the stores.

AD: How has that changed?

BC: Today, they're driving them to the nearest computer...

AD: …or a smartphone, which is right in their hands.

BC: So what's the future of this QR code?

AD: It remains to be seen if it has one. The buzz is that it's fast being replaced by AR.

BC: What's that?

AD: Augmented Reality. This technology exposes you to a whole lot of interactive content when you scan an object that is coded or tagged, with your smartphone.

BC: How is AR different from QR?

AD: For starters, QR Code is a clearly visible graphic that you saw in the ad. With AR, you can make the image or the object a tag by itself. AR opens up the third dimension and you can see digital images and information that have been layered on the object that has been scanned.

BC: So print ads have moved on to AR.

AD: Not just print ads… Today even newspapers are being created using augmented reality.

BC: The reality around us is already looking scary... I can't imagine what augmented reality will make a scam or a price hike look like.

AD: Oh, c'mon. Just imagine pointing your smartphone at the newspaper — all the static text and images become dynamic and play themselves out.

BC: Holding a newspaper and a cup of coffee simultaneously is a challenge by itself... And now, one has to hold a smartphone too.

AD: No wonder technology's evolution was so slow during your times.

BC: Perhaps we never envisioned a future with a newspaper, a mobile, a cup of coffee — and human beings with three hands.

AD: Think of a future instead with AR glasses, so you can keep your mobile in your pocket.

BC: AR glasses, interactive newspapers — sounds a lot like fantasy.

AD: It's not just the print media. Augmented reality has taken over everything from coffee cups and cafes to outdoor displays and bus shelters.

BC: Do you think people actually walk around holding their mobiles in front of them, like they show in the ads? It's a busy world... Everyone's rushing somewhere.

AD: Perhaps this technology can help streamline their lives.

BC: But how will people even know what QR or AR is?

AD: This is more for the generation that's attached to smartphones, breathes apps and cannot think of life without Facebook and Twitter.

BC: Technology is meant to make things simple — think of the effort required here.... Imagine reading an ad, grabbing your mobile, choosing the right app, switching to camera mode, scanning the graphic, wait for the info to download.

AD: Those who are interested will definitely check it out.

BC: But most people don't even know about QR and you say it's already on its way out?

AD: These are early days, though… You can't write off technology.

BC: At least augmented reality will keep us busy enough not to worry about something more serious.

AD: What is that?

BC: The harsh reality.

sureshl.india@gmail.com

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