O: by Tank Introduces Playful New App Using Image Recognition Technology
If fashion can’t be playful, what can be? O: by Tank’s new downloadable app for iOS and Android is certainly playful. In fact editor Carolyn Issa calls this fun little program, meant to be used in conjunction with the print publication, “a pop up book for grownups.”
O: by Tank is U.K. fashion magazine Tank’s quarterly fashion supplement for The Observer, Great Britain’s Sunday newspaper. For Tank, and O:, a playful sophistication and a fresh, contemporary voice are points of pride. In fact Issa likes to think of it as “fashion magazine 2.0.” The app, she explains, offers a “front row seat” to people using it: you point your phone and watch fashion come to life through music, images, and video clips.
Howard Musk of Imago, the company that designed the app for Tank, contacted me in response to my blog post about going beyond QR codes. O: by Tank’s recently-released app does go way beyond QR codes. It uses neither QR codes (so last year), nor watermarking, nor special printing techniques. All that has gone the way of the leisure suit or the beehive hairdo. O:’s app uses image recognition technology that identifies scannable targets. The targets are indistinguishable, to the reader, from the rest of the content, and only identifiable by the app itself, whose job it is to alert the reader.
The free app is a first use of this particular software in the magazine space, and it continues to raise the bar on what can be done as it introduces a bit of a new approach to magazine apps. As the user pages through the magazine, they move the smartphone over the images. When the app locates a target it buzzes to signal the potential for interactivity, and then presents the relevant content.
Imago, Musk tells me, makes available a content management system that allows the publisher to update the content in their custom app themselves. Also the technology can be incorporated into existing apps.
The free app is downloadable at www.becauselondon.com.
Linda Ruth, as president of PSCS Consulting (www.PSCSConsulting.com), offers communication companies worldwide the keys to magazine launches, search engine optimization and audience development online and at retail. She is a pioneer in the fields of Online Audience Optimization (OAO) and gamification for content publishers. Her books, "Internet Marketing for Magazine Publishers" ; "How to Market your Newsstand Magazine"; and "Secrets of SEO for Publishers" can be found on Amazon. Find her online at Google Plus, Magazine Dojo, LinkedIn, and Twitter @Linda_Ruth.