“Blackout – What have I done?” – Augmented Reality and Crossmedia Create a Great Experience for the Reader

This year was characterised by new technologies such as Virtual Reality, Influencer Marketing, Chatbots, the 360° Videos and also Augmented Reality. Currently only a few publishing houses make use of those technologies, others seem to be far away from new trends. Let’s check how publishing houses can integrate Augmented Reality and Crossmedia for themselves. Find out more about our idea for a new interactive and personalized crime story in Stuttgart.

What is Augmented Reality and is it compatible with Crossmedia?

At the beginning of our project we faced the task to combine Augmented Reality and Cross Device Usage. Actually, it seemed to us like an almost impossible task. We couldn’t find a service, a product or anything else which combined both trends and successfully solved a problem of publishing houses.

Consequently, we decided to work with the trend Crossmedia instead of Cross Device Usage. The idea was to implement many different devices to ensure an optimum use of the product. Crossmedia marketing is an integrated concept for addressing customers across different channels. To be able to speak of „Crossmedia“, it is not enough to fill the channels just in time parallel with the content. Instead, the used channels must be coordinated with one another in terms of time, content and appearance. A survey in the United States of America shows that around 80% use a smartphone and 57% use even more than one device.

The integration of Augmented Reality was very easy because the user does not need anything else than a smartphone and an App. Augmented Reality is the integration of digital information with the user’s environment in real time. Unlike virtual reality, which creates a totally artificial environment, augmented reality uses the existing environment and overlays new information on top of it.

Opportunities and threats by combining Augmented Reality and Crossmedia

First of all, we defined the target group of our new product. We created a product which is attractive for people in the age of sixteen and thirtyfive. Those people are interested in gaming, in crime stories and also in new media and technologies. They enjoy to experience a new product and they prefer to be part of the story.

75% of media experts predict that Augmented Reality is going to have a great influence of media usage. In addition, we are able to reach user over different devices.

The product is location based. This means that we have great opportunities to enter into collaborative activities with local shops and travel agencies. This enables us a strong branding and on this basis, we profit from a strong identification because of personalized stories.

Of course there are also some weaknesses and potentials of improvements. Unfortunately, the production for the new product, which combines Augmented Reality and Crossmedia, is very high and difficult. The multimedia product needs to be monitored for accuracy and require periodic maintenance and updates. Moreover, gaining the trust of the user could be difficult.

Nevertheless, the new product “Blackout – What have I done?” meets the needs of publishing houses as well as those of the customers. The publishing house is able to bring an enriched and device-spreading crime novel on the market, in order to bind the customers to the product type and thus the publishing house. The reader benefit from a new crime book. He can read a personalized novel in which he can direct and influence the story by himself.

“Blackout – What have I done?” – Use Case

“After a long party night you wake up at home. You didn’t even manage to take off your clothes. You feel completely sore and your head is about to explode. You drag yourself to the bathroom. The mirror shows you, but what happened? Your clothes are filthy, your hands are scuffed and you have bruises that are more than the usual “dancing and being jostled in the club crowd” ones. You reach for your smartphone, Matt will surely help you. There is already a message from him. You stare in shock and confusion at your display and there’s just one single thought in your head: „What the hell happened last night?“

The basis of the criminal novel is a personalized book or E-Book which the customer can order on the website of the publishing house. Digital printing made it possible that the customer’s name is published in the book. The reader disposed of a variety of devices. He can download an App which includes a chat, the foto-album, a map of the city and other functions which are necessary for the story. Thereby he is able to follow a route where he can find more advices. While looking for those advices, he experiences the story by means of the AR-Glasses. A blog of the police and different push-notifications via Smart TV present the criminal story as a tangible experience.

After the publication of the criminal novel

The publishing house has the opportunity to add more technologies to the concept and to create a community. Apart from this,  the first novel “Blackout- What have I done?” could turn into a series. I does not have to be a criminal novel, they could also publish travel guides or juvenile fiction. This has the advantage that the books are also interesting for younger people. Not to forget, the location is in the central of the story which means that the publishing house could easily expand in new regions. Finally they benefit of new possible cooperations with local shops.

By combining Augmented Reality and Crossmedia, the user experience reach a new level of reading. The reader directs and influences the story however he feels like. Publishing houses gain considerable attention (we remember of the hype of “Pokemon Go” which is also realized by Augmented Reality).

Text by Jasmin, Hannah, Felix, Leonie, Elise

Author’s note:
This blog post is part of the course „Trends in Media“. The students were supposed to research a specific trend and build a use case for a publishing house. The results of their work are a presentation and this blog post.