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How Idealog, Chorus and One Fat Sheep brought this issue’s AR cover to life

For the 2017 Innovation Issue ­– as with every issue – we wanted to try something new. So we talked to our friends at digital solutions agency One Fat Sheep to see if we could harness their augmented reality (AR) expertise. And, with the support of Chorus, we’ve turned the cover into an interactive contents page that brings the main sections and stories to life and blends print with digital.

"We're always writing about innovation at Idealog, but we also want to do innovative things; to keep embracing modern publishing tools and learn more about the trends and technologies we cover, so, after the success of our virtual reality cover last year, the next logical step was to create an augmented reality cover," says publisher and editorial director Ben Fahy. "Our VR cover was more about creating a fun, engaging experience for our audience and giving people access to the technology, whereas this AR cover aimed to serve a more practical function and explain what was inside the issue."

He says print still has that "special occasion factor", as evidenced by all the sniffing, stroking and snuggling of the magazine among some of the stranger staff members when it comes out. But it has its limitations when compared to digital publishing. So augmenting the magazine with interactive features – whether video intros or live links to online content – adds a new element. 

"Plus, I can be silenced with the click of a button, a function many would like to bring into the real world." 

One Fat Sheep’s general manager Sebastian Deans says the beauty of AR is it’s like real-world magic.

“Not only can a kid bring to life their favourite Pokémon character in 3D in their very own living room, but we can just as easily bring data to life, in an exciting and beautiful way,” Deans says. “We used the cover of Idealog as the canvas, and trigger, of an incredibly unique, New Zealand first (and not the political party!) AR experience.”

Idealog publisher/editorial director Ben Fahy makes his AR debut

Chorus network strategy manager Kurt Rodgers says that “while virtual reality takes you out of this world, augmented reality adds things into your world,” and there are countless applications of AR across a range of industry sectors, from healthcare to education to utilities.

Chorus is experimenting with the technology in its own business. Its technicians are connecting Kiwis to fibre internet at a rate of one every minute, but, in order to do this, they need information at their fingertips. That’s where AR safety glasses that project all the information they need into their line of sight while they’re installing fibre could come in. 

A miniature Chorus network strategy manager Kurt Rodgers comes to life

What a time to be alive. 

Instructions:

1. Download the 'Idealog AR' mobile app from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store.

2. Scan the cover with your phone.

3. Watch the Innovation Issue come to life.

4. Scan the back cover and see the Chorus fibre network in action.