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Customer Story: Hus Forbi augmenting their calendar

Christian
July 1, 2021
3
min read

At the heart of corporate social responsibility activities at Konica Minolta, is a view on how technology can help society, and highlight how specific organisations and entrepreneurs are using technology to tackle social problems and ultimately make the world a better place.

Konica Minolta established a #techforgood initiative by partnering with The Big Issue, a social enterprise which exists to dismantle poverty through creating opportunities for people and communities. The initiative focused on shining a light on the UK homelessness using the Augmented Reality application: genARate. Over the course of a year, 6 publications of the street newspaper were printed which included in-depth interviews and interactive stories that could only be unlocked through the genARate app.

After reading about the successful partnership with The Big Issue, another well-known street newspaper company located in Denmark, Hus Forbi, became interested in using genARate.

“The homeless are often invisible on the street when people walk with their heads buried deep in their screen. Now the homeless come directly onto the screen.”
- Steen B. Sørensen, Sales Manager, Konica Minolta

Through this #techforgood initiative, they became the first street newspaper company to use augmented reality for calendars, whilst providing enriching content for readers, improving the lives of vendors and ultimately, to contribute positively towards helping society. The stories are presented to you through Augmented Reality (AR), probably best known from the country plate Pokémon Go, where you could find Pokémons around town through an AR app. With Konica Minolta's AR technology, a layer will be shown on top of what can be seen with the naked eye - in this case a calendar - when you see it through a mobile device.

However, instead of augmenting their newspaper, Hus Forbi provided their readers an enhanced digital experience through adding augmented reality to their annual calendar. Upon using genARate to scan the calendar, readers are able to view images, videos and audio on their mobile device.

"The fact that their stories now take place through the AR app makes it exclusive. You only get the stories, the insight into their lives and of course the future possibilities of engaging communication by purchasing the calendar. Of course, we hope that many people just lift their eyes long enough from the screen to buy the calendar from one of the many House Passing sellers and thus discover the reality of our many homeless people at home."

"We want to help Hus Forbi focus on the everyday challenges of the homeless," says. Sørensen and continues: "It is difficult at a time when there is a constant battle for our attention. The homeless become easily invisible on the street when people walk with their heads buried deep in their screen. Now the homeless come straight on screen with pictures, videos and hard, touching stories from life on the street that give us a deeper understanding of their situation. What's special is that it's mobile technology that cuts us off from seeing the homeless, and now it's the same technology that makes us really see them again."

According Hus Forbi, it will hopefully have a positive effect on attention and sales, so that plenty of warm jackets can be purchased before King Winter really announces its bitingly cold arrival: "The fact that their stories now take place through the AR app makes it exclusive. You only get the stories, the insight into their lives and of course the future possibilities of engaging communication by purchasing the calendar. Of course, we hope that many people just lift their eyes long enough from the screen to buy the calendar from one of the many House Passing sellers and thus discover the reality of our many homeless people at home."

A video example of the experience can be viewed below.

Both of these corporate social responsibility examples help converge vital print-based business models with new and innovative digital content, extending their audience reach and its impact in an ever-evolving media landscape.

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