A possible future for newsprint – Part 4


Like most things, ideas or visions need time to mature, gain momentum and have the vision crystalized by others that review that idea. So firstly, many thanks to 3 such people who over the last 2 days have helped give the idea more shape and draw some attention to it, many thanks to Michael Josefowicz, Jeff Lazerus and Peter van Teeseling for providing dialogue that has fuelled this next entry into the Tunicca blog.

Right the first topic to add to the Newspaper Kiosk idea has to be how we can actually produce the pages fast enough to ensure the consumer, commercially available products are hard to come by currently that will print 4 colour in a small format, but my old friend Andy Fraser found this one, Memjet, small enough to have a few of them in my newspaper kiosk to ensure that your personalized paper is available in seconds. This is with exploring what companies like HP, Canon, Oce etc etc might have to offer, infact these companies would actually have the manufacturing might to produce the whole kiosk unit…. News corps watch out!

Prepay CardsBut what about the way to identify who you are in order to get your personalized news out, well I’ve been thinking that a prepay card as is being used by the Evening Standard in the UK is a little clumsy as it would require a card reader, although having a manual login process via the touchscreen offers a backup, the whole kiosk revolves around speed and the ability to get that personalized news out in a matter of seconds, so how about RDIF technology, maybe embedded into a key-fob? Ok, yes the infrastructure to actually do that is now getting beyond the original scope, but since this is going to be so disruptive to the newspaper industry anyway, why not go full pelt into it and ensure that you use technology fitting to the solution.

TargetSo how about the ordering of your preference of news, Peter showed me how the Dutch website Sync.nl uses a target and tag cloud to decide how much of a subject you wish to receive, as the subject gets to the outside of the target the words point size decreases. Nice idea! Sync.nl actually uses a relatively small target, and with news being so diverse and the ability in our system to use specific search terms as well and that it is easy today to add all sorts of dynamics to data mining we could add some sliders around the target to control them.

When you choose!So one last technology to add to this equation is what the HP company already offers in the form of Tabbloid, this provides the ability to source your news from RSS feeds at a schedule of your choice and format them into printable format… What’s different from this than say Google Reader? well the fact that it formats it into a presentable format that you can print and take with you is a plus for those who want to take their favorite feeds on the go.

question markCollectively with all of the innovating websites out there, a lot of what is required for this vision is there, they just need to be bought together. It’s clear that paper based news is far from dead, but the way it is delivered needs to evolve with the consumer demand for the way it wants to be read. With the massive question mark over the value of advertising and if there is a true conversion into cash for the investment into the current publishing model, the ability to deliver focused and relevant advertising based on the subscribers demographics could provide a new lease of life and revenue for both advertiser and publisher.

Oh and I really want to add some stuff about the QR codes but it isn’t really my area, so maybe you could head over to Michael’s blog to find out more.
Author: Gary George

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4 Responses to “A possible future for newsprint – Part 4”

  1. Michael J Says:

    In response to Part 3, I said that a kiosk is not appropriate for a newspaper. You’ve changed my mind. This is starting to get to “it’s just so cqzy, it might be brilliant.”

    Regarding the way to identify the user, the QR technology is well defined. COPI and RISO produced a demo of “clickable print” at the InfoTrends conference in Boston last week. I would not be surprised if there were a number of “clickable print’ products demonstrated at Print 09.

    With a smart QR code, the following user experience is possible.

    User goes to website at PC. Enters information such as interests, billing info, and
    anything that can be captured in key strokes. A QR 2D code can be produced in real time that has this information embedded and is delivered back to the user’s computer. It can then be printed at home. Then taken to the kiosk to be “scanned” by a PC camera or a smartphone.

    It will call up the right copy, send to the printer AND capture user information about when, where, what linked to the data that the user entered when creating the code. The user could then get the ‘news” in print form at the kiosk or read on their smartphone.

    An alternative is to deliver the QR directly to the smartphone which can then be “scanned.” Xerox PARC has a video that shows how a product called PrintTicket does exactly that. I posted the YouTube video at my blog. http://bit.ly/dgk8T

    From a biz point of view, this could enable contextually accurate adverts offered to a well defined customer in a well defined place gathered by GPS from the memjet. Sort of Google AdSense in the real world.

  2. tele2002 Says:

    Awesome, like the idea, although I’ve seen a lot of this in Japan and how it has managed to fit into every life, so whether it will catch on in the western world remains to be seen. Or I guess how long it will take, if we look at other technologies, will it take someone major to adopt it before it takes off – take GPS in digital cameras for instance, would-it have been Apple adding it to Iphoto that bought it to the attention of the mass consumer, yet it is still not a standard feature.

  3. Michael J Says:

    My bet is that it isn’t common place outside of Japan has a couple of reasons. First it was only invented in 1994 in Japan. I think in general innovations in consumer technology take longer to leave Japan for the rest of than is the case the other way ’round.

    Second is that the wireless network in Eurospeaking countries is significantly behind those in Asia. I don’t know, but wouldn’t be surprised if QR usage in Korea,Singapore and Hong Kong is ubiquitous.

    Moving forward the ferocious competition between the telecoms and Amazon,Google and Apple will put lots of resources in play as they try to gain market share. I’m seeing Google getting ready for the next wave. In the next couple of months we’re going to see a completely redesigned Google Search algorithm, Android is the iPhone competition for T Mobile in the States, Chrome OS will be released and Google Wave is going to “fix email.”

    So I think all of this points to QR codes finally getting to scale in the next year to year and a half.

  4. tele2002 Says:

    Good point regarding Google Wave, I think like any innovation though Wave will still have a chasm to cross as the early adopters really embrace it but the majority take some time to even experiment.

    I am now probably 70% Chrome on the PC, and I would say if more toolbars were written for Chrome (Google Toolbar for one, but I also use Stumbled Upon & Delicious) then I would completely ditch IE8, yet on my Mac I only use Safari and find it extremely irritating that Firefox even launches!

    This is down to simple integration, Safari just works on OSX some much smoother than any other browser, or is it just that I have got used to it!

    Thinking back to the newspapers, imagine now hat Google integrate this how concept into the Wave product, not only do they fix email, but they fix news delivery and the ability to print on demand from any kiosk anywhere in the world.

    * News
    * Rss feeds
    * Emails
    * Targeted demographic advertising
    * Maybe even shopping reminders….. I mean all the UK online supermarkets now have API’s, so there would be no reason not to have some sort of algorithm in there!

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