The physical and digital spheres are meshing together in ways we probably wouldn’t have considered even three years ago.
There’s pizza delivery fridge magnets, Facebook-photo printing services and physical Facebook business cards based on users’ timelines for starters. And now augmented reality platform Zappar has given a hint at what the future of greetings cards could look like, partnering with Moonpig to offer digital video-enabled cards.
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Launched in the UK in 2000, Moonpig is an online platform that lets you create personalized greetings cards and send them to friends and loved ones. From this week, however, you’ll be able to go a step further and upload a personalized video message which the recipient activates using their mobile phone.
The video-cards are pretty straight forward to create. You pick a card on the Moonpig site as usual, then upload your personal video message, and select a ‘still’ which will be included on the front of the card.
The recipient can then bring the card to life using the Moonpig mobile app, available for iOS and Android devices. They need to hit ‘Scan a Video Card’ and point their phone at the card, which will load the video on their screen.
They will know that the card has a video ‘attached’ because of the symbol on the front of it:
The video can also be saved to your camera roll and be watched again at a later date.
We’ve written a lot about augmented reality this past year, with the likes of Blippar blazing a trail in the AR space for brands. So can we expect to see more examples of this in the future, and will physical objects in the future all contain hidden content? Perhaps.
“This will be the next step in how people receive and view greeting cards, providing purchasers and recipients with a whole new way of creating personal messages,” says Caspar Thykier, Managing Director for Zappar. “We feel implementing AR in such an everyday item as a greeting card is a great way to use the Zappar platform. It really demonstrates how the technology can truly enable a product in a commercial context with a tangible consumer benefit.”
Obviously the one drawback for this is that the recipient of the card has to have a smartphone with the Moonpig app installed on it. This means you’ll likely not be able to effectively use this service when sending your grandmother a card. But it does show two worlds colliding, with physical still very much the order of the day compared to digital ‘e-cards’, but augmented with the benefits of digital technology.
“Since we first launched we have continued to add new features and content that enable our customers to send the very best cards – the video card is a major step forward,” says Iain Martin, MD for Moonpig. “It looks like a regular card but point a smart phone at it and it comes to life. Making a card through Moonpig is really simple. Explaining to Granny how you managed to send her a greeting card with a video of the grandchildren singing Happy Birthday…might be more tricky!”