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Frank Clicks Paper

Published on November 16, 2018

Frank reviews “Introduction to Graphic Communication” by Harvey Levenson and John Parsons. This is more than a book. Using Ricoh’s Clickable Paper technology, it becomes a professor on call. The text and graphics are amplified by great audio/video clips.

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By Dov Isaacs on Nov 16, 2018

Although the technology for the sounds and video is “neat and cool,” the problem is that given the pace of technology change, it is very unlikely that those “apps” that support the multimedia and the servers that interface with same and store the content will be available and update into the indefinite future (i.e., more than a few years). It is very gimmicky but not sustainable.

Remember the mid-1990s when it became fashionable for some schools to issue their yearbooks as CDs either in conjunction with a printed version or in many cases in lieu of a printed version? Most often those yearbook CDs were a proprietary format using a 16-bit Windows application for viewing. Those electronic yearbooks work quite well as coasters these days with no way of retrieving the photos and memories.

Technology is great, but for content we need to be able to access in the long run, we must be vigilent in defining and using “standards with legs,” not proprietary, short-term hacks!

- Dov


By Gordon Pritchard on Nov 16, 2018

How many different apps do I need to fill up my phone storage in order to view interactive media from different sources? The way things are going I won't have room for any other type of app.

This technology has been here for at least 15 years now. It's the technology vendors who want it to try to convince marketers (and hence their print suppliers) to buy into it. That's why there are so many different apps that do the same or similar things. You'll see one off examples like the augmented reality Esquire magazine of 2009 ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JeL9ffBczOE ). 2009! almost ten years ago. Did that become a regular feature of Esquire? Nope.

Maybe if there was a standard for these types of apps so that the tech could be embedded in any phone's basic camera app then there might be some traction. But until then it's just a gimmick to give vendors something to talk about.


By Christopher Reilley on Nov 18, 2018

As a Solutions Engineer for Ricoh, I was recently allowed to play with the software in order to better support users. To Mr. Pritchard's point above, Clickable specifically uses the built in apps on a phone (whether iOS or Android) such as the camera, browser, email app, etc. while allowing customization by the end user for preferred apps. There are numerous additional elements that make the users experience generic and open sourced.

The magic lies in the servers, and while I have no authority to speak to their longevity, re Mr. Isaac's point, I would suggest that usage would mean longevity. Previous attempts at this tech have failed, for reasons already stated. No users means no need to keep servers alive.

This tech is easy to use (I built an extensive demo piece in under an hour) and unlike its predecessors, has uses that cross multiple print types, methods, media, size, substrate, and color, which no other app can match.


By Gordon Pritchard on Nov 18, 2018

@Christopher Reilley

RE: "To Mr. Pritchard's point above, Clickable specifically uses the built in apps on a phone (whether iOS or Android) such as the camera, browser, email app, etc."

Obviously. However to access the content the user has to download the 14mb "Clicka" app. Yet another proprietary AR app to add to the glut. That's what I wrote about.

RE: "Previous attempts at this tech have failed, for reasons already stated. No users means no need to keep servers alive."

Exactly. If there's no perceived user value, or if it's not transparent to implement (i.e. does not require downloading and using a proprietary app that has no other function) the tech won't be used and hence will, as you say, likely result in a short service life.


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