Recently, Sports Illustrated announced the use of digital watermarks in the soon-to-be-released 2012 swimsuit issue, as a means to enhance the reader experience. Two years ago, Sports Illustrated used JAGTAGs in the swimsuit issue, and last year the publication used Microsoft Tags. This year, it seems as though the magazine wants to offer its readership an interactive experience again, and with digital watermarks they believe it will be easier for readers to understand and make use of the interactive technology. With a digital watermark, which is invisible to the naked eye, a reader can hover their smartphone camera over any portion of the targeted content, as opposed to focusing in and scanning on a specific barcode (QR Code, Microsoft Tag, etc.) symbol. Additionally, the scan time is suppose to be quicker with a watermark versus a mobile barcode, but I have yet to experience this for myself.
An app will be needed to scan one of the 19 digital watermarked pieces of content in the issue, and Sports Illustrated has developed an app for both Android and iOS model phones.
While the digital watermark technology, which has been supplied by Digimarc, is new in the swimsuit issue, the company that spearheaded the campaign, Nellymoser, is not. Last year, Nellymoser was behind the scenes helping SI with the integration of Mircosoft Tags.
Over the next few weeks, it will be interesting to read about and hear the buzz that this campaign generates. Stay tuned.