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The Big Issue implements Augmented Reality

The Big Issue and Konica Minolta are partnering up to offer readers a new way to access exclusive content through the use of the augmented reality (AR) app, genARate.

The Big Issue implements Augmented Reality

The first issue of the AR powered magazine will focus on the importance of using ‘Tech for Good’, and will include various in-depth and interactive stories that can only be unlocked through the genARate app.

Focused on how technology can help improve society, the issue will highlight specific organisations and entrepreneurs that are using tech to tackle social problems and ultimately make the world a better place.

The issue will also include exclusive video content from ex-Razorlight drummer and Snowman and the Snowdog composer Andy Burrows and Notes On a Nervous Planet author Matt Haig. It will also include David Tennant reading an extract from Cressida Cowell's new 'Wizards of Once' book and a musical playlist from renowned foreign correspondent John Simpson.

Readers can purchase a copy of The Big Issue from their local vendor during the launch week and can download the genARate app from the Apple App Store and Google Play store at any time for free.

The goal of the partnership is to provide enriched content for readers, improve the lives of vendors through increased sales, and ultimately dismantle the social stigma and common misconceptions around Big Issue vendors.

Ben Sullivan, Digital Editor at The Big Issue, said: “As we continue to innovate and evolve in a digital society, we couldn’t be more excited to partner with Konica Minolta to offer an enhanced magazine for our readers and hardworking vendors.”

He added: “The ‘Tech For Good’ special not only shows the ways in which we’re pushing the boundaries of what print magazines can achieve, but also gives readers enhanced insights into the lives of our vendors, as their stories are brought into video and audio right in front of our readers’ eyes.”

The special edition will have AR interactions throughout the publication, including the cover where the story of vendor Ann Warke, 53, who turned to The Big Issue when she couldn’t afford to pay her rent due to losing her job. In order to unlock the exclusive content and bring to life The Big Issue, readers can scan the trigger image, which will be clearly marked with an AR icon, and can experience the hidden stories throughout the issue. In addition to the Jan 7th special edition, The Big Issue will be utilising AR on a bi-monthly basis to continue to provide readers engaging with digital content through the pages of the magazine.

“With homelessness in the United Kingdom at an all-time high, this partnership is a prime example of how businesses, social enterprises, innovation and technology can come together to improve living conditions for the world’s most vulnerable populations,” said Ashley McConnell, partnership founder and International Business Development Manager at Konica Minolta Business Solutions Europe.

“By introducing readers to the vendors behind the content, we’re able to open untouched channels and start a conversation around important topics like never before,” said McConnell. “We’re thrilled to provide the technology that can help support such an outstanding social enterprise like The Big Issue.”