Royal Mail launches online gateway through traditional mail

Royal Mail has launched a new digital watermarking technology that provides a gateway to online content through traditional mail in the UK. Via the watermark, businesses will be able to direct their customers through to online content, such as a specific website, video or social networking pages.

In order to view the digital content, customers must use their 3G smartphones to scan the watermark. The scanner will come in the form of an app, called Digital Space, which will be available shortly from the Apple and Android App stores.

Once the App has been downloaded, customers will be able to hold the smartphone over the watermark – indicated by a symbol – to be taken through to the specific content.

Upon announcing the product, Royal Mail said they were the first postal company in the world to implement such a solution.

Dave Smith, chief customer officer at Royal Mail, said: “Royal Mail is committed to helping make leaflets and mailings increasingly sophisticated and engaging for the people who receive them. This landmark partnership means that Royal Mail is the first postal company in the world to offer digital watermarking technology to its customers.

“This solution combines the strengths of the post and the internet. Digital watermarking technology means that a leaflet or mailing can open the door to a journey in the online world. By using this technology, businesses can ensure their mail campaigns are as effective as possible by linking directly to their websites, videos and even social network pages.

“By scanning a picture on their post, someone could link through to a video of a holiday destination or a chef preparing their favourite meal. The possibilities are endless.”

Devised by Royal Mail’s Door to Door unit, in partnership with Digital Space, the watermark eradicates the need for barcodes or QR codes.

It can be embedded into various facets of traditional mail – including pictures, leaflets and mailings, without the need for special inks or changes to printing processes.

Alex McIntosh, director of Digital Space, said: “Digital Space is looking forward to developing interactive post with Royal Mail so that businesses and consumers can interact with print media in a mobile way to buy services, rate products and share content using their mobile device. This landmark partnership will create added value for both consumers and brands alike.”

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2 Comments

  1. Chris Dolan

    I’m seriously impressed by this innovation. It will be interesting to see how successful this solution will be in the long run.

    Substitution has been prompted by the growth of the Internet, and it will be intriguing to see whether this technology will help slow the decline in mail volumes. Integrating mail and the Internet is exciting.

    Thoughts?

  2. David McCarthy

    other than the visual presence on a piece of artwork, I don’t see how this actually differs from a QR code?

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