Woman reading print magazine

The Big Issue magazine launches AR edition via app

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The Big Issue magazine has announced a partnership with tech company Konica Minolta to offer readers a new way to access its articles through an augmented reality app.

Available from today, the AR magazine allows readers to experience interactive stories throughout the publication, with the new issue focusing on how technology can improve society.

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.

“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 innovative approach not only includes AR interactions throughout the issue, but readers can also download an app onto their mobile phones, scan AR icons printed in the magazine and watch traditional print articles come to life in video.

This includes the cover 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.

The Big Issue has launched their first AR magazine, which will allow readers to watch their vendors' tell their stories

The Big Issue has launched their first AR magazine, which will allow readers to watch their vendors' tell their stories - The Big Issue Magazine

Image credit: The Big Issue Magazine

“We just want to let people know we have so many stories to tell. Homelessness is at its highest in the UK at the moment and our vendors are getting permanently beaten by the system, which is not working. We need to shed light on that,” Sullivan added. “Whereas people would have traditionally just read Anne’s story, they can now understand it further using video and audio.”

Founded in 1991, the street magazine believes augmented reality technology will allow them to “hammer home the message” of Britain’s homelessness issue which people “need to understand”.

Ashley McConnell, of Konica Minolta, said: “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.

“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.”

The Big Issue intends to utilise AR on a bi-monthly basis, offering readers entertaining content, with their first AR issue including former Doctor Who actor David Tennant reading an audio extract from Cressida Cowell’s new ‘Wizards of Once’ book.

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