The PODi Appforum is always a great opportunity to learn about the latest in print. This year was no exception. One of the week’s keynote sessions covered interactive print’s emerging trends.

We all know that first big step in making print interactive—the QR code. But the next generation of engagement tools takes things a step further. Codes are hidden, so they don’t affect page layout, and they can link to all kinds of content, including videos, websites, and social profiles. Here are a few standout apps:

Aurasma calls itself an “augmented reality platform.” Images are embedded with “auras,” to which the Aurasma app is trained to respond. Hover over an aura-tagged photo or graphic, and the image on your smartphone screen will spring to life. Partners include brands from GQ to Gap, KFC to Kellogg’s. Big brands are using them in print ads to offer access to exclusive content.

• Print publications are loaded with “hotspots” using Ricoh’s new Clickable Paper. Also read by smartphone app, hotspots can link to videos, text, webpages, social networks, and e-commerce sites. A single hotspot can also lead to multiple “targets;” snap a picture of a music group, and the hotspot might offer you the band’s website, its Twitter page, recent news about the band, and a link to purchase concert tickets.

Links can also be shared via social sites within the app. For now, Clickable Paper is being market tested in Japan.

Digimarc stakes its claim on “ubiquitous computing.” Its app reads “digital watermarks” (noticing a pattern yet?) from all types of media; Digimarc’s goal is for smartphones to be able to read not just print articles and ads, but also direct mail, product packaging, and retail collateral.

Publications can even be “Pinterest-enabled.” Lifestyle magazines have jumped on the opportunity for readers to “pin” images directly from their pages.

These technologies are all in their early stages. But they represent a huge opportunity for commercial printers: a way to jump on the digital bandwagon by offering rich content that bridges web and print. We’re excited to see what’s next.

Want to learn about making your print materials interactive? Get in touch with Oregon, and we’ll show you how.