Mosaic to the Internet. Clickable Print to the Printernet

By | June 28, 2009

I wanted to get this on the radar of the print professionals on this blog. It would be very helpful to find out whether I am merely drinking my own kool-aid or have stumbled upon something useful.

To be clear, I’m retired and no longer in the game. These days I’m working on a non profit to find, fund and mentor proof of concept projects to demonstrate how Print can radically improve learning and high school education.

At any rate, following is a post I did at my blog. If you think it makes sense or is just blablabla please let me know. Best would be if there are parts that make sense and others that are blablabla. As a retired printer, I have a pretty thick skin. Plus it’s much easier to say what you think you see when you aren’t trying to sell anything to anyone.

1. Print and TV are the mass media.
2. The internet is to buy things,store, search and talk.
3. The business rules are buy, store, search, and talk for free and pay for stuff.
4. Print, t shirts, posters et al. are information rich stuff.
5. The printernet has the speed and scale that can bring Print back into the game.

Massive parallel local/global print manufacturing .
At the MFP or CRD or PSP or a gezillion PSPS.

Easy access to the internet

Clickable print(Print + 2d Codes + PC cameras or Smart Phones)
Easy access to the printernet

Some use cases:
Clickable maps connected to OnStar or Sirius Radio.
Clickable TV guides to find just the right video at just the right time.
Clickable club cards and postcards to support viral marketing.
Clickable club cards, postcards and flyers to support political campaigns.
Clickable newspapers to replace high school textbooks.
Clickable labels in museums and art galleries to find out more.
Clickable supermarket shoppers to carry through the store.
Clickable menus to get the ingredients and the chain of production of the food.
Clickable production machines to get the carbon footprints.
Clickable manuals for doctors, plumbers and electricians.
Clickable drug labeling to monitor compliance.

And my personal favorites:
Clickable curriculum guides to get just the right video on the flat screen in the classroom and then the kids watching the video on their smartphones and then the family watching the video in the living room. And then talking about it.

Clickable ID’s for High School kids to make it easy to send an SMS to mom when junior acts up. It will fix the “attendance problem” in about 2 weeks. It should fix the “stop acting like an asshole problem” in about a month.

Data points:
1. The new iPhone sold over a 1 million units in a couple of days.
2. Social marketing is marketing.
3. Whispernet + Amazon makes one button purchase of books easy.
4. Automobiles are connected to the Cloud.
5. Textbooks are disappearing from California.
6. The newspaper industry is coming back from the “end of the world.”
7. HP TouchSmart is connected to HP Apps.
8. The global economic engine is moving to BRIC and G20.
9. The person who sells mobile phones at my Costco referring to his cell phone with a 2″ by 5″ keyboard said, “This never leaves my hand. I spent last weekend watching the Mets on the flat screen and Family Guy on my phone. It was the best vacation I’ve had in a long time. I used it type my resume.
10. A couple of my high school students used their cell phones to write the essays that appeared at the class wiki.
11. Barack Obama is number 6 on twitter with 1,573,800 followers as of this morning.

Likely data points:
1. Apple will release a big iPhone which will be the killer app tablet computer.
2. Newspapers will find a business model enabling commerce in addition to advertising.
3. Legacy video will be tagged for educational uses.
4. High school education will get much cheaper, faster and better.
5. Newspapers will publish versioned papers for communities of interest.

Maybe future data points:
1. Android, Apple OS ,MSFT will compete to be the OS of the mobile web.
2. Smartphones, netbooks and X+whispernet will be the access points to the web.
3. Thirty second commercials will be harnessed to help fix high school education.
4. Clickable newspapers will publish versioned papers for the communities of learners, starting with high school, then moving to everyone.

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10 thoughts on “Mosaic to the Internet. Clickable Print to the Printernet

  1. Sandra Zoratti

    Michael J,
    Thanks for your thoughts…here’s what I’m thinking: Wouldn’t it be a better learning experience for students who can select, download, print and bind their own customized textbook, rather then a whole state that is provided with Kindle? (as they’re planning to do in CA) Hardcopy books still have an immense value for learning as they provide students with a place for annotation, note-taking and much more. A customized textbook will cost less for the state/school system to purchase than the previous approach of buying large quantities of longer books. And, customized books-on-demand will be more useful to students than electronic reading tools. The value of personalization is something that is talked about every day in marketing but doesn’t it provide the same, if not higher, value in education?

  2. Michael J

    And thank you for your thoughts. On one side are issues of cost, speed of implementation and practicality in the classroom. As you describe, Print on demand wins on all counts.

    But the other issue is about what role each kind of media can play in the process of learning. One of the unique properties of print is that it can be seen as the best search platform in physical space. Printed TV Guide v cable channel screen interface is just one example. Newspaper shoppers in print are another. “Searching” print does not need key words. It can happen in a blink.

    Regarding learning: There is much systematic research and anecdotal evidence that learning happens only when the learner has a “teachable moment.” In the language of educators that refers to the point that curiosity turns into interest which then turns into that “I want to know more” moment. The trick is that it has to be fast and easy to satisfy the “I want to know more” moment

    My thought is that as the mobile networks get more developed in the States it creates a new kind of media in physical space to take advantage of that “teachable moment.” Print with 2d codes that can take a student to either a website or a video is a previously impossible experience.

    That’s what I’m trying to get at with “Clickable curriculum guides to get just the right video on the flat screen in the classroom and then the kids watching the video on their smartphones and then the family watching the video in the living room. And then talking about it.”

    My thought is that “previously impossible experiences” mean the potential of game changing market opportunities for Print.

  3. Sandra Zoratti

    I like the way that you think (and write)! Your concept of using alternative channels of communications as a way to fortify print is realling interesting. In fact, in my current business role, we are doing the same thing in a different industry. This leads me to the conclusion that utilizing multiple communications channels and then integrating the on-line and off-line mediums is a must-have for effective communications/learning going forward. Combine this cross channel approach with the need for relevancy in all communications (no more “spray and pray” messaging) and then we reach a new — and much needed — level of effectiveness and engagement. This can translate to better learning with students, improved customer loyalty with consumers and businesses and on and on. And yes, this all will underscore the critical and essential role that print plays in the communications world.

  4. Michael J


    I especially like “This can translate to better learning with students, improved customer loyalty with consumers and businesses and on and on”

    If students are considered the customers of the educational system, citizens are considered the customers of the government system and patients are considered the customers of the helath system, I think the possibilities become much more obvious in all of these fields.

    For my money, the most extraordinarily effective way to tell a story is with the 30 second commercial. Now most of them are done as PSA on cable. What could it mean for any public enterprise or non profit to harness that power by posting at YouTube and putting links in Print product.

    That’s what I’m trying to point to with “Clickable newspapers to replace high school textbooks.”

    What surprises me is that outfits like CGX and RRD haven’t jumped on this. From what I can understand they have the systems in place and multiple output locations to make it a practical reality. I don’t know too much about the distribute and print capabilities of InfoPrint, but I have to believe that Oce, with their Digital Newspaper Network and Xerox with their Premier Partners also have the pieces in place.

    Meanwhile HP’s work with MarketSplash, especially with the upcoming MarketSplash and the recent anncouncement that they have integrated digital on demand printing with a gaming platform, also makes them a natural.

    I’m guessing that globals seem to think that QR and other 2d codes are far off in the future and don’t bring in business today. Given the amazing growth of mobile in marketing, education and soon, I think in health. It’s a blindness that is understandable, but unfortunate.

  5. Joe Barber

    Sandra – I agree with your customized books comments and by adding the QR codes that Michael references the books could then have perpetual life. This would be accomplished by linking the QR codes to online versions of the text information which could be consistently updated and enhanced with current events, personalized exercises, and much more. Michael’s idea of QR codes linked to constantly updateable multi-media experiences would help keep students engaged via a platform that is native to them. This melding of customized books with QR codes for Clickable Print would seem to encompass the best of cross media publishing to allow students of all ages the richest possible learning experience.

  6. Todd Thompson

    At our shop we have already bridged this gap using W2P to deliver “on demand” media of all flavors, print, audio, video as well as curriculum guides both as customized hard copy (bound various ways) as well as files to be displayed rather than output.

    It has changed our role in the eyes of many as they see us now as facilitators or information on both sides, business and marketing regardless of what form the information resides. And don’t overlook the revenue stream from converting these pieces of information into the correct format based on the client need!

    There is opportunity all over if you can start to believe that you’re not necessarily just in the printing business any longer.

  7. Michael J

    Thanks for stopping by. I notice from your website that in 2008, your firm has installed a 6 color Heidelberg litho press. I guess you haven’t heard about the “end of print.”

    I thought it would be useful for other visitors to share what I found by clicking on your name.

    “Founded in 1983, The Scan Group, Inc. began as a prepress and film house. Through a combination of internal growth, mergers and acquisitions, the company has grown into a dynamic, full-service creative and production group. Our talented, dedicated team provides one cohesive source for design, photography, illustration, composition, web, pre-press, large-format, digital asset, print, finishing, mailing, variable print, email and purl services.”

  8. Todd Thompson

    Michael, thanks for taking the time to investigate further and for providing a nice commercial for The Scan Group.

    Yes a new press last year but a 1/2 size not a 40″, paying attention to the reality of run lengths in today’s world. There is also a NexPress and Oce’ for any type of digital and On demand as well as a GTO to bridge the gap between digital and the Heidelberg. And all of these devices are fed through W2P in one fashion or another.

    Simply stated we started out 26 years ago with a DS373 scanner and within a year an investment in a Scitex system (boy that dates me), from then on it was pay attention to technology and all the other parts and pieces necessary to use these technologies to our clients advantage.

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