The iOS 11 update, expected to be released fall 2017, presents new opportunities for mailers to collaborate with the Postal Service® and more easily connect to mail recipients. There are three main additional capabilities that may help elevate the impact of USPS® products: (1) the iPhone® camera can now read QR Codes®; (2) the ARKit allows for augmented reality (AR) creation, and (3) the iPhone’s NFC capability has expanded beyond Apple Pay®. All three features can make it easier for customers to both create and interact with mail piece features.
The QR Code reader update removes the need for an additional application to read QR Codes as the iPhone camera can read them automatically. This removes the inconvenience of downloading a third-party QR reader application and streamlines the process of interacting with mail that features a QR Code. For mailers, this may increase the value of leveraging QR Codes to offer promotions in a mail piece and allows for a larger audience to be reached and positively affected.
The ARKit is a useful feature for mailers because it allows for easier creation of augmented reality features. Like the QR Code reader, this feature removes the need for a third party augmented reality application and increases the accessibility of augmented reality for mail piece recipients. This can further allow for simpler creation and usage of AR in print and mail. Mailers may have an easier time offering promotions for augmented reality integration in mail, allowing customers to see advertised products come to life in their individual realities.
The expansion of NFC (near-field communication) beyond its use for Apple Pay is another feature that may expand the ability of mailers to offer promotions via Postal Service products. The iOS release will open the programming interface to NFC Core, which will allow developers to build applications with broader NFC capability. NFC Core allows for two-way wireless communication, so Apple apps can interact with NFC or RFID tags. The extension of the iPhone’s NFC capability can expand the audience with which a mailer can connect beyond Android users, who previously were the only ones with access to such a variety of NFC usage, and can increase the relevance and potential usage of NFC in print and mail.
QR Codes, augmented reality and near-field communication between a device and a mail piece are important features in allowing mailers to add digital interaction to their mail pieces. USPS anticipated this new frontier and offered substantial promotions to incentivize the usage of these key technologies in mailings. The Postal Service encourages mailers to add these features to their mail pieces to digitally engage customers with a brand, and this relationship will continue as new technology emerges.
QR Code is registered trademark of DENSO WAVE INCORPORATED.