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Big Issue magazine launches 'augmented reality' technology to share stories of homelessness...

By Izzy Lyons

The Big Issue magazine has launched “augmented reality” technology to bring their vendors’ stories to life because the public are failing to understand the scale of homelessness in the UK.

The street magazine, which was founded in 1991, believes technology will allow them to “hammer home the message” of Britain’s unprecedented homelessness issue which people need to “better understand”.

The innovative new approach, which launches today, includes augmented reality (AR) interactions throughout the publication. Readers can download an app onto their mobile phones, scan it over AR icons 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. Ben Sullivan, digital editor at The Big Issue, told the Telegraph: “We are doing this mainly for the vendors.

“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. “Whereas people would have traditionally just read Ann’s story, they can now understand it further through the use of video and audio.

“You see and hear about homelessness on the news every day but so many people don’t realize that living on the streets is just a few steps away from experiencing a housing crisis. It can happen to anyone.”

Mr Sullivan added: “Augmented reality will definitely help people better understand the homelessness issue in the UK. We are going to be able to put so many more stories out there and hammer home our message.”

The Big Issue will be utilizing AR on a bi-monthly basis, which will also offer readers entertaining content. In this week’s issue, former Doctor Who actor David Tennant will read an audio extract from Cressida Cowell's new 'Wizards of Once' book, and ex-Razorlight drummer Andy Burrows will appear in exclusive video content.

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