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MediaHouse Brings Interactive Print to Bermuda

Chris Cameron April 14, 2014

The frontier of Interactive Print, as it spreads across the globe, has made a stop in paradise.

MediaHouse, one of the largest media companies in Bermuda, has introduced Layar’s technology in its portfolio of properties, including the Bermuda Sun newspaper, Bermuda.com, Island Press and more.

Readers of the Bermuda Sun can see stories and advertisements come alive with videos, photo galleries and music four sections of the paper: News, Life, Sports and Tech. The printed Bermuda.com guide for April (pictured on the right) features a cover video that brings the photo of a flyboarder to life. And employees at the Island Press are having fun showing off their interactive business cards.

Check out the video below of people around Bermuda reacting to the interactive content.

MediaHouse says it recognizes the opportunity not only to enhance its editorial content, but also to provide a premium service to advertisers. Several ads in the Bermuda.com guide have interactive elements that can be accessed by scanning the pages with the Layar App.

“Advertisers are keen to get their messages onto the smartphones of their audience, careful to entice without annoying,” the company said. “Augmented Reality (AR) provides that opportunity because users engage their smartphone or tablet voluntarily.”

The company says it intends to increase its use of Layar going forward, so expect more great content from Bermuda in the future!

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Layar Campaigns Take Top Honors at Canadian Newspaper Awards

Chris Cameron April 9, 2014

Canada has been a hotbed of Interactive Print activity with newspapers ever since we partnered with publishers like Glacier Media and national papers like The Toronto Star. Over that time, Canadian papers have produced some outstanding campaigns using the Layar Creator and now they’re being rewarded for their creativity and innovation.

Three different Layar campaigns have been awarded five prizes at the 2014 Great Idea Awards, a ceremony honoring excellence in newspaper promotion and marketing in Canada. The awards for Layar campaigns include three 1st place prizes for both Glacier Media and The Toronto Star.

The Toronto Star’s “Go Beyond” campaign – a fully interactive newspaper produced in partnership with Nissan Canada – took 1st place for Print Innovation and 2nd place in the Advertising category for daily newspapers. “Scene,” a fully Layar-enabled magazine from Glacier Media’s Prince George Citizen (Prince George, British Columbia), took home a pair of 1st place prizes in the Magazine and Young Reader Engagement Initiative categories.

“It is a truly interactive print product that drives reader engagement using Layar technology,” said Norm Coyne, founder of Scene. “The ability of readers to use their smartphones to interact with the content and ads in the magazine has taken the Scene PG to a whole new level.”

    

Another Glacier Media paper – The Peak from Powell River, British Columbia – was awarded a 2nd place prize in the Newspaper Marketing & Promotion category. The campaign encouraged readers to discover the paper’s interactive features through a contest which raised funds for a local hockey club mascot.

“Our staff all participated enthusiastically in the Layar promotion that we hosted as game-night sponsor for our Powell River Kings Junior Hockey Team. They even brought their children to help demonstrate Layar to fans,” said Joyce Carlson, Publisher at Peak Publishing. “Sharing Layar technology was rewarding and placing second in Canada for our entry was extremely satisfying. I’m proud of our staff for coming up with this creative project.”

The awards will be presented at the annual Newspapers Canada Ink & Beyond conference in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island on May 29th.

To discover more about how newspapers can take advantage of Interactive Print, visit our Layar in Newspapers page where you can download our Newspaper Industry Overview.

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GIFs, Animations and More Come to the Layar Creator

Chris Cameron April 1, 2014

We’ve recently made an update to the Layar Creator that includes some fun and useful new features. Check out the video below to see what’s new! Read on below for more info.

GIFs – The Internet has fallen in love all over again with the animated GIF, and no matter how you choose to pronounce it, you can now use GIFs as buttons in the Layar Creator. It’s a really simple way to create a more engaging and visually rich experience, and can really help to make important items stand out. To do so, simply drag one of the default blue buttons onto your page, select “Custom image,” and then upload your GIF. Users will see the GIF animate when they scan your page, and they can tap on it to perform the action associated with the button. You can also use the “Show an image” button (now available as a basic button) to just display the GIF with no action tied to it.

Appearance Animations – Sometimes you want your buttons to make a grand entrance, rather than just appearing suddenly. With our new animations you can choose one of a few unique ways to bring motion to your buttons as they appear. They can spin, grow or pop into place – but don’t worry, they won’t repeat the motion over and over, it’s just a nice way for the buttons to appear on your page.

Add to Contacts – Our new “Add to Contacts” button (which uses the common vCard standard) is a perfect tool for allowing your audience to quickly and easily save contact details. While it can be used with any type of Interactive Print, it’s especially great for business cards! When you hand out your interactive card at your next networking event, your new contacts can scan your business card with Layar and add your contact info with just one tap.

Frequently Used Buttons – Do you use just a few buttons over and over in your campaigns? We’ve made it easier to access the buttons you most often use with this new section you’ll find in the right-side button pane. This is just another small way that we’re making it quicker and easier than ever to create Interactive Print.

Sign into the Layar Creator today to check out these new features!

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Download Layar’s Newspaper Industry Overview

Chris Cameron March 27, 2014

Newspapers around the globe – from national dailies to local weeklies – are using Interactive Print to boost revenue and reader engagement. Given this growth, we thought it was a great time to share our insights on how AR adds value to this industry.

Yesterday we hosted another of our popular webinars in which our North American Director of Business Development Nigel Newton detailed how Interactive Print can benefit the newspaper industry. We also shared great Interactive Print examples from papers all over the world.

These included the Toronto Star and Glacier Media from Canada, De Volkskrant and Wegener Media from the Netherlands, Folio Magazine from the United States and Lancashire & North West from the United Kingdom, among several others.

To accompany to the webinar, we’ve created a Newspaper Industry Overview, which dives into trends, methods and the 6 business benefits of Interactive Print for newspapers. Visit our Layar for Newspapers page to download the overview and to download the slides and recording of the webinar!

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You Can Now Use Layar on Google Glass

Chris Cameron March 18, 2014

We are very excited to announce today that Layar can now be used on Google Glass. Check out the video below to see how it works, and if you’re a lucky owner of Glass, click here to learn how to install Layar.

As pioneers in the augmented reality space, we were extremely curious when Google first announced Google Glass. We immediately acquired multiple pairs through the Glass Explorer program and have been experimenting and hacking with how this new technology and UI fits with Layar and augmented reality.

From this hacking, we are now able to bring the full power of the Layar App to Google Glass. By just saying “Ok Glass, scan this,” Glass will capture what you’re looking at and match it against the content in our system – the same way the Layar App does today. Now with Layar for Glass, you can view Geo Layers, Interactive Print and QR Codes with a simple voice command.

In the video above, you can see how you can use Glass to view any of the existing AR and Interactive Print content on the Layar platform. From browsing Geo Layers like Funda’s real estate listings, to viewing movie trailers right from the poster, to seeing magazines like Glamour jump to life with video, to immersive 360-degree panoramic experiences.

 

You can view any of Layar’s nearly 6,000 Geo Layers in one of two ways: by scanning the QR code associated with the layer, or scanning a piece of Interactive Print from the Layar Creator with a Geo Layer button. If you know the ID name of a Geo Layer, go to layar.com/layers/{layerIDhere} to view that layer’s QR code.

As you look at the items in the Geo Layer, you can tap on the side of your Glass to select an item, and you can browse other items by scrolling side to side. Give it a try with some popular Geo Layers, like Funda Real Estate, Instagram Photos, Casper Aircraft Tracking and Tweeps Around. You can launch these examples on Glass by scanning the QR codes on these pages.

Speaking of QR codes… Layar for Glass makes for one heck of a QR code scanner! If you want to use Glass to view QR codes, just say “Ok Glass, scan this,” and you’re quickly viewing the content on Glass.

Glass users can now access Layar’s rapidly growing platform of Interactive Print campaigns, including magazines like Men’s Health, Inc. and Glamour, as well as newspapers, advertising, art and more. There are already over 200,000 interactive pages that can be viewed on Glass.

“For nearly five years, Layar has invited developers, designers and creators to use our platform to explore the new medium of Augmented Reality,” says Layar Co-Founder Maarten Lens-FitzGerald. “With Google Glass, an important new tool has become available and we are very excited to be part of this amazing platform and explore together this new world of augmented reality.”

From a technical standpoint, we’ve modified Layar to match the UI of Glass, allowing you to interact and browse items using side-scrolling cards. By performing a two-finger tap while viewing Interactive Print, Glass will switch from the AR camera view to a “Pop Out” or fullscreen view, so you can enjoy the contest as comfortably as possible. Additionally, the technology behind the image recognition and AR has been optimized for Glass to make things as smooth as possible.

“When we first got our hands on Google Glass last summer and installed Layar on it, we quickly realized that in order to provide a truly useful experience on Glass, we needed to radically rethink our UI and optimize our technology for this new platform,” says Layar CTO Dirk Groten. “We didn’t just port Layar to Glass, but put in a tremendous amount of effort to create a dedicated app that feels like a first-class citizen on Glass. I believe we’ve created one of the most amazing apps I’ve seen to date on Glass.”

As this version of Layar is still a beta, you won’t find it in Google’s official Glassware catalogue, but installing it is very simple. To get started, download the Layar for Glass APK and read our guide on how to install it.

We will be continuously updating the app as we refine the Layar experience on Glass. If you encounter any trouble, we would love your feedback. Also, be sure to check back at Layar.com/Glass for the latest update to make sure you have the latest version of the app.

You can also contribute to the content on Google Glass right now by using the Layar Creator to make your own interactive content.

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