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Zalando’s SDK-Powered Interactive Magazine is Back

Chris Cameron April 14, 2015

Last year we told you about how Zalando, Europe’s leading online-only shoe, fashion and accessory retailer, had integrated the Layar SDK into its iOS app to give users a unique AR experience for its magazine. Now, the latest issue of Zalando’s magazine is out with even more great Augmented Reality and Interactive Print experiences.

Several pages within the magazine have been made interactive, giving readers a unique print-to-digital shopping experience that connects items in the magazine with their digital counterparts on the Zalando website. A variety of Augmented Reality features wow readers as photography comes alive with behind-the-scenes videos, and 360-degree experiences give them new views of top products, and much more.

“This new feature is a great opportunity to offer our customers additional inspiration for gifts, festive outfits or even their own wish list,” said Arne Schepker, Vice President of Brand Marketing at Zalando (translated from the company’s German press release). “With videos, music and 3D views, we encourage interaction with our customers and make our brands and products even more vivid.”

iOS users in Germany, Austria and Switzerland can download the Zalando app and scan the pages of the latest issue to see the interactive content. To see it in action, have a look at the video below!

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Partner Spotlight: Digital Narrative

Chris Cameron March 17, 2015

If you’ve noticed all of the Augmented Reality and Layar activity coming out of South Africa over the last year or so, you can probably thank one of our Layar Partner Network members, Digital Narrative.

2014 was busy year for Digital Narrative, as the creative agency helped several brands and publishers add Interactive Print to their marketing strategies. This includes a travel contest with vida e caffè, and several issues of Food & Home Entertaining from Caxton Magazines.

Both were widely successful campaigns, and in 2015, the agency doesn’t show signs of slowing. Here’s a look at what Digital Narrative already has cooking this year.

Sea-Change Exhibition
The Sea-Change Exhibition in Cape Town, South Africa, is a multimedia project that tells the story of the birth of humanity and the ancient relationship we all have with the sea. Displaying large format photographs along the sea wall on the promenade, a selection of these panels are transformed into high-definition videos through Augmented Reality when scanned with the Layar App.

Online retailer and exhibit sponsor Pick n Pay also invited the exhibit to participate in their Cape Town Cycle Tour expo stand earlier this month. A selection of the panels were on display where staff with iPads showed off the interactive AR videos to the public, helping to generate over 5,000 views in 3 days.

“I have been amazed at the power of AR (and specifically the LAYAR app) to add an exciting new dimension to our exhibition,” said Ross Frylinck, co-director of the Sea-Change Foundation. “It’s a very easy app to use and the feedback from the public has been really positive. To see our photographs come to life in HD video has been very rewarding.”

Interactive Wall at IAB Summit
Digital Narrative also created another type of “wall” exhibit, this time at the recently held IAB Summit. The concept was a large 4m x 5m Pinterest board-style wall, and each item could be scanned with Layar to reveal the exciting possibilities of Augmented Reality.

“Layar’s Augmented Reality is a QR Code on steroids! No wait, even a great QR Code is still a QR Code and Layar is a whole new ball game,” said one attendee. “Watching a wall, a document or even a business card come to life in front of you is mind altering.”

MINI 5 Door
And finally, Digital Narrative was recently employed to help showcase some of the new features of the MINI 5 Door at The Design Indaba expo in Cape Town. Users could scan displays and parts of the car to hear the engine sounds on specially provided headphones, watch the latest television commercial, view a 360º panorama of the car or enter a contest to win an iPad Mini.

“The augmented reality on the MINI Design Indaba expo stand was great! It helped communicate the essence of the stand by taking the 5 senses to the next level,” said Carmen Slade, Marketing Manager MINI. “This tie into the MINI 5 Door hatch on the expo floor was a great brand fit and one enjoyed by all who interacted with it.”

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Layar SDK Now More Customizable Than Ever!

Chris Cameron March 2, 2015

At Layar we’re proud to help bring Augmented Reality to the masses by making it quick and easy to create a unique interactive experience, but we also know it’s important for brands to maintain their identity. That’s why we have the Layar SDK, which allows anyone to embed the awesome power of the Layar App into their own iOS and Android apps - and today, this tool got a big upgrade!

The newly updated Layar SDK is now even more powerful, and even more customizable with a bunch of new options to craft your own unique AR app experience. We’ve listened to loads of feedback from SDK users and those interested in using it to help us implement some of the most sought-after features from an AR app SDK. Here’s a rundown of what’s new.

Even More Custom Interface Options
Now you can completely disable the Layar UI and create your own interface that matches your style and goals. We’ve also made it possible to add new features like a Screenshot button, and you can choose to hide or show other features like loading indicators, the audio player bar and the replay button at the end of AR videos.

More Control of Pop Out Behavior
By far one of our most requested features, you now have much more control over how the Pop Out feature behaves. You can choose whether the Pop Out view is 2D or 3D, whether the reference image is shown or hidden and you can allow content to automatically reattach to the reference image when tracking resumes. Check out this video example to see what we’re talking about.

Infinitely Looping Video
Your AR videos don’t have to end with a replay button. Instead you now have the option to allow them to loop infinitely.

Enhanced Workflow Plugins
We’ve created a plugin for the popular PhoneGap open source app development framework, making it easy to add the Layar SDK to your workflow. Check out our PhoneGap tutorial for help using the plugin. And for Android SDK users, we’ve also added support for Android Studio to make the SDK easier to use.

Interested in using the Layar SDK to make your very own Augmented Reality app? Learn more here and get your hands on the SDK for free right now!

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Girlfriend Surprised by Interactive AR Valentine’s Day Card

Chris Cameron February 26, 2015

Greeting cards are an excellent example of an everyday object that can become magical with a touch of Augmented Reality.

Just a few weeks ago was Valentine’s Day, and if you think you did something special for your loved one, we’re pretty sure one guy – Vashner Muhi from Sydney, Australia – has you beat. Vashner used the Layar Creator to create a personalized, interactive Valentine’s Day card for his girlfriend. And of course, she loved it.

“Being a graphic designer by occupation, I’m always trying new styles and techniques to be innovative and always grow in the field,” Vashner said. “So I got curious about Augmented Reality because I’ve never had previous experience with it.”

Vashner inserted a “SCAN ME” card into his Valentine’s Day card for his girlfriend, which accompanied her favorite flowers. By scanning the card, his girlfriend was able to watch a personalized video message from Vashner, with hints at where they would go on the special day.

“Layar was the best and did exactly what I wanted to surprise my girlfriend,” Vashner said.

Check it out yourself by scanning Vashner’s card at our Get Inspired page.

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Get 2 Free Pro Pages by Taking Our Survey

Chris Cameron February 24, 2015

You may have noticed a few changes to the Creator lately, and we’re eager to know what you think!

So eager, in fact, that we’re offering 2 free Pro Pages to any Creator user that completes our Creator User Survey.

The purpose of the survey is to learn a little bit more about you, our customers, so that we can better provide solutions that meet your needs. By providing some background information, we will compensate your time with 2 free Pro Page credits to use in the Layar Creator.

At the end of the survey, be sure to enter your Creator username and email address so we can deliver your free pages. Also make sure you answer each question as best you can to be eligible for the free pages as incomplete answers will not be considered.

Thanks for your time!

Take the survey.

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