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Introducing Layar Creator 2.0: Unlock Layar’s Interactive Print Expertise

Chris Cameron February 17, 2014

If you logged in to the Layar Creator today, you probably noticed some big changes to the look-and-feel. Do not adjust your monitor, we have indeed launched a substantial update to the Layar Creator, but it’s not just a fresh coat of paint.

With the new Layar Creator, we’ve made it easier than ever to get started with Interactive Print.

Since the launch of the Creator nearly two years ago, we’ve seen Interactive Print go from an experimental technology to a powerful and strategic step taken by publishers, marketeers and brands to boost print revenue and reader engagement. Popular brands like Net-a-Porter, Men’s Health, Inc., Glamour, Elle and Cosmopolitan have all embraced Layar and Interactive Print. The printed page has become a new point-of-sale.

As the market continues to rapidly develop, we are improving our products and services to provide more advice and expertise in Interactive Print. We’ve infused the new Creator with our knowledge and experience to better help the publishing industry to easily and quickly add innovation to print.

The new tabbed interface makes navigating between editing, testing, collaborating and promoting campaigns much more intuitive and simple. On the redesigned Campaign Overview screen, a bird’s-eye view of all of your campaigns helps provide the most information possible at a glance. A feed of info cards in this section displays personalized tips, suggestions and helpful information to make the Interactive Print creation process smooth and easy.

“These features and more continue to set the Layar Creator apart as the easiest, most user-friendly and professional Interactive Print publication platform on the market,” said Layar VP of Product Rags Vadali.

Try it yourself today by visiting layar.com/creator.

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/531

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Save, Review and Share Your Favorite Interactive Experiences with Layar 8.2

Chris Cameron February 12, 2014

Today we’ve launched an update to the Layar App that turns print into the starting point for a whole new form of reader engagement. The new Layar 8.2 helps publishers and marketeers get the most out of print by taking experiences beyond the page.

“Now more than ever, Layar strengthens this power by connecting print with more intimate mobile interactions,” said Layar CEO Quintin Schevernels. “We see print as a valuable starting point for launching deeper, more engaging connected experiences that provide readers with an instant connection to relevant online content by scanning the print page.”

The updated Layar App now gives users the ability to experience, save, review and share Interactive Print content, extending the life and reach of the original print product beyond its initial use and audience.

The previously introduced Recent Content and Pop Out features create an automated “history” of content that a user views, and lets users lean back and enjoy an experience more comfortably without needing to hold their device over the original print content. Now with the new Favorites feature, users can save experiences to review them whenever they want without needing to scan the original print again – a feature perfect for sharing these experiences with others.

“Favorites is not only a great feature for users, but it also extends the life and reach of your print beyond just its first use,” said Layar Product Manager Maurice Groenhart.

See how Favorites works in the video above. The new Layar App can be downloaded today for iOS in the App Store and for Android in the Google Play Store.

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/530

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A First Step On the Road to Interoperability

Dirk Groten February 11, 2014

Today Layar, Metaio and Wikitude, together with the OGC (Open Geospatial Consortium) announced that there will be a demonstration of interoperability between the three browsers of our companies during the upcoming Mobile World Congress. What does it mean and is it important?

Say you’re someone hosting a big festival and are thinking “wouldn’t it be great if I could help the visitors to my event find their way using AR?”. The most popular apps for location-based AR are Layar, Junaio (by Metaio) and Wikitude. So currently you’re going to have to choose a platform and an app for your visitors to download. Or you can make three versions of your AR experience so that it will work with all three apps. Not really the ideal world for creating content for AR.

Actually already more than 4 years ago, Peter Meier (CTO of Metaio), Martin Lechner (CTO of Wikitude) and myself started meeting on a regular basis as part of the AR Standards Community. We knew that if AR was to become an important medium for connecting the physical world to the digital world, it would depend on content publishers being able to create massive amounts of content. And for that to happen, you have to make content publishers’ job easy. That is what standards are for. And one day there will be a standard in this industry. Christine Perey, the founder of the AR Standards Community, has been advocating this right from the early days of the AR Browsers in 2009. She did a great job at pushing Peter, Martin and myself to actively pursue that goal.

There isn’t yet a standard for AR. The ARML 2.0 draft specification proposed by OGC is a first small step towards such a standard, but we’re not there yet. All the companies in this industry are still innovating at a pace that makes it difficult to settle on a common language and common standard in a short period of time.

So during the fall of 2013, again with Christine holding the carrot and stick to ensure progress, we started working on a more pragmatic approach: Rather than having to finalise a standard and support it in our browsers, we (Metaio, Wikitude and Layar) decided to see what it would take to make our browsers interoperable: content made for Junaio should be displayed in Layar and Wikitude and vice versa. Seac02, also an AR browser and platform maker, joined the technical discussions. In January this year we agreed on a technical specification on how to realize interoperability. 

The past few months Stefan Misslinger from Metaio —- replacing Peter who apparently didn’t want to do the nitty-gritty work :-) —- Martin and myself collaborated to achieve this: interoperability between our apps for geo-located content. I quote Martin: 

“I think it’s fair to say that our companies never worked as close together as over the last couple of weeks :-) Was great to see that we can achieve what we wanted to achieve!”

Is this the end goal? No, of course not: Interoperability is still pretty limited. We only support a very basic set of common features. For AR to really become a mass medium, we need to go much further: support interactivity, vision-based content, 3D, etc…

It’s been great working together like this with Stefan, Peter and Martin. Even though we’re competitors, we all want the same: To see a world where AR becomes common place, where content providers populate our physical world with digital content and where end-users can see all of it with one app.

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/529

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Net-a-Porter Goes to Print with Layar

Chris Cameron February 11, 2014

Net-a-Porter, one of the biggest names in online luxury shopping, has recently crossed over into print, launching its bi-monthly women’s magazine ”PORTER” complete with interactivity provided by Layar.

It’s a strategic and innovative step for the online fashion giant, and a logical one as fashion remains one of print’s most relevant and successful verticals. Net-a-Porter realized it made sense to get into the print industry as it found that many of its customers were already subscribed to between 4 and 5 fashion magazines.

The new PORTER magazine, launched on February 7th in over 60 countries, not only provides readers with the fashion insight and shopping they know from Net-a-Porter’s online presence – it also includes Interactive Print capabilities from Layar.

“PORTER will not only inspire and inform our reader with world class content but will also offer her the experience and service that she has come to expect, turning inspiration from the page into accessibility within seconds,” said editor-in-chief Lucy Yeomans in an interview with the Telegraph.

Nearly each page of the magazine (over 270 in total!) includes links to purchase products, watch videos, visit webpages and more. Readers need only scan the pages with the Net-a-Porter app, which uses the Layar SDK to provide interactive scanning in a friendly, familiar environment.

You can try it yourself as well by scanning PORTER magazine with the Layar App.


Before and after scanning PORTER with the Net-a-Porter app.


Before and after scanning PORTER with the Net-a-Porter app.

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/528

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How To Run Layar On BlackBerry Devices Running BB OS 10.2.1

Dirk Groten February 6, 2014

Last week BlackBerry released a major update for BlackBerry OS 10 which includes an enormous improvement in their Android runtime environment. That means that now, almost any Android app can run on BlackBerry devices which have been updated to OS 10.2.1. 

Of course, we were curious to see if Layar would run in this new runtime environment and the good news is: It does! Layar uses a lot of low level calls to native (C++) APIs, which meant that up to now, it wasn’t compatible with the Android emulator that BlackBerry was running on OS 10, but that has changed since the added support for Android Native (JNI).

If you want to try it for yourself, just follow these steps:

  1.  You’ll need to have a Z10, Q10, Z30 or Q5 device. Only these devices are supported.
  2. Make sure you update your BlackBerry device to the latest OS, at the time of writing 10.2.1.537. It must be at least 10.2.1. To update, go to Settings, then Software Update and follow the instructions.
  3. Once your device is updated (this can take up to half an hour), reboot
  4. Open this page in the browser on your BlackBerry device: http://layar.com/download/blackberry
  5. Download the .apk file from that page
  6. When the file is downloaded, the Downloads list will open, if not, open it via the menu in the browser
  7. Click on the .apk file that was download and you will get the Layar install screen.
  8. Hit Install, if it’s the first time you install an app that is not from BlackBerry World, you’ll be asked to give permission. Toggle the switch and continue the installation.
  9. Now you’ll be asked to agree to the permissions Layar requires to run, click Accept.

That’s it! Now you can use Layar on your BlackBerry device. This is Layar v8.1 as we published it in Google Play, with no changes for BlackBerry. We’ll probably do a few small tweaks to improve the experience on BlackBerry in our next release. Let us know what you think, any issues you find, or if you like Layar on BlackBerry and think we should submit it to BlackBerry App World. Just use the comments below.

There are a few known issues we encountered while testing on a Z10:

  • AR videos don’t play in the AR view, so you’ll have to tap them to view them full screen;
  • The camera zoom level is a bit awkward, forcing you to hold your phone quite far away from the printed page when you’re using the scanning view in Layar;
  • Sometimes hitting scan doesn’t give a quick response, just hit back when that happens and try again;
  • When using Geo Layers, the map view doesn’t work.

We’re curious to hear your feedback!

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/527

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