The days in 2011 are slowly ticking down toward the beginning of 2012, so as the new year approaches, we wanted to take a look back on the past year here at Layar. We’ve come a long way since 2010.
If the Layar blog is any gauge, you might be interested to know that in 2011, we posted 145 blog posts including this one. Over on YouTube, we added 44 new videos that show a wide range of Layar products and examples and events. Here’s a recap of the last year of Layar.
New Updates, Platforms and Products
We were quite busy in 2011 releasing updates to existing products, creating and launching new ones, and extending our reach to broader horizons. Between January and November, we released versions 4.0, 5.0 and 6.0 of the Layar Browser. In March we were proud to finally bring Layar to Symbian devices, and followed that up with our launch on Blackberry in September.
Our new additions this year have been designed to extend Layar’s reach and make it easy for anyone to get involved with augmented reality. Before the end of January launched the Layar Player, which allows anyone to add Layar-style AR into their own iPhone apps which just a few lines of code. A few months later in the spring, we announced Layar Connect, a publishing API that makes creating layers far easier than ever before.
Toward the end of the summer, we started taking Layar in new directions as we launched our new Layar Vision technology along with the Layar Creation Challenge. The finalists and winners all found fascinating ways to implement Vision into their layers. And finally, just this week, we launched an entirely new project, totally separate from the Layar ecosystem: Stiktu, an app for creating and sharing fun pieces of augmented reality with your friends and the world.
Great New Examples of Layar in the World
In 2011 we saw the creation of some terrific new layers and applications of Layer. Thanks to the tireless work of our amazing Layar developer community, this year, you can:
- Take a trip down historic Market St. in San Francisco
- Invade the White House and Pentagon in Washington D.C.
- See a virtual secret memorial to the Tiananmen Square incident
- View great deals on Groupon in your area
- Uncover great spots for photography with Nikon Spots
- Fight against invading aliens with Battle: Los Angeles
- Read an AR-inspired comic book with hidden messages
- Hunt down and explore digital geocaching spots called Dead Drops
- Explore various examples of Layar Vision on posters
- Help voice the Occupy Wall Street movement in AR
- View content in the pages of magazines like LINDA and Make
- And much, much more!
Special Events and Activities
In 2011, our calendar’s were chock full of amazing events we were both attending and hosting. Each month we continued our Augmented Reality Thursday series, hosting an AR meetup in our office lounge with amazing presentations of great tech demos. We even hosted our first event in the United States, Layar Day L.A., which featured a visit to the Art in the Streets exhibit and a workshop with Layar’s Gene Becker and Sander Veenhof.
Our U.S. adventures also continued with our sponsored AR Design Class at Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. AR luminary Bruce Sterling instructed the eager young students as they designed unique, futuristic concepts involving augmented reality. You can check out some of their amazing final projects here and here.
As a company, we travelled to and had a presence at many industry events, including DLD in Munich, Mobile World Congress in Barcelona and Augmented Reality Event in California. The Layar co-founders were also busy attending events and being interviewed by various media outlets. Claire spoke at the World Economic Forum in Davos and even debated education with the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. Reuters stopped by the Layar office to profile the company and Maarten, and both Maarten and Raimo shared their vision for augmented reality here on the blog.
The remainder of our year was filled with other random events that kept things interesting for the company and around the office. In February, we unveiled a brand new official Layar video, which showcased all of the amazing things you could do with the Layar Browser. It’s quite the step up, production wise, from our original video, which still currently has over 1.3 million views.
We also welcomed AR guru Bruce Sterling to our office for presentations and talks and discussions about Layar and the state of the augmented reality industry. This year marked a special partnership between Layar and Bruce, including helping with our AR Design Class in California.
And finally, just a few months ago, Layar packed it’s bags and shipped across town to our beautiful new office in Amsterdam. So far the new office has been a great change for us, bringing us closer to the heart of Amsterdam while providing a better work space for collaboration and communication.
It’s been a stellar 2011 for Layar. As you can see, a lot has happened over the last year and we’ve come a long way as a company. So here’s to more fun and growth in 2012. We hope you join us for all the fun!