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Orange Uses Layar to Help Customers Find Stores in Spain

Chris Cameron December 3, 2010

With Black Friday and Cyber Monday behind us and December in full swing, it’s officially holiday shopping season. With that in mind, Orange España - one of the largest telecom providers in Spain - has decided to use Layar to help its customers find their way to retail locations. This marks the first time a telecom provider in Spain has used Augmented Reality in its marketing and promotions.

The layer is called “Tiendas Orange” (or “Orange Shops”) and is available to view in Spain. When using the layer, iPhone and Android users will be able to find Orange retail locations using Layar’s Augmented Reality view as they hold their phones up and look around.

Using Layar to locate various POIs in the real world is one of the tried and true use cases for Augmented Reality, but Orange - the 7th largest telecom provider in the world - has taken things a step further. When users locate the nearest store, they will also be able to view promotional materials, coupons and enter contests to win prizes like digital cameras, GPS receivers, camcorders, DVD players and more.

“With this launch, Orange, as a company committed to innovation applied to customer satisfaction, offers a new way of relating directly and intuitively through its commitment to augmented reality technology,” says Alicia Calvo, Director of Innovation at Orange España.

If you’re in Spain, be sure to use Layar look up the “Tiendas Orange” layer to find locations and view deals and promotions from Orange España.

Layer: Tiendas Orange
Location: Spain
Required: iPhone or Android device
More info:
Developer: Orange


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Paid Layers Go Global!

Chris Cameron November 24, 2010

Back in April when we launched paid layers and the world’s first Augmented Reality content store, we took baby steps. At launch, users in just four countries could purchase content on Layar, and since then we’ve slowly added a handful of other countries.

Today we are proud to announce that we’ve increased the availability of paid layers more than twentyfold. Layar users can now purchase paid layers via PayPal in 179 countries worldwide, leaving roughly a dozen countries from complete global availability. Paid Layar content can now be marketed to users in nearly every nation in the world.

While the global expansion of the Layar Payment Platform will provide more users with access to premium content on Layar, it also is a terrific opportunity for publishers and developers to sell their Layar content to a broader audience.

“An important and long-awaited update regarding our Payment Platform has been implemented this week giving developers and publishers a truly global opportunity to market paid layers,” says Gerben Klop, Product Manager of the Payment Platform at Layar. “This global coverage provides a unique opportunity to create and offer both local and international paid Augmented Reality experiences. I am sincerely looking forward to working with the new projects including new Paid Layers.”

At Layar we are dedicated to providing the tools necessary to help developers, publishers and brands create impactful mobile Augmented Reality experiences. With this global expansion of the Payment Platform, we are now able to bring paid layers to more users worldwide, broadening the audience for content creators to market their premium layers.

Check out this video which shows you just how easy it is to purchase paid content on Layar.


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Letter From the CEO: Exciting News for Layar

Rhymo November 16, 2010

Today is a big day for Layar. In fact, it may be our biggest yet.

It is with great excitement that we announce that Layar has closed a series B funding round of €10 million. Additionally, we are very proud to welcome Intel Capital as our newest investor.

The last 18 months has been amazing for us. Having the opportunity to build a company that is bringing Augmented Reality into the lives of people all around the world has been a blast. It is truly a dream come true to now be able to continue working on our goal of making Augmented Reality the most exciting and engaging content on any smartphone.

Along with this news, we wanted to take the opportunity to share a bit more about our plans for the Layar platform and what you can expect from us in the coming years. Here are a few questions and answers about where Layar is going in the near future.

What does Layar hope to achieve? We want to bring impactful Augmented Reality content into people’s everyday lives. Let’s have a closer look at some of the words and phrases in this simple sentence.

“Bring” - This means that Layar is handling the transportation of content and connecting publishers and users on as many mobile platforms as possible. Soon, we will launch the Layar Player, an SDK that will bring Augmented Reality content to any iPhone application. But we don’t only want to be facilitators; we also want to help users discover the Layar content that is right for them at the moment they need it.

“Impactful” - We believe that Augmented Reality in its very core is designed to deliver experiences that can truly touch people. Remember the quote from Confucius? “I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” Augmented Reality is the closest digital experience to “doing” that there is today. We will continue to invest in capabilities that offer our developers the tools to create the most exciting mobile digital experiences.

“Into people’s everyday lives” - Augmented Reality is in its infancy, much like television was before the growth of massively successful content formats like soaps, live sporting events and reality TV. It’s also comparable to YouTube before we all realized that we love to watch videos of kittens. At Layar we don’t like to assume. We don’t know which formats will be successful in the medium of Augmented Reality. Therefore, we are structuring our platform in such a way that will allow for the successful formats to naturally emerge.

So, what’s next for Layar? The next phase is all about content. In the last year we have built a global platform for Augmented Reality. The coming period is about identifying the content formats that can attract and build an audience. We will not wait passively but will be actively involved in supporting our publishers in this process.

Is Layar packing its bags for Silicon Valley? Yes and no. We really like it in Amsterdam, and we plan to stay here and expand our team here. We will, however, be opening a U.S. office in San Francisco soon. If you are interested in joining the Layar family in the Bay Area, here are a few of our American openings.

What are the key projects you are focusing on right now? With our previous funding round we grew to 25-30 people. This was still manageable with a relatively small management team. Now that we are passing 40 people we are investing in structuring and strengthening the management team and building a project organization focused on throughput. We are also focusing on building a team and process around user research and analytics into the Layar organization.

Will Layar implement Computer Vision? Yes. Computer Vision is necessary to deliver truly awesome visual experiences. One of the first implementations will be Image Recognition capabilities within a layer.

What are the first things Layar has done with the money? We have hired some great people: Chris, Sunitha, Ivo and Klasien. If you want to know what they do at Layar, just keep reading our blog. Chris, our new Web Producer, is authoring a nice blog series profiling members of the Layar team. You can see the first few entries in the series about team members Pambos and Olivier on the official Layar blog right now.

On what will you spend most of the money? On the salaries of the amazing people which are part of the Layar family. We are growing fast!

We stand at the beginning of our most exciting period yet and we hope you join us for the ride!

Raimo van der Klein, Layar CEO


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Can You Solve the AR Geo Mysterie?

Chris Cameron November 11, 2010

As some of you may know, last week we hosted Augmented Reality Thursday, or ART. On the first Thursday of each month we will be hosting a fun AR mixer event with food, drinks, people and - most importantly - augmented reality!

To kick off the very first ART, we invited students from the Utrecht School of the Arts (HKU) to present an augmented reality project they are developing for the Living GeoLab. The lab is part of GeoFort, a fortress-like island created by the New Dutch Waterline, and the students were tasked with creating AR experiences as part of an educational attraction.

Presenters Douwe de Witt and Rick van Ginkel (two members of a seven person team) walked the crowd at ART through their project, Geo Mysterie. The game challenges young visitors to the GeoFort to solve a mystery using augmented reality as their detective’s magnifying glass.

“Geo Mysterie is an AR scavenger hunt around the story of Jay Indeed, the Professor and the Mighty Tornados,” says de Witt. “Our goal with this game is to take children on an epic journy where they discover the Professor’s true identity and will have to save the world.”

Using smartphones, players will be able to follow hidden footprints on floors and scan for invisible objects in various scenes of the mystery. Other aspects of the game involve hunting for tornados in AR, extinguishing virtual fires with virtual hoses and investigating debris using quick response (QR) codes.

ART attendees were intrigued by the concept, which has been selected by the GeoFort to be realized in the next several weeks. To learn more about the team’s project and concepts, visit their team homepage!

To see photos from ART, check out the official Layar Flickr page!


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Russia Takes an Augmented First Look at the New Audi A1

Chris Cameron November 8, 2010

Augmented reality has a long history with advertising in the automotive industry, but Audi has taken it a step further with the launch of its A1 in Russia. People in a handful of Russian cities can use Layar to visualize how the new car will look in the natural environment using a 3D model of the snazzy ride.

The layer was created in cooperation between developers AR Door and creative agency Rodnaya Rech and is part of a broader campaign by Audi which involved a contest recently run on Facebook. Users could visit various sites around each of the cities to view the car and could enter to win a free test drive by sharing a photo of the car in Layar to the Audi A1 Facebook app.

“The challenge for us was to create some unique AR experience,” says Irina Kharseeva of AR Door. “That’s why we used in the layer 3D objects instead of simple 2D icons. Audi A1 is the first layer with 3D in Russia.”

According to AR Door, over 1,600 users registered for the Facebook group. The winners of the contest will be announced on the 9th of November.

Check out a video below of the Audi A1 layer in action, and if you’re in Russia, look around for the car using Layar!


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