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Blog: Meet Layar

Layar Vision and Creation Challenge Webinar This Thursday

Adriane Goetz August 29, 2011

Now that we’ve released the Layar Vision beta and are well into the Creation Challenge, we want to make sure you have all the tools and knowledge necessary to build immersive experiences and win some of that $55,000 prize money! 

We have already provided some tutorials and sample code, but we also want to give you the opportunity to ask non-technical questions and get realtime feedback, so this week we’re hosting a webinar!

Whether you’re having trouble coming up with a concept for the Creation Challenge, you want feedback on your current concept, or you just want to be sure you understand how Layar Vision works, join Layar Strategist King Yiu Chu and Layar Partner Network Manager Ivo van Barneveld this Thursday at 5pm Amsterdam time (CEST) to help you with concepts, strategies and best practices for Layar Vision and the Creation Challenge.

The tips, tricks and expert advice you’ll get from this webinar will surely give you a leg up in the competition, so sign up now!

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Come Out to LAYAR DAY L.A. May 20th

Chris Cameron May 10, 2011

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, we’ve got a special event coming up that we hope you’ll join us for!



On Friday May 20th, we will be hosting LAYAR DAY L.A. - a full day of hacking space and time with augmented reality. Join us as we seek inspiration from visionary thinkers and from street-level artists, and help us make some cool AR!



Meet the Layar team at 10:45am at the Geffen Contemporary for an informal visit to the Art in the Streets exhibition of street art. MOCA opens at 11am and admission is $10 at the door.



From 1:30-3:00pm, we move to the Arts Center College of Design where artist Sander Veenhof and Layar’s Gene Becker will lead a hands-on workshop for artists, designers and enthusiasts who want to learn to make augmented reality experiences on the Layar platform. We’ll use street art, public AR art exhibitions and historical layers as examples of hacking space and time.



Following the workshop, join us from 3:00-6:00pm for an afternoon with some of the most visionary and creative minds in augmented reality. We have an incredible lineup of speakers including noted author Bruce Sterling, Layar co-founder Maarten Lens-FitzGerald, Scott Fisher of USC’s School of Cinematic Arts and Dutch artist Sander Veenhof.

The LAYAR DAY L.A. workshop and symposium is hosted by Art Center College of Design, and will be held in the Faculty Dining Room at ACCD’s Hillside Campus, 1700 Lida St., Pasadena, CA. The informal tour of Art in the Streets will meet at 10:45am at the Geffen Contemporary.



Space is limited so visit this page to reserve your place at either the workshop or symposium.

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Layar Co-founder Claire Boonstra and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte Debate on the Renewal of the Educational System

Claire Boonstra April 13, 2011

You don’t get to stand next to your Prime Minister every day - let alone be able to debate with him in front of 300 fellow entrepreneurs in a majestic theatre.

Last Wednesday, I had the chance to do so during the ‘Meet the Government’ event in the Royal Theatre in The Hague. The event was organized by the leading Dutch business media: FD (the Dutch Financial Times) and BNR (Business News Radio). You can see a photo slideshow of the event here.

Dutch entrepreneurs, ranging from freelancers and directors of small businesses to CEO’s of some of the biggest Dutch companies (such as Stork and Randstad), were able to discuss and debate with our Prime Minister Mark Rutte. After his speech (which can be read here, in Dutch), four entrepreneurs in two teams were asked to debate with the PM on one of the two given themes of the night:

1) The Netherlands needs to attract more foreign talents and businesses 2) The Netherlands needs to ensure it better develops its own talents

I was debating on the last theme. During the introduction by the facilitator, the audience was asked if they knew about Augmented Reality. Mark Rutte immediately showed he knew perfectly well what Layar was by holding up his hands as if he was looking through his mobile, and said he really liked the technology. Now that’s a good start!

Here’s a summary in English of my speech (originally in Dutch):
“In the less than two years of the existence of our company, the context in which we operate has changed tremendously. We are continuously re-inventing ourselves - what we introduced less than a year ago is already completely outdated.

But not only my reality is changing. As we know from recent history, technical innovations which have a large impact on the way we interact, live, consume and produce are coming at us at an ever increasing speed. This change is a given.

But as human beings are not all by nature capable of coping with rapid changes - and the systems and processes we create usually aren’t either, these are big challenges our modern society is facing.

As this is a very broad theme and I have only 3 minutes, I will focus on one aspect: Knowledge.

There is a lot to do about knowledge, and the ‘Knowledge Economy’ [Kenniseconomie]. But in a world where knowledge is being transported to and shared with the other side of the globe in less than seconds, and is outdated the moment it has been invented, I dare to say that the term “Knowledge Economy” should be replaced.

Having or consuming knowledge is not of much value. Value and a leading position can be achieved in an environment where new and unique knowledge can be created, shared, built upon and applied. So it’s all about Thought Leadership and Innovation.

How can we optimize the creation, sharing, evolution and application of unique knowledge?

Unique knowledge is being created by unique people with unique talents. However, in our Dutch culture where ‘please act normal - that’s already crazy enough’ [Doe maar gewoon dan doe je al gek genoeg] is deep in our genes, this is easier said than done. We tend to spend a lot of energy on behaving to ‘the norm’. Look around you - also here today, everybody is wearing dark grey suits. Even I put on my black dress. The only things that distinguishes me from you are perhaps my high heels and my big pregnant tummy.

And regarding knowledge sharing. Our current educational systems are set up in a very traditional way: the teacher teaches and the pupil or student listens. Knowledge is being transferred and being tested in exams. When you are able to reproduce the knowledge, you get high marks and eventually your diploma.

But where does this system leave us when knowledge is outdated almost the moment it is being transferred? Why don’t we put students in the place of the teachers at school - and let everybody discuss and build upon the lecture material? Great new insights can be created!

Now I’d like to come to my two pieces of advice to our Prime Minister, as stated on the screen.

1) Learn how to speak in public. It is still possible to graduate from University, without having been trained in any public speaking. Super-smart students who get a 9 at their final exam but who are not even capable of bringing their message across verbally, in a human-to-human interaction, are pretty useless to society. Usually at international conferences, the Dutch are pretty much blown away by Americans with their speaking skills. Everybody, from primary school until university and beyond, should be stimulated to sharing thoughts, and develop both verbal and non-verbal communication skills.

2) Embrace unique talents We should emphasize much more on what is unique and different and embrace these - instead of (and now I am looking especially at you, media and journalists!) criticizing, just for the sake of being critical. When our company had raised 10 million EUR in funding and we already had 40 employees, a not-to-be-named leading Dutch newspaper was referring to us as ‘The little Amsterdam software company’ [softwarebedrijfje] and ‘Boonstra’s little company…’.

I am rushing to say that this complaint is not about us, but in general about the ‘Calimero-thinking’ in Dutch media. ‘If it is from Holland it can’t be big’.

Show that it pays off to be unique! Put unique people in the spotlights and serve them as great examples for others to be inspired by.

Thank you very much!”
Here’s the radio version of the speech (in Dutch). You can also listen to the entire event on April 9 via livestreaming on BNR, starting at 8h35 (my speech starts at 10h04).

The speech was well received. Mr Rutte came to stand next to me and complimented me on the story. He acknowledges the need for better speaking skills: “… also our government would benefit from better speaking skills ….” :-)

Passionate Prime Minister Mark Rutte is remarkably passionate and energetic. He fully stands on the side of entrepreneurs. He even gave his cell phone number to some - emphasizing his personal commitment to entrepreneurship in the Netherlands, saying “Just call me if there is a problem I can personally help you with.”

Events like this always help me with the de-mystification of world leaders. They are tied with all hands to their context - coalition partners, social and cultural context, established systems and customs, etc. It is always so easy to complain from the sidelines and to know better. The best thing we can do, in my opinion, is to set a good example ourselves and show the world how things should be done.
Only scratching the surface of the subject Given the length of my speech and the audience, I couldn’t go very deep into the subject of education renewal. It is a subject which really resonates with me and my fellow Layar founders. We are very much inspired by this presentation on Social Learning by Tribal Cafe:
Social Learning
View more presentations from TribalCafe
All in all, it was a great experience. The big changes in society keep us busy every day. They influence us, and we want to pay a positive contribution to it - as a company, with our products and personally. In all these aspects, we’re only getting started…

Claire Boonstra Layar co-founder

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Meet Layar: Nanda Jaspers

Chris Cameron February 18, 2011

It’s that time again to learn all about one of the many great employees that make the magic at Layar possible. This time, we look to someone who does a lot of the “behind the scenes” work at Layar, making sure this well-oiled machine remains … well-oiled! Nanda Jaspers is our Office/HR/Management Assistant and takes care of virtually all of the small hidden tasks that keep the company going. Here’s our interview with Nanda!



So tell us about you and where you’re from…



My full name is Nanda Anna Carolina Mathias Jaspers. It’s a unique combination of names. Anna is the name which they gave me when I got baptized and Carolina and Mathias are the given names of my godmother and father. I was born in Maastricht, a lovely stress-free city in the south of the Netherlands. I lived there until I was 18 years old but I still try to spend enough time there.



And what about your family?



My entire family is active and big! My parents have many brothers and sisters and the whole family is about 80 people big! I also have an older sister and a younger brother who both live close around me here in Amsterdam.



When I was young we did lots of activities like travelling, fun parks, weekends to Ardennes in Belgium, etc. I was always playing songs on my harmonica in the back of the car when I was only 7 years old!



Harmonica? Any other special talents we’re unaware of?



Well, except my musical talent I love playing computer games and I own a natural compass so I never get lost anywhere in the world!



What did you study in school?



I studied Hotel Management. I had my first “big” adventure by doing an internship in the Caribbean when I was 18 years old. After coming home I graduated and realized that I loved travelling and exploring new places so much more than studying! I followed another study in Tourism Management at an international high school and then worked in Greece for 5 years.



And now you’re back and working at Layar. Describe your typical day.



My work at Layar is never the same each day. I started operating the office and while the team started to grow I quickly had more work on the HR level. Now, one year later, I make sure that each new employee has a perfect on-boarding experience at Layar. In many other companies a new hire has to find his own way the first days and that’s tiring. I try to answer most of the general questions so a new member can fully focus on his or her new role! Anywhere the Management Team need assistance I’m also in charge of that.



What do you like best about working at Layar?



My role changes as the company changes quickly and I love this variety in work and days. That’s sometimes also difficult but challenging to me!



Be sure to check out the Layar Jobs page to see our list of vacancies!

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Meet the Layar Team at MWC 2011 in Barcelona

Bernice Thijm February 9, 2011

The mobile ecosystem is in the midst of an unprecedented wave of transformation.  At the centre of this transformation is GSMA Mobile World Congress held 14-17 February, in Barcelona, Spain.



Layar will be present of course and we would love to meet you.  Here’s where you can find us:


  • Our CEO, Raimo van der Klein, will join the panel discussion: “Augmented Reality: Is Reality Ready to be Augmented?” (Tuesday, 4PM - Hall 5 Room 5)

  • We will be present at Mobile AR Marketplace

  • Every day from Monday until Thursday from 12PM to 1PM we’ll have an Augmented Reality Meetup at The Fountain.


If this doesn’t fit your schedule, choose the person you want to talk to and send him an email to set something up.



The Layar Team at MWC11:
















































































































Raimo van der KleinMaarten Lens-FitzGeraldDirk Groten
CEO &VP Business Development &CTO
Co-FounderCo-Founder
raimo@layar.commaarten@layar.comdirk@layar.com
King Yiu ChuMartin Ahe
AR StrategistBusiness Developer EMEA
king@layar.commartin.ahe@layar.com

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