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Blog: Meet Layar

Layar’s Claire Boonstra to Speak with World Leaders at World Economic Forum in Davos

Chris Cameron January 24, 2011

Being selected one of the Technology Pioneers, Layar, represented by co-founder Claire Boonstra, will exchange thoughts with the world’s leaders this week during the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland.

From January 25th - 29th, Claire will be speaking on stage at three different occasions, attending some interesting sessions and will have many meetings and conversations with other attendees.

Some of the highlights of her program include:

  • Wednesday Jan 26th at 3:15 pm - Presentation and panel discussion on Digital Convergence with Loic le Meur and Prof. Masa Inakage, moderated by Rob Tarkoff and David Kirkpatrick.

  • Thursday Jan 27th at 3:45 pm - Table Guest during session on ‘Tapping into the New Consumer’. Discussion on changing consumer trends in the travel industry. Together with Padmasree Warrior from Cisco, Nikesh Arora from Google and others.

  • Thursday Jan 27th evening - Reception and Dinner (private session) with around 50 CEO’s of the Media, Entertainment and Information industry (incl Google, Nike, WPP, Time Warner, Bloomberg, Publicis etc). The theme will be “Is Reality Perceived or Is Perception Reality?” and Claire will be one of the three speakers.

If you are also attending Davos and wish to meet Claire, you can mail or tweet her. She will share her thoughts and impressions via her Twitterstream as well:


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AR and the City: Layar in New York

Gene Becker January 12, 2011

Layar’s U.S.-based AR Strategist Gene Becker will be in New York City next week. Here’s a message from Gene about what he’s looking ahead to.

New York City is one of the global hotspots for AR activity, and it’s definitely time for a Layar roadtrip!

I’ll be there all next week doing my AR Strategy thing: meetings with brands, agencies and partners, making and play-testing layers, and generally stirring up excitement for mobile AR in 2011. I’ll also be attending the excellent ARNY meetup on Tuesday Jan 18th, where I will show some demos and talk about the latest Layar news.

If you’re in town, I hope you’ll come to ARNY and say hello. It’s going to be an action packed week, and I’m looking forward to connecting with a lot of old and new friends. If you’d like to arrange a meeting, drop me a line at

Photo by Jerry Ferguson Photography on Flickr.


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Meet Layar: Dirk Groten

Chris Cameron January 10, 2011

As we enter the second week of January it’s time again to get to know one of Layar’s many great team members. This week we step it up a notch, as we hear from Dirk Groten, Layar’s Chief Technology Officer.

Dirk has been with Layar nearly since the beginning, and helped turned what was once just an app into a platform for third-party developers. Here’s our Q&A with the CTO.

Name, rank and serial number, soldier! Where are you from?

Long story. I was born in Luxemburg and grew up in Luxemburg, Paris, Johannesburg, Geneva and Zurich. Quite a bit of traveling actually, always following my dad where his new job was. My father is from Germany, my mother Dutch and we’ve always spoken French at home.

Living in South Africa as a kid was great and I enjoyed celebrating Christmas on the beach. After we moved to Switzerland, the first time we walked in the mountains and a cow moved behind a bush, I ran away thinking it might be a lion. Swiss wildlife huh?

I have a sister, she’s 18 months younger and has four kids (two girls and two twin boys). She lives in Zurich and the whole family got the Swiss nationality a month ago.

Your education must have been quite hectic with all that moving.

I went to French schools at all the places we lived. The nice thing about the (very centralized) French school system is that the curriculum is exactly the same in all French schools, wherever in the world. So if you move places a lot, like we did, even in the middle of a school year you’ll open the text book in your new school at exactly the same page as you left in your previous school.

At least that transition is easy, although you still need to make new friends and get used to the new teachers. That’s the hardest part of being dragged along around the world as a kid. After school, I studied physics at the ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology) and did a PhD in physics at Leiden University here in the Netherlands.

So what do you do here at Layar?

I’m CTO at Layar, so I manage the entire development team and R&D. Lately I’ve been very busy recruiting new developers for our teams in Amsterdam, Kiev and Donetsk. Also with our current growth I’ve been structuring our processes quite a bit.

We’re not a startup with 3 developers anymore so we’ve had to make some more formal agreements on our development process. During a typical day I have many meetings where we decide on new features, APIs and technologies for Layar.

And before Layar?

I used to work at KPN Mobile, a mobile telecom operator. I was involved in specifying the handsets and platform for i-mode, the first mobile internet services in Europe. It didn’t turn out to become a big success, the iPhone was the breakthrough for mobile Internet.

But I’ve been hooked up on checking my mail, searching stuff on Google and checking weather and the public transport time tables on my mobile phone since 2001 already. i-mode worked pretty well actually!

What do you like most about working at Layar?

The constant changes are the most fun part. Every month new faces, new ideas and new technologies. We’ve got to follow our instinct closely, as this is unchartered territory.

There isn’t a text book that can tell you what your next move needs to be, as a rational guy that usually bases decisions on good argumentation, I was surprised to see how strong our instincts are and how they keep us sharp.

And finally, what do you enjoy outside of Layar and technology?

I love the mountains, having spent more than 15 years in Switzerland. Mountain biking, skiing and trekking are my favorite activities. I’ve walked two weeks on the Pacific Crest trail in Washington and that’s been one of the most exhilarating experience due to the pristine nature. But also climbing the Mont Dolent on skis or the Mont Ventoux by bicycle are achievements I’m proud of.

My favorite musician is definitely Bach. The Matthew’s Passion and Christmas Oratorio are masterpieces which can’t leave anyone unmoved.


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Season’s Greetings from Layar! What’s Your Holiday Wish?

Chris Cameron December 23, 2010

It’s that time of year again. The most wonderful time of the year, as the song goes. A time to reconnect with friends and family and reflect on the past year over delicious food, thoughtful gifts and fun in the snow.

For Layar, this has been an amazing year of growth in which we have grown out of our infancy, but that doesn’t mean we still can’t have a little fun once in a while! That’s why we’ve created a special interactive layer for the Christmas holiday.

Fire up Layar on your iPhone or Android device and search the catalog for “Xmas Layar” and you’ll find a layer made for us by our friends over at C2K. No matter where you are, you are immediately encircled by photos of the entire Layar team. Clicking on one our photos will let you see Christmas wishes from each of us. If you’re feeling mischievous, feel free to toss a snowball at us. It’s okay, we won’t be mad, it’s all part of the holiday fun!

If you like you can send us your own wishes or responses via email from the layer, and keeping with the spirit of the holidays, you could win a gift from Layar. The three most original Christmas wishes we receive will be awarded with a Layar hoodie sweatshirt, so go ahead and share your wishes with us!

As for us here at Layar, we are very excited for what 2011 will bring for the community, and we can’t wait to help usher in the next wave impactful Augmented Reality experiences. Happy holidays and happy new year to all!

If you’re reading this on your mobile device, click here to immediately launch this layer!

Layer: Xmas Layar
Location: Worldwide
Developer: C2K


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Meet Layar: Ivo van Barneveld

Chris Cameron December 21, 2010

Last week we introduced you to Klasien van de Zandschulp, one of the fresher faces at Layar who works with user research and interaction design. This week we have another recent hire to profile – Ivo van Barneveld, manager of the Layar Partner Network.

Ivo is a native to the Netherlands with over a decade of work experience in mobile technology, so here’s a bit about him and his experiences so far at Layar.

“I was born in Cadier en Keer in the southern part of the Netherlands (near Maastricht). I lived in the provence of Limburg for the first 4 years of my life and then moved to Dalfsen (near Zwolle) at the age of 5,” says Ivo.

“I have one sister who is three years younger than me and as a family we would spend many, many holidays in Sweden. I really love that country” he adds. “I lived in Dalfsen until the age of 18 when I left to attend college.”

Ivo attended the Delft University of Technology where he earned his Master’s degree in Applied Physics. Before coming to Layar, he worked as a manager at ProRail, which is responsible for the Dutch railway infrastructure.

The majority of his previous work career, however, is from his time with Nokia. Ivo worked for Nokia in several areas, including Networks Forum Nokia and Mobile Video. Now at Layar, Ivo manages the Layar Partner Network.

“As manager of the Layar Partner Network, I provide the premium tier of our developer community with tools, information and business opportunities to make them successful. I organise webinars, develop new initiatives and manage communication between developers, brands and agencies that use Layar,” he says. “The thing I like most about working at Layar is the great group of people I get to work with, and the quick decision making that a smaller company allows.”

Outside of work, for Ivo, family comes first. He is married and has three daughters, ages 3, 6 and 7. Ivo devotes most of his free time to his family, like helping manage the field hockey team two of his daughters play on. With the time left over, he enjoys running and cycling, as well as reading. A book he really recommends is Fermat’s Last Theorem by Simon Singh, even if you’re not into maths!

To get in touch with Ivo about the Layar Partner Network, you can email him at


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