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Blog: augmented reality

Layar, Metaio and Wikitude Now Include AR Interoperability

Dirk Groten May 28, 2014

By Dirk Groten, CTO of Layar

This week, in collaboration with Metaio and Wikitude, we here at Layar are very excited to announce that we are adding cross-platform interoperability into our mobile Augmented Reality apps. This will allow location based content (like Geo Layers) to be viewed on any of three AR browser platforms – The Layar App, Metaio’s junaio browser and the Wikitude app – regardless of which platform the content was created for.

Back in February at Mobile World Congress, we came together with Metaio and Wikitude to demonstrate cross-platform interoperability during an Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) workshop. As of today, these capabilities are now supported by all three platforms. We will include interoperability in version 8.3 of the Layar App which is coming soon.

Publishers of location-based AR experiences can now use a single platform to create and publish their content and can use the new “ar://” scheme to promote their work. Users can open these experiences on any of the three AR browsers.

Right now, interoperability supports simple location-based points of interest (POIs) with a title, description and image. They can have basic actions with custom labels, including link to a website, get directions, make a call or SMS, play video or audio and send an email.

Features not supported include 3D models, complex interactions (scripting, server calls) and animations. The format used to exchange AR content is CARIF (PDF), which is based on ARML 2.0.

This is a huge step towards interoperability between the various AR platforms. We view this as only a first step, as a lot of work still needs to be done to get full interoperability between the various AR browsers.

We’re happy to see that our three companies were able to work together in such a constructive way to alleviate the pain of developers of AR experiences that have to work with so many different platforms. I’m looking forward to continuing this journey, and hoping that more companies can join this effort.

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/542

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You Can Now Use Layar on Google Glass

Chris Cameron March 18, 2014

We are very excited to announce today that Layar can now be used on Google Glass. Check out the video below to see how it works, and if you’re a lucky owner of Glass, click here to learn how to install Layar.

As pioneers in the augmented reality space, we were extremely curious when Google first announced Google Glass. We immediately acquired multiple pairs through the Glass Explorer program and have been experimenting and hacking with how this new technology and UI fits with Layar and augmented reality.

From this hacking, we are now able to bring the full power of the Layar App to Google Glass. By just saying “Ok Glass, scan this,” Glass will capture what you’re looking at and match it against the content in our system – the same way the Layar App does today. Now with Layar for Glass, you can view Geo Layers, Interactive Print and QR Codes with a simple voice command.

In the video above, you can see how you can use Glass to view any of the existing AR and Interactive Print content on the Layar platform. From browsing Geo Layers like Funda’s real estate listings, to viewing movie trailers right from the poster, to seeing magazines like Glamour jump to life with video, to immersive 360-degree panoramic experiences.

 

You can view any of Layar’s nearly 6,000 Geo Layers in one of two ways: by scanning the QR code associated with the layer, or scanning a piece of Interactive Print from the Layar Creator with a Geo Layer button. If you know the ID name of a Geo Layer, go to layar.com/layers/{layerIDhere} to view that layer’s QR code.

As you look at the items in the Geo Layer, you can tap on the side of your Glass to select an item, and you can browse other items by scrolling side to side. Give it a try with some popular Geo Layers, like Funda Real Estate, Instagram Photos, Casper Aircraft Tracking and Tweeps Around. You can launch these examples on Glass by scanning the QR codes on these pages.

Speaking of QR codes… Layar for Glass makes for one heck of a QR code scanner! If you want to use Glass to view QR codes, just say “Ok Glass, scan this,” and you’re quickly viewing the content on Glass.

Glass users can now access Layar’s rapidly growing platform of Interactive Print campaigns, including magazines like Men’s Health, Inc. and Glamour, as well as newspapers, advertising, art and more. There are already over 200,000 interactive pages that can be viewed on Glass.

“For nearly five years, Layar has invited developers, designers and creators to use our platform to explore the new medium of Augmented Reality,” says Layar Co-Founder Maarten Lens-FitzGerald. “With Google Glass, an important new tool has become available and we are very excited to be part of this amazing platform and explore together this new world of augmented reality.”

From a technical standpoint, we’ve modified Layar to match the UI of Glass, allowing you to interact and browse items using side-scrolling cards. By performing a two-finger tap while viewing Interactive Print, Glass will switch from the AR camera view to a “Pop Out” or fullscreen view, so you can enjoy the contest as comfortably as possible. Additionally, the technology behind the image recognition and AR has been optimized for Glass to make things as smooth as possible.

“When we first got our hands on Google Glass last summer and installed Layar on it, we quickly realized that in order to provide a truly useful experience on Glass, we needed to radically rethink our UI and optimize our technology for this new platform,” says Layar CTO Dirk Groten. “We didn’t just port Layar to Glass, but put in a tremendous amount of effort to create a dedicated app that feels like a first-class citizen on Glass. I believe we’ve created one of the most amazing apps I’ve seen to date on Glass.”

As this version of Layar is still a beta, you won’t find it in Google’s official Glassware catalogue, but installing it is very simple. To get started, download the Layar for Glass APK and read our guide on how to install it.

We will be continuously updating the app as we refine the Layar experience on Glass. If you encounter any trouble, we would love your feedback. Also, be sure to check back at Layar.com/Glass for the latest update to make sure you have the latest version of the app.

You can also contribute to the content on Google Glass right now by using the Layar Creator to make your own interactive content.

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/534

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New in the Layar App: Discover Content and Take Photos!

Chris Cameron November 18, 2013

We recently released an update to the Layar App that introduces a few new features that help make the user experience even better than before. We’ve also produced a new video going over the basics of the Layar App, which you can see above.

Firstly, we’ve made it easy for users to discover and interact with your campaigns. Users are eager to scan content around them with the Layar App. The new What Can I Scan? section in the side menu provides a dynamic list of campaigns that are available in the user’s region. It also directs them to four basic uses of interactive print: items with the Layar logo and call-to-action, QR codes, paper currency and movie posters.

See how you can discover new content in the video below.

And secondly, we’ve added a fun new feature that allows users to capture a screenshot or photo of the interactive experience they are viewing. Tapping the campaign icon in the upper right corner reveals a Take Photo button which they can use to capture, share and save their experience! If they like what they see, now they can save it and share it!

Take a look at how this works in the video below.

You can check out the new features now in the latest version of Layar for iOS and Android.

Download Layar!

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/520

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How to Make Money with Augmented Reality in Publishing

Maarten Lens-FitzGerald September 27, 2013

AR will not save print. The publishers will.

As the largest platform for augmented reality (AR) with over 9 million downloads in the U.S. and 33 million across the world, Layar has seen many publishers begin to use the innovative technology to their advantage.

There are over 55,000 publishers, marketeers and more using our online interactive print creation tool, the Layar Creator, to create and manage AR campaigns. Seventeen is one of them. So is Inc. Magazine. All of the magazines of the Parents group, Dwell and many others are using Layar, including specialized B2B titles and local newspapers.

And these aren’t “one off” experiments. Many of our clients are regular users because they make money with AR.

Based on our breadth of experience, we’ve been able to distinguish four key ways to make money with AR in publishing. Plus, we’ve also discovered the most critical factor for success. Want to know what they are?

1. Up-sell Print Ads

The biggest way publishers are boosting revenue with AR is by up-selling their advertising. Now normal print ads can be sold as premium AR ads with digital extras, including videos, slideshows, links to webpages or even social media sharing. Some even create entire interactive experiences with 3D animations and games.

Conde Nast recently used Layar in a cross-magazine deal in Vogue, Allure and many others for Kraft’s new Crystal Light product line. It was a huge hit with readers, and major publishers like Napco have also started up-selling their ads with Layar in several of their magazines.

But it’s not just glossy magazines or B2B publications. In Canada, local newspaper publisher Glacier Media shared that they plan to make an extra $7.5 million thanks to their up-selling efforts for Layar-enhanced ads. AR is a perfect fit for the company’s high-volume, low-cost ad model, as the added value of interactivity brings in additional revenue.

The key benefit of AR is additional revenue with little effort. No new websites or iPad editions need to be built. AR allows the existing ad material to be enhanced, creating a competitive advantage and bringing in new revenue.

AR lifts sales morale and advertisers keep coming back because AR is fresh, new and it works! Publishers are making money and people are interacting with the ads - some achieving several hundred thousand views from readers. In short, the advertisers are ready, it’s up to publishers to provide it.

2. Sponsored Editorial Content

Another way publishers are cashing in on AR is through sponsored editorial content enhanced with augmented reality. A good example is the recent Inc. 500 issue in which the bonus AR content has been sponsored by Chase Bank.

Several video interviews, talks and other items are added with AR to the main editorial content feature Chase ads. Each video features a pre-roll ad for Chase credit cards. Depending on the magazine, the audience and other factors, some advertisers have paid over $1,000 to have their name associated with AR content. Others have paid in the tens of thousands. The money for AR is out there.

3. Print to E-Commerce

Rodale, Meredith, Conde Nast, Hearst… it’s hard to name a large publisher that’s not adding retail and e-commerce to its offering. Simultaneously, online retailers like Mr. Porter and Thrillist began in retail and have added publishing to their activities. There is a massive convergence between print and online retail taking place, and AR is the natural way to enable both.

With AR, readers can scan a page and add items to their shopping cart, allowing them to make impulse purchases right then and there. Seventeen saw amazing results with its September issue, as it allowed young readers to scan over 220 pages and add any item to a shopping wishlist.

Dwell and AHAlife.com successfully teamed up to use Layar to offer readers a shoppable magazine experience. They even sold a $3,000 rug through AR! This year, don’t be surprised when you see holiday gift guides with print-to-mobile e-commerce enabled. It’s here now and not going away. The printed page has become a point-of-sale.

4. Charge for Production Services

Layar is a self-service platform. It provides the tools that let anyone create interactive print content. Large printers like RR Donnelley, Brown and Fry Communications are leading the charge in creating extra augmented reality content for their customers.

Publishers are doing the same. Most have production studios that either charge by the hour or as a line item in a cross-media campaign. Either way the model is simple, they charge for the work they do and get paid for it.

The Critical Success Factor

Across the board we see one critical success factor that lets all publishers make money with augmented reality.

Two words: guts and belief.

Publishers with guts and that believe in AR make it work. They see the opportunity and seize it. They aren’t the people that sit back or say “If I only had more resources I would be better.” No. They are the publishers who say that “Despite the changes in my industry, despite the fact I have no extra resources, I made extra revenue with AR.”

They dare to make change in their organization and in their publication. They are the ones that are successful. We have seen it with Glacier Media, with Dwell, with Seventeen and more. At Layar we actively seek these mavericks. We want to work with them. Which are you? A “Despite” person? Or an “If only” person?

Recently, industry pundit Bosacks commented on the idea that AR will “save the print industry.” At Layar we don’t say this. Print doesn’t need saving. Print is changing, but it’s not disappearing.

There is only one key group to steer the industry through all of this successfully: the publishers with guts and belief. The maverick publishers.

Get in touch if you’re ready to join us.

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/515

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Virtual Festival Launches with Layar Roots

Chris Cameron September 6, 2013

This weekend marks the launch of a new and unique festival.

This Saturday, Amsterdam will see the first ever virtual reality festival. Named “Zo Niet, Dan Toch” (Dutch for “If not, then anyway”), the festival promises to put “augmented reality and location-based virtual projects on the map.”

“The festival allows visitors a new way of experiencing visual arts, entertainment, film, architecture, theatre, dance and music,” the event says. “The festival explores the virtual stage where nothing is impossible and everyone has access. The ticket is already in your pocket: your mobile phone.”

Visitors can wander around the festival area in the north of Amsterdam and view various VR and AR works with their mobile phone. There are even guided iPad tours for those without a smartphone.

The festival was started by former Layar employee Klasien van de Zandschulp in collaboration with artist Sander Veenhof, whose Layar artwork you may have seen here on the blog before. Many of the festival’s projects have been built using the Layar Creator or Geo Layers.

One of the featured projects is “Pont,” a fun boat docking game developed by Layar developer Blaise Kal. Layar’s R&D lead Ronald van der Lingen will also be at the festival giving tours and demos of Google Glass.

The program for the event has been enhanced with Layar as well, including a special final page which allows for additional content, so the reader can keep reading. In one case, an exhibitor changed the location of her project, so the program was updated with the Layar Creator to show the correct information.

Looking to attend? Here’s everything you need to know…

DATE: September 7th, 2013
TIME: 13:00 to 21:00
SPECIAL EVENING PROGRAM: 18:00 to 21:00
LOCATION: Various locations in Amsterdam Noord - Info desk : Tolhuisweg 5

Make sure your bring your phone, charger and headphones!

Permalink: www.layar.com/news/blog/510

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