The following is a message from Layar CEO Quintin Schevernels.
It’s been a little over 250 days since the launch of the Layar Creator! With as much activity as we’ve seen, it feels like long ago that we first stepped into the world of interactive print, but really we’re just getting started!
In June of last year, we launched our software-as-a-service solution for creating and managing interactive print. Over the last nine months, we have seen interactive print take off in a huge way, and not just with Layar and augmented reality. From AR to QR, and from digital watermarking to Google Glass – a new mass medium and a new industry is emerging. Today hundreds of thousands of companies all over the world are reinforcing their print products and advertisements by making them interactive, delivering more engagement, higher conversions, more intelligence, higher reach and more.
And this is just the beginning!
I would like to take this opportunity to look back and share some of the things we have done over the last nine months and share some of our thinking going forward. As I mentioned in my previous post, we are now focused on interactive print. This is where we believe we can add a lot of value and make a difference, and we’ve been working our butts off to do so! Just ask the coffee machine in our office, which reports that we’ve had over 12,000 cups of coffee over the last year.
We were very proud to join forces with Dwell and AHAlife.com to launch our first white-label application. With the Layar App Service and Layar SDK, we offer white-label solutions to a wide variety of customers, providing the option to launch branded interactive print apps using Layar’s state-of-art platform and technology.
In the Canadian market we had a very successful partnership with PostMedia, Nissan, TBWA and OMD. This produced one of the most successful interactive print campaigns ever and won Best of Show at the Canadian Media Innovation Awards. We are thrilled not only to have been a part of this award-winning campaign, but to also see tremendous growth of interactive print in the Canadian market over the last several months.
Not long ago we launched dynamic widgets, including the ability to embed a frame of HTML directly onto print. This opens up a world of possibilities within the Creator, and offers our customers the opportunity to provide unique yet familiar experiences to users with interactive print. We’ve seen a lot of great examples and we’ll share these soon in a whole week dedicated to HTML here on the Layar blog.
In order to provide a way for non-profits, students, teachers, artists and charities to create interactive print, we launched the Layar Sponsored Pages program. So far we’ve provided over 2,000 Sponsored Pages to over 150 initiatives and campaigns, and we’re excited to share some great examples with you soon.
We have been insourcing all our technology resources to our headquarters in Amsterdam. We have also been building an international customer care and business development teams, all helping us create better products and services.
We have also made a lot of changes and upgrades to the Creator itself, making the production and management of interactive print content as easy as possible.
And last but not least, the number of people using the Layar Creator has really taken off. Since my last post, we’ve grown from 15,000 to over 35,000 editors – and it’s on the rise more and more each day! We’re very excited to see so many companies interested in making their print interactive. Additionally, our Layar App usage continues to grow as well as we approach our 30 millionth download.
As said before, interactive print is just getting started, and we believe that interactive print will emerge very quickly over the coming months. It will not be limited to magazines and newspapers. We’ve already seen great examples of interactive print in books, packaging, Christmas cards and even tattoos!
Augmented reality is where the best user experience can be created and where the most value lies for interactive print. The number of smartphones and tablets and their capabilities will continue to grow, providing the opportunity to create great interactive print experiences in AR.
So what lies ahead for Layar? There is a lot to be done and we have a lot of ideas.
We receive a lot of requests from companies that share our belief in interactive print and want to take the journey with us. We will be introducing a new partnership program over the next months so these companies can take full advantage of our platform and help create the best interactive print campaigns all over the world.
We’re just getting started with dynamic widgets and HTML – it’s just the tip of the iceberg for us. We will be introducing more widgets that make creating truly amazing interactive print experiences easier for everyone.
User experience is crucial to us and we jump at every opportunity to improve the experience of our users. Along with a redesign of the Layar App, we will mainly be focusing on further improving the speed of the app and continuing to strengthen the accuracy of our image recognition.
The growing awareness of interactive print and the growing number of companies that use the Layar Creator leaves us a growing backlog of features and functionality we plan on building. Additionally, we will release an updated version of the Layar website geared toward making interactive print better and easier for everyone. We will use the website to share more best practices, case studies and inspiring examples from all over the world.
Many users have been asking us why they can’t scan QR codes with the Layar App because many print products today have both AR and QR. We took a look at this and found it to be a “quick win” for us. This week, we will release Layar 7.2 which you can also use to scan QR codes, but – of course – not in the way a QR code scanner traditionally works, but with a touch of augmented reality. Keep your eye out for that this week!
We will also be extending the products and services we offer to our customers and partners in order to help them get the most value out of interactive print. Looking at recent market developments, we want to emphasize that Layar will stick to simple pricing with a low barrier to entry. We want everybody to be able to make their print interactive.
One More Thing…
So these are the main dishes for us over the next few months (at least those we’re sharing right now). However, there is one more thing…
Of course, we have ordered Google Glass!
Even though we believe this will not play a big role in AR for the short term, the long term potential of new devices like Google Glass is enormous. Our R&D team will start playing around with it and we will keep you posted on their progress.
But as for now we’re focused solely on making the best interactive print products and services for our customers, and we would love to hear your thoughts. Leave us a note here and let us know what you think!