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Blog: united-states

Layar in the US – Stop 2: San Francisco

Claire Boonstra August 20, 2010

A representation of the Layar team (Claire, Matt, Maurice) plus Marc from Hoppala were in the US last week. After having spent some fantastic days in New York (check here for the blogpost), we had a very nice (yet short) stay in San Francisco. Our minds are still boggling - what a fantastic city, crowd and attitude!

Layar Partner NetworkLike the NYC version, the SFO visit was aimed at getting new dedicated Layar developers in, to bridge the gap between the huge demand from the US (in Layar users and in Big Brands wanting a layer on Layar) and the limited amount of dedicated Layar developers in the US compared to Europe. We are often being approached by Big Brands (Fortune 500 companies, major advertisers and publishers) who would like to have a layer but we now have to recommend good European developers to them - as there are too little good US developers to choose from in our Layar Partner Network (LPN).

Layar event at Adaptive Path
Highlight of our SFO visit was the Layar event, which took place at the premises of Adaptive Path. Thanks so much Kate and team for being a fantastic host!
We felt sparked by a very energetic crowd, which was highly motivated and knowledgeable. The audience consisted of many developers, agencies, some publishers, advertisers, investors, fans and friends. The ladies from Metaio were also there - I managed to get them promote Layar :-) It was fun meeting you, Noora and Liza!

We’ll be able to sign up multiple new members of the LPN of which 2 game companies and an agency specialized in AR development, who previously did mainly marker-based AR  but who will now also focus on layar. The new members will be announced in the list once all formalities are done.

In separate meetings we signed up a global Ad agency. We expected 2 people at meeting but as much as 30 people from the company had shown up, all extremely interested and full of amazing AR ideas which they will implement and execute for their fortune 500 advertisers in the coming period.

We love San Francisco
For some of us, it was our first visit to SFO. We were struck by the amazing atmosphere - everybody is willing to help, from people introducing us to their large community, wanting us to speak at their events or meetups, connecting us to important decision makers, wanting to guide us around etc. A very energetic yet laid back environment!

We didn’t have much time for sightseeing now but did a quick Tour of South Bay. We made a quick visit to the Golden Gate bridge - it was covered in clouds, but we could totally see how beautiful it must be when the sun is shining. Probably the worst part was that I didn’t have the chance to eat at (or better said: experience) In ‘n Out. ;-)

All in all many reasons to come back soon. Our first step towards building up a Layar presence in the US couldn’t have been better. Look forward to coming back!



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Layar’s visit to the US – first stop: New York

Claire Boonstra August 12, 2010

The USA are by far the biggest market for Layar in terms of usage and demand from big brands - many major US or global advertisers contact us every week for wanting a cool AR experience. But unlike Europe which has a very established Layar developer community, we don’t have a wide array of experienced and active local US Layar developers and agencies to connect the big advertisers with.

Brands like National Geographic therefore chose TABWorldmedia from the Netherlands, and Quiznos partnered with Canada-based Winvolve.

We at Layar are highly committed to serving our biggest market in the best possible way. This trip is the first step towards building a local US presence, to learn about local needs and insights and to enable motivated existing and potential Layar developers and agencies in serving their clients in the best possible way.

The team visiting consists of Claire (co-founder),  Matt who’s running the commercial department, Community manager Maurice and Marc from Hoppala - a Layar developer representing the Layar Partner Network.

In this travel report you can read along to what has been keeping us busy on our first stop: New York!

Amazing content in NYC
Apart from Matt, who is a New York and SFO veteran, the other three including me had never been to NYC. We stayed in a very nice place in SoHo, the perfect place to try out my recently bought camera for some cool pictures and Layar screenshots from my window on the 15th floor!

What immediately struck me was the high density of local layers and the literally endless Stream of objects nearby. There were over 25 layers to be found in the local tab and the first 20 or so results in my Layar Stream were never more than 200 meters away, showing restaurants, Tweepsaround, apartments for rent etc etc.
Being a member of the Yellow Team on the Layar game Conquar, I didn’t find much to conquer as somebody from the Yellow team had already taken over the Greater New York area :-) Next time I’ll challenge the audience to make my Conquar life a bit more interesting…

Even though we didn’t have much time for sightseeing, I HAD to visit Ground Zero. There is a layer showing the Twin Towers in 3D, exactly where they used to be and I just had to see it there.

Let me first tell you that Ground Zero is simply impressive. It literally is an open wound and even though construction works are ongoing and the signs are showing the designs of what will arise, it is a strange open place in the dense forest of high rise buildings.

But experiencing the Twin Towers in Augmented Reality was truly impressive and even an emotional experience. I tweeted the screenshots and received some emotional reactions. Some guy asked me what I was doing and I gave him my phone - He was amazed. We’ll put up a video soon.

Layar event
The Layar event on Tuesday evening was a great success. We hoped to have a dedicated audience of (potential) Layar creators rather than big audience of only vaguely interested people and got everything we wanted. People drove and flew in from as far as Philadelphia, Connecticut and even Seattle only to come and see us.

I showed some of the coolest Layar cases and gave a general introduction to the platform, Matt shared the latest usage statistics and the different platforms and handsets to which Layar is being distributed. Maurice provided background info on how Layar facilitates content creation and Marc gave a step by step explanation of the technical side of Layar and how you can even create layers if you can’t code using Hoppala Augmentation. Presentations will soon be online (as soon as we have decent wifi).

The audience was very active in terms of questions and sharing ideas. Some already had experience building layers or other AR experiences, others were from an ad agency interested in adding Layar to their portfolio and some even planning to set up an agency focusing also on Layar development and there were some influential AR bloggers in the audience such as Chris Grayson and Tish Shute.

I interviewed some of them on background and their AR dream - will post these videos with interesting thoughts when I’m back in the Netherlands.

Fire Fighters
The event took place in the New York Fire Museum. This was arranged by Richard Jansen, a Dutch fire fighter who sees huge potential in using Layar to better understand the context when there’s a fire or rescue operation. When there’s 8 minutes to judge, you want to have a good understanding of the building you’re about to enter, hazardous materials, explosives, water depth etc. Here’s a presentation he made on how he believes Layar can help in bringing all this information into the hands of the fire fighters, without having to invest in expensive hardware solutions.

Over the weekend, Richard also created a 9/11 fire fighter memorial layer. Screenshots soon to online.

New members of the LPN

We had great one on one meetings with agencies and brands in NYC. We signed up one new member of the Layar Partner Network. A huge media agency and publisher working on a fantastic Layar campaign for a major global brand . The campaign will start next week so we’ll tell you more when it’s live.

All in all a very fruitful first short visit to New York. A next time, I would like to do a ‘10 agencies in 3 days’ round, so if you’re an (advertising or web development) agency in New York and interested to see me personally, please let me know.

Next stop: SFO

I’m writing this article on board of the flight to San Francisco, where we will have more interesting meetings as well as another Layar event, Thursday the 12th, 6PM at the Adaptive Path offices! Please join us - here’s more info and where you can RSVP



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Layer of the week: Avoid criminal areas with the SpotCrime layer

Redactie June 10, 2010

Want to feel safe? Find out if you’re in a safe area with the SpotCrime layer. ReportSee created SpotCrime on the notion that information is power. Next to their website, they launched a paid layer with crime maps, showing crime incident data around you, like crime alerts and reports of shootings, robberies, assaults, thefts, burglaries, arsons and vandalism. We talked to Colin Drane from ReportSee to find out how we can feel safer by using the layer.

Why a Spotcrime layer?

Colin: “The SpotCrime layer allows you to see an augmented reality view of the crimes that have happened in their current location. This allows them to be more aware of their surroundings and helps to prevent becoming a victim. This can be especially useful if you are on vacation in an area that you’ve never visited before. It’s important to know what’s going on around you, and to avoid unsafe areas when you can.”

What can we user do with it?

Colin: “Use the augmented reality view or the list view to learn about crimes in a certain radius around your location. If one of the crime icons is selected, you can read more specific details about the crime event and follow the link to the SpotCrime website.”

‘Why is it worth my $1.95?’

Colin: “It’s only a one time fee, after which you can use the layer at home and any place you travel and become knowledgeable about safe locations. You can’t put a price on peace of mind!”

Other things you’d like to share?

Colin: “Sign up for free email alerts at

The layer currently covers the 300 largest US cities, main cities in Canada and The Netherlands and London.


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Data visualization: Layar usage in the US

Rhymo June 2, 2010

Our intern Anthony(@portemantho) made a nice visualization of one week of Layar usage in the United States. What you see is the parts of the US that have been augmented in the period of 27th of May until 1st of June. Really inspiring stuff Anthony!


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300th layer launched: Find tourist locations in Australia, the United States and ten European countries

Jaqueline Heijn January 7, 2010

We are very proud to announce that earlier this week the 300th layer has been launched: Places.

The layer enables you to discover tourist locations around you. You can add your own places, send your pictures and post your comments. You can also vote for your favorite POIs.

The layer is available in Australia, Austria, Croatia, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, United Kingdom and the United States.

The layer was made by Pablo Garcia-Morato, Jefe de proyectos, from Elipse AD in Spain. We asked him a few questions:

You have made the 300th layer, congratulations!! What is your first reaction on that?

Well it was really a surprise because although I follow all Layer posts and new coming layers, I did not realise about the counter. And it’s good to see how Layar is growing so fast with all those incredible developers working hard every day!

What do you think is the coolest part of your layer?

I tried to join many of the Layar new features with the traditional geo-location, so apart from just knowing which places he can visit in the area, the user can also interact adding his comments and recommendations, voting for places or creating custom POIs of cool places to visit.

What are your plans for the future layer plans?

In particular with this layer, we hope to improve 3D sceneries, I mean, by now only the POI is a 3D object, but we would like to show how lived people in some places and maybe why not, imagine which could be the future of a certain location.

In general in this Layar world, I think 3D+AR opens for us, developers, a huge world of opportunities trying to let users experience things that until now have been considered science fiction.

Pablo, thanks for your answers and we wish you and Elipse good luck with your plans! Of course we want to thank all of you who developed and launched their layers before as well for publishing such cool content, making the Layar Reality Browser what it is now. Keep up the good work!


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