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Introducing Layar’s First U.S. Employee!

Chris Cameron November 29, 2010

A few weeks ago, we announced our second major round of funding, which was lead by our newest investor Intel Capital. We also took the opportunity to mention our gradual expansion to the United States, highlighting a few job openings we had opened Stateside.

Today we are proud to introduce our very first U.S.-based Layar employee: AR Strategist Gene Becker. You may actually remember that name, as we recently highlighted a project Gene is working on with historical photographs in Layar.

Previously, Gene worked in research and product development for over 20 years, including leading projects through Hewlett-Packard’s technology research unit HP Labs. He has also been a co-organizer of ARDevCamp for the last two years, as well as managing director of Lightning Laboratories.

So what will Gene be doing for Layar? As AR Strategist, Gene will be responsible for fostering the expansion of the Layar ecosystem by working with creative and digital agencies, brands, developers, data suppliers and media companies. As we begin to grow our U.S. presence we want to encourage these groups to produce high-value, cutting edge mobile AR experiences on the Layar platform, and Gene will be a key part of achieving that goal.

To learn more about Gene and his new role with Layar, check out his blog post on the news. You can also follow Gene on Twitter or connect with him on LinkedIn as well!


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Layar Creation Tools: buildAR

Chris Cameron November 26, 2010

The next subject to be placed under our Layar Creation Tools microscope is buildAR, a web-app built by Australia’s MOB Labs. Much like the previously reviewed Skaloop, buildAR is a simple web-based interface for adding POIs to a map which can be viewed using Layar.

There are two different account types: personal and business. At the moment, both account types have identical functionality, but buildAR will eventually help business account holders launch their very own layer. Using either account allows you to add POIs to a publicly viewable layer. You can specify certain POIs to be private, making them viewable only to you when you login to buildAR from within Layar.

To start adding POIs, simply create either a personal or business account, which are both free to try. After logging in with your account, navigate to a location on the map, or search for a location to go there instantly. To add a POI, just click on the map where you want it to be placed. You can then add a name, a description and some links to associate with the POI. Then select whether to make the POI public or private, and you’re done!

To view POIs in Augmented Reality, simply boot up Layar on your iPhone or Android device and search for the buildAR layer. When the layer loads, there will be automatically placed POIs near you that will allow you to log in to your buildAR account. After you log in, any private POIs will become visible. To get the best view, we recommend switching to “Birdseye” mode to see over nearby POIs.

The features of buildAR are still very basic and do not contain all of the possible functionality of the Layar platform. Adding 3D objects, custom icons or advanced actions are not yet supported. Additionally, it would be nice to have the option to hide public POIs when viewing private POIs within Layar, as the screen can become cluttered, making it hard to find your personal spots.

Despite all this, the basic function of adding POIs is very easy and fast and requires very little technical skill to complete. If you want to quickly and easily view your very own POIs, perhaps buildAR is the right Layar Creation Tool for you!

Note: Since this blog was posted, buidAR has since updated its platform significantly, including support for animation, 3D objects and more.


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Paid Layers Go Global!

Chris Cameron November 24, 2010

Back in April when we launched paid layers and the world’s first Augmented Reality content store, we took baby steps. At launch, users in just four countries could purchase content on Layar, and since then we’ve slowly added a handful of other countries.

Today we are proud to announce that we’ve increased the availability of paid layers more than twentyfold. Layar users can now purchase paid layers via PayPal in 179 countries worldwide, leaving roughly a dozen countries from complete global availability. Paid Layar content can now be marketed to users in nearly every nation in the world.

While the global expansion of the Layar Payment Platform will provide more users with access to premium content on Layar, it also is a terrific opportunity for publishers and developers to sell their Layar content to a broader audience.

“An important and long-awaited update regarding our Payment Platform has been implemented this week giving developers and publishers a truly global opportunity to market paid layers,” says Gerben Klop, Product Manager of the Payment Platform at Layar. “This global coverage provides a unique opportunity to create and offer both local and international paid Augmented Reality experiences. I am sincerely looking forward to working with the new projects including new Paid Layers.”

At Layar we are dedicated to providing the tools necessary to help developers, publishers and brands create impactful mobile Augmented Reality experiences. With this global expansion of the Payment Platform, we are now able to bring paid layers to more users worldwide, broadening the audience for content creators to market their premium layers.

Check out this video which shows you just how easy it is to purchase paid content on Layar.


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Meet Layar: Sanne Walvisch

Chris Cameron November 23, 2010

It’s that time again to get up-close-and-personal with one of Layar’s fabulous employees. This week, we meet interim Web Channel Manager Sanne Walvisch. As her title suggests, Sanne knows her way around the Layar blog, so she’s authored her own profile for this week. So without further ado, take it away Sanne!

Hi! I’m Sanne (aka @SanneW, Sanne Eva Walvisch, ©1978 Amsterdam, the Netherlands). As interim web channel manager I am responsable for all the online marketing activities.

My parents are happily divorced and remarried. That’s why I have 2 full older brothers and 2 half younger ones. The oldest one is 45 while the youngest one just became 18, I’m exactly in the middle! Entrepreneurship and creativity runs through the veins of my family. My mum’s a jewelry designer, my father an architect and 3 of my brothers run their own creative businesses.  I grew up in Heemstede - a small and quiet town 20 km from Amsterdam.

The one thing most funny about my career is that I never finished any study for what I’m currently doing. I used to study social works, but dropped out after 2,5 years. After that I studied fashion design. During my last year I started to work as a web editor at a big Dutch weekly womens magazine. I thought it would be a good way to get myself into working at the fashion department. Big mistake! I loved working on the website and really found my passion: getting people to know new technologies. That is something I really love doing. That was already 8 years ago. After managing several online editorial offices as an online (brand) manager, I started my own business and do that on ad interim base recently. Currently I’m busy at Layar.

Working at Layar is like driving a car in 1932. There’s such an innovative, emerging, revolutionary, buzzing atmosphere at the Layar office! We don’t know for sure where Augmented Reality is going to end up and what we see is just the beginning. The opportunities are endless. That’s an amazing thing to work with.

Layar as an organization is growing rapidly. Processes are being defined and departments are being formed. The flexibility of the organization and the international group of people in the team creates a very pleasant atmosphere to work in.

As Sanne’s title also suggests, she is the temporary interim Web Channel Manager and thus we are looking to fill this position full-time. If it sounds like you might be interested, be sure to check out our vacancies and apply!


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Layar Creation Tools: Hoppala Augmentation

Chris Cameron November 19, 2010

Continuing our series on Layar Creation Tools, we turn to Hoppala Augmentation, a tool that allows non-techies to edit and publish their very own layers on the Layar Reality Browser.

Hoppala is a very powerful “CMS” for creating content on Layar. Instead of playing around within pre-created layers, Hoppala actually helps you through the process of creating a developer account with Layar to manager your own layers. Our very own Ivo van Barneveld took a closer look at Hoppala, and here’s what he had to say…

Hands-On with Hoppala

It’s easy to get started with Hoppala Augmentation. On the Hoppala website there is a video that explains how to create a layer in 4 steps, it’s really helpful and shows clearly how to get started. Unfortunately, there is no other information (documentation, tutorials, etc) available other than this video.

Registration is simple. Once you have logged in, you can easily add your own layers so you can publish your own content in your own layer.

Editing a layer is also simple. By clicking a layer, you open up a page that allows you to drop POIs (or “augments” in Hoppala’s terminology) on a map. You can also enter an address to navigate to a specific location. A disadvantage is that you need to add every POI manually in this way; there is no option to upload a database of POIs.

Once you have placed your POI, you can edit it by clicking on it. A box with 5 tabs appears where you can set the details for the POI. All the attributes that Layar supports seem to be available through Hoppala: 2D or 3D layers, customized actions, customized icons for POIs etc. For the inexperienced user seeing these attrributes might be overwhelming.

It’s good to know that you only have to set a few (as shown in the video) for the POI to show up in your layer. The more advanced user will like the possibility to tweak his/her POIs. There is no further explanation about the attributes, so Hoppala does presume some prior knowledge of Layar. A suggestion for improvement would be to distinguish required and optional fields.

Publishing the POIs is straightforward. Once you have published your layer through Layar’s publishing environment, every POI that you have added through Hoppala will immediately show up in the layer.

To conclude, Hoppala is a very user-friendly tool to create a layer, with a good video tutorial on how to get started. Many options are available for the more advanced user, and the less advanced user will still be able to publish his/her POIs.


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