Layar Set to Revitalize Publishing Industry by Bringing Augmented Reality to Print [Interview]
A civil engineering graduate, Claire Boonsta is one of the cofounders behind the augmented reality platform Layar. The company has now recently unveiled their latest product, Layar Creator, a self-service web application that brings AR technology to print. Claire graced me with an interview where she explained to me Layar’s endeavor to bring digital interaction to print.
If you’re not familiar with Layar yet, check out the video below.
Although she specialized in building bridges during her studies, Claire had always kept an eye on mobile. However it was when she joined the Mobile Monday Amsterdam team that her passion materialized. There she met her future cofounders and started Layar. “All three of us had been talking about AR & mobile for a while, for us it felt like a natural next step.”
Early in 2009 when the first smartphones with digital compasses and GPS capabilities were introduced, the team decided to bring augmented reality to the masses. The first version of Layar was built in just 6 weeks and included 5 layers. But after the promo video went viral, requests from companies and developers poured in, so the team decided to open it up to the public. The result: Layar accumulated 4300 layers in the span of 3 years.
In the last 24 hours however, this number shot up by 500. Those layers, or more accurately campaigns as Claire calls them, are the result of Layar’s latest feature: Layar Creator.
Welcome To Interactive Print
“There was a lot AR technology in the print industry, but not for mass usage. We decided to democratize the space.”
Layar Creator is a self-service web application for activating print pages with digital content. Using the Layar app, readers can view virtual buttons on top of the page, which results in deeper engagement and direct commercial opportunities as the printed page becomes a point-of-sale.
“Until a display screen is handed to you instead of a flyer, print is not dead,” explains Claire. “It’s easier on the eyes and it will always be in your face, you can’t switch off print.” And while print is here to stay, “we are also used to like, share, comment and shop online” she continued.
Layar Creator gives publishers the ability to mesh those two worlds by enabling publishers to add a digital layer: video, images, social sharing features, links, purchase buttons and more to print material. “Over the past year we’ve been making a shift in focus towards indoor, where people have more time to play around with content, and we also saw that print would be a good place to implement AR.”
And it seems that this was the right choice. It took Layar 8 months to get 500 layers. Layar Creator was able to achieve that number within 24 hours.
Here's a brief video on how you can add digital content to any print material.