According to the company website “Layar is the world’s leading platform for augmented reality and interactive print. We enable publishers and advertisers to enrich their print material with engaging digital experiences…” Although Layar accesses content in much the same way as a QR code, the content goes well beyond what is typically delivered through QR. The viewer uses the Layar app on their smartphone or tablet to scan a printed page. Once connected, their screen comes alive with photos, videos, sounds or even live streams.
Layar came to my attention when the Toronto Star published an entire edition with embedded Layar augmented reality content. News stories engaged with videos. Columnists became broadcasters. Ads launched mini commercials. I scanned several pieces. The results blew me away.
Hot air balloons shot with time lapse photography, a live feed from the soon to open aquarium, a cooking demonstration and even the ads fascinated me. I’ve captured a few of them to illustrate the process but they don’t do justice to the experience. Especially since I learned later that tapping on the video floating above the page takes you to a clean feed.
There’s a lot that marketers could do with Layar technology. Embedded in magazine ads, displays, packaging and sales materials it has the potential to increase engagement substantially. Here are some stats from the Layar website:
- According to Juniper Research, mobile augmented reality apps will generate nearly $300 million in revenues and reach $5.2 billion in 2017.
- Hidden Creative revealed a 135% increase in likelihood to buy when viewing an AR version of a product versus looking at a product image.
- AR has a positive impact on value perception – with a survey participants valuing the AR product 33% higher than the non AR product.
The challenge for Layar of course is the same one faced with QR codes. To access the content, people need to have a mobile device with the app loaded. According to Layar, the app has been downloaded over 33 million times. But will people use it?