Layar has introduced a new revenue opportunity for Augmented Reality (AR) developers to target the 1.6M mobiles that have downloaded their augmented reality browser.
The company yesterday announced the the Layar Payment Platform, which is a content store integrated into the Layar Reality Browser. Set up to support multiple payment providers and multiple currencies, the platform is ready to serve different local markets.
Layar deals with legal, administrative and tax rules, enabling publishers to focus on their core activities: creating valuable alternate reality experiences. The first payment provider is PayPal, supporting payments to residents of United States, United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. More countries, currencies, payment methods and payment providers are due to be added over the next 12 months.
Album Covers Atlas, by Howard Ogden, from Augmentreality.co.uk. (He is a past speaker at SES.) The atlas enables users to find the exact location where iconic album cover photos were taken, such as the exact zebra crossing, the Beatles crossed on Abbey Road, or the Hotel California where the Eagles were not able to check out from.
Mixing reality with music seems like an interesting and intuitive leap for the general public to make from their MP3 players to AR browsing.
Eyetours: Explore Puerto Rico, are using Layar and dubbing it a "future of tours" technology*. While frankly unimpressive, it still demonstrates the potential reach of the store and niches that paid AR apps can target.
Personally, I would prefer to discover Puerto Rico in person using my five senses, rather than by waving my phone around in the sky and peering into a tiny screen.
However, it's different strokes for different folks and this just might be your thing. Once Layar is able to do push notifications based on location, this could be much more exciting. Then you don't have to look like a dork anymore.
Publishers can start selling their content without any upfront costs, and will receive 60% of the net proceeds. The costs for the platform, legal, administration, banking and others are covered by the remaining 40%. Any publisher ready to start exploring the medium and monetizing their content can go to http://www.layar.com/create.
If you are thinking of developing your own AR experiences for Layar, we at SEW strongly advocate that you innovate within narrowly defined markets, otherwise you are likely to have no true differentiation against recent advances from Google Streetview, which has integrated local business listings.
The bigger technology providers are better able to serve horizontal markets and are likely to crowd you out. Therefore, stick to targeting niche communities of engaged enthusiasts, such as the aforementioned music aficionados. The web is fantastic for supporting the fanatical fringes of society, so build Layars for them and bring the world they love alive in front of their eyes.
Android users in the U.S., Canada, U.K. & Australia can start buying AR Layars now after installing the latest Layar browser update. Just make sure you don't use it while crossing the road.
*This blog post has been updated to correct the reference to "future of tours" as a technology rather than an app.
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