Blippar’s takeover of Layarhas caused shockwaves in the augmented reality market, and rightly so – it is the most important acquisition yet within this sector, reports Output Magazine.
Sure, there have been others, but they tend to come from outsiders in related fields, such as HP’s purchase of Aurasma developers Automomy. This deal, however, marks the first attempt from businesess within the AR space to consolidate disparate platforms into a single, ubiquitous brand that will be meaningful to end users.
This is critical, as the lack of a single identifiable platform has been the major stumbling block for AR, with a number of rival developers offering similar platforms that are not cross compatible. Mergers such as this one are the inevitable result of a fragmented technology arena.
The two companies make for a complementary fit, operating as they do at opposite ends of the AR space. Blippar has set out its stall to attract larger brands as partners and boasts a client roster that includes Nike, Disney, Unilever and Coca-Cola, while Layar has made its mark in the self-publishing, white-label user base.
This merger will also create a relative behemoth as far as AR is concerned: a single organisation that operates in 175 countries with a customer base estimated at over 50 million. Combined, the publishers and brands that work closely with either Blippar or Layar today stands at 5,000, with a further 100,000 users of their respective self-publishing platforms Blippbuilder and Layar Creator.
The Blippar-Layar deal will see Layar’s staff and client bases integrated with Blippar’s own, although both companies will continue to operate as separate entities in the short-term whilst long-term business models are considered. This enlarged group will be spread over four countries, with Layar’s Dutch and Canadian facilities added to Blippar’s office network in the UK and the USA, a move which should enable staff retention but will make knowledge sharing a more difficult process, at least in the short term.