At Dgtal Cyberkoms, we came across this down-side of Layar, a popular Augmented Reality medium which supposedly bridges the gap between print & digital worlds. We would like to highlight the same to brands and other agencies who use this medium.
We came across a full page, Layar integrated advertisement of a popular automobile in a leading newspaper. Though we had worked on Layar in the past, this time around we decided to dig deeper into it, and check if one can direct this advt. to another destination. We did it and realized that there was indeed a major loophole here. Which means if anyone had to really misuse it they could have linked it to anything that they wanted- be it porn, anti-social activities, or even competition. So, when users would scan that advt. which a brand has spent big monies on, using their Layar app, what they would be seeing is not what that brand intended to show them. This loophole may not have come out in open until now (though it might be mentioned in Layar’s TnC) and it is a BIG RISK for brands, with the way it can be misused.
We had been very obsessed with Layar technology, ever since they were launched almost half a decade back. At Cyberkoms we had been propagating Layar to few of our clients. But after this incident we might want to take a step back and wait until Layar rectifies this issue. We were keen on finding a solution (rather than only reporting the problem) and what we could think of as a possible solution was to use an image recognition functionality within Layar which will authenticate & ensure there are no duplicate images. Technologically, this might be slightly challenging but not impossible. Layar, as a concept, definitely has the potential to boost brands in creating a wow factor & building interactivity on a static medium like print. Lets hope Layar understands the criticality of this issue & finds the right solution to gain trust of brands & agencies.