Real Estate developer BPF Bouwinvest
Today I visited a sim called BPF Bouwinvest, a doublesim actually. It's the virtual foothold for the Dutch Real Estate corporation BPF Bouwinvest. The BPF holding deals in retirement funds and about 25% of these funds have been invested in real estate through their subsidiary Bouwinvest.
Bouwinvest on their presence in Second Life:
“De visie van BPF Bouwinvest is dat gebiedsontwikkeling steeds kennisintensiever wordt. Niet alleen wat economische - en vastgoed-ontwikkelingen betreft, maar ook wat betreft kennis van klanten en gebruikers. BPF Bouwinvest is daarom
continue bezig haar kennis hierover te vergroten en wil haar aanwezigheid in Second Life vooral gebruiken om meer inzicht op te bouwen in de wensen van haar doelgroepen. De huurder of eindgebruiker vormt het beginpunt van het product-ontwikkelingsproces door ze er al in de beginfase actief bij te betrekken, bijvoorbeeld door prototypes in Second Life te ontwikkelen en te verfijnen. Daarnaast is het doel om ervaring op te doen met nieuwe communicatievormen en feedback te krijgen over innovatieve bouw- en serviceconcepten.”
Basically what it comes down to is that BPF Bouwinvest thinks that area development is more and more becoming a knowledge intensive specialism and it aims to use their Second Life presence to enhance their knowledge about the wishes of their consumers. Second Life is seen as a platform to prototype in collaboration with the end user and to gain experience with new means of communication and receive feedback on their building and service concepts.
The main venue of the Bouwinvest 1 sim is the appartment building De Witte Keizer (White Emperor) which is an exact replica of one of their assets in Rotterdam. The replica has been developed by Interlocuteur M., a Second Life business consultant. If you're interested in renting one of the appartments, you can contact the real estate agent directly from Second Life.
Here's a short vid about the build:
For a Real Estate company and investment fund, this is quite a logical approach to utilising virtual worlds. Yet, I'm not impressed. The Witte Keizer is about the only building on the sim (aside from a few other thingies). I'd rather seen a fully built sim with real estate, a more urban approach.
Their second sim has a focus on user generated content and displays builds from the building contest they've organised in May 2007. The winning design (bottom right) won a free private sim for 6 months.