Friday, October 10, 2008

IBM gets into virtual Fashion

After blogging the Forbidden City today and Boulanger3D two days ago I've yet another post about IBM in Virtual Worlds. Rest assured, I am not becoming an IBM-er, I rather find it troublesome that IBM is the only bigshot from the traditional tech companies that is actually doing stuff in the Metaverse these days. Fortunately, it's not a guaranteed success with them for now. I was disappointed in Boulanger3D, but on the other hand found the Forbidden City actually quite exciting to explore.

This time is the news that's been inbox since yesterday when my obsession to get to hear Terry Pratchett in Second Life prevented me from keeping on top of the news. The news is actually not a release yet, but just a press statement that IBM signed a service agreement with the Fashion Research Institute.

Fashion Research Institute, headquartered in New York, NY, conducts research into technology-based initiatives and develops emerging technologies to overhaul traditional fashion practices and methodologies. FRI's mission is to reduce the carbon footprint and change the environmental impact of the industry in ways that are sustainable, replicable, respectful of the practitioners, and meaningful for all stakeholders. FRI maintains Shengri-La, a five-island complex in Second Life, and an OpenSim complex.

The most interesting point in the press release to me is that we have now officially left the small cash development scenery of Second Life (ranging from 50K to 500K for a sim, okay small cash which doesn't fit into my wallet either), but are actually moving on to million dollar assignments.

NEW YORK, NY, Oct 09, 2008 (MARKET WIRE via COMTEX) --

IBM today announced it has signed a multi-million IBM Global Business Services agreement with the Fashion Research Institute (FRI) to implement a first-of-a-kind Virtual World Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Enterprise System.

...

"We're proud to pioneer the first big business solution that leverages the OpenSim virtual world platform to address economies of scale," said Shenlei Winkler, FRI. "The Fashion Research Institute understands how to design real world consumer goods using a virtual world environment, and IBM understands the scaling challenges of global enterprise. Taking on both simultaneously is a winning move."

This virtual world enterprise solution, expressly created as a product design environment, will offer a fundamentally new work flow addressing critical issues facing the design industry, such as ensuring manufacturability of designs and decreasing substantial sample costs by two-thirds. Users of this solution will ultimately be able to enter a virtual world, receive training on the systems, and take a design from concept to prototype -- with every step short of actual manufacturing being done virtually.

Read full press release here.

Another interesting point to note is that the FRI also has a presence in Second Life and Opensim. They've worked with IBM to explore Virtual Worlds. This experiment led to the believe it was worthwile pursuing a full scale Virtual World. Contrary to the believe that Second Life is a total business failure and stories about companies fleeing Second Life, this is once again an example of where Second Life has been the catalyst. The platform in which companies could (relatively low budget) experiment with 3D-ness and prepare a full launch in a socalled extraverse (also named themed world or branded world).

Visit the Fashion Research Institute in Second Life at the Shengri La island:

SLURL: http://slurl.com/­secondlife/­Shengri%20La%20Peace­/161/182/91

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Monday, October 06, 2008

I'm loving it: McWorld

Early august the news (which I missed) aired that fastfood supplier McDonald's is revamping their HappyMeal.com website into a Virtual World. On August 4 Virtual Worlds News wrote:
"McDonald's is apparently in the process of soft-launching a virtual world to take over HappyMeal.com. It's not clear how old the world is, but the contest is still open for kids to pick the virtual world's name--and, according to the intro video, new games, lands, events, etc., to build the world from the ground up based on videos.. So I'm guessing the transition is pretty new, possibly even just from last week. There is already an eye toward real-world integration: entering a code from actual Happy Meal boxes and bags as well as McDonald's milk cartons and Apple Dipper bags will let users unlock exclusive items in the Flash-based virtual world."

Today, a two months later this particular contest has closed and now it's official: Surprisingly enough the winning name is: McWorld. McWorld itself is definately a kids world, aimed at youngsters and provides a whole range of simple games (much more simple than even those of Club Pinguin). I'm clearly over age in this environment, so I won't say I'm loving it. Anyone has kids to testdrive this world?


Read more on McWorld:

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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Virtual CosmoGirls goes There.com

I just received a comment on The Office stars Second Life by an author of the Dutch "up the vortex" blog. I followed the link and took a peek. One of the most recent articles features another upcoming Girl-World: CosmoGirl. The American teenmagazine, which is also available in the Netherlands is partnering with Makena Technologies to build their virtual hotspot on There.com. Teen worlds seem to be the fastest growing in the industry.

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Friday, October 26, 2007

Go Supermodel

Last week I already mentioned the fashion vw goSupermodel in the article virtual Girlpower. Today I ran across a YouTube promo. Here it is.

All said and done, now you don't need to check out yourself ;)

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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Does Robbie Rock?

There's a platform out there that has some attraction to corporations, but hardly known in the regular Virtual World Business, named Why Robbie Rocks.





Now it's pretty hard to define what exactly is a virtual world (see this discussion at Metaversed), but I think Why Robbie Rocks should be considered one, except... it doesn't really show. There's quite a bit of preformatted avatar pimping, but that's about it.



A feature on the website is the Elle Girl shop / site which uses WRR. As for serious business, also Dutch banker Rabobank (one of the few triple A rated banks in Europe) runs WRR and the latest is the Dutch One Campaign version.




The fun parts though is that there's web 2.0 integration. You can put your avatar on the (Google) map, push it to MSN spaces, MSN Messenger or embed it on your website or as a gadget on the ruling Dutch social network site hyves.

I haven't been able to see the full potential of Why Robbie Rocks, so tell us, why should we sign up?

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Monday, October 22, 2007

virtual Girlpower



One of the most targeted audiences for Virtual World and general online advertising has become the teen and tween girlscene. In the wake of tv-programmes like (America's) Next Topmodel and various makeover series this group has an appetite for fashion and beauty.





doll 2.0


By the end of october Red Chocolate will come with doll 2.0 which will have to put this Dutch startup ahead of compeition. Doll 2.0 has been developed with the watAgame software. This Danish enterprise is also responsible for girlcommunity goSupermodel, and recently received an additional 3,000,000 euro in funding. goSupermodel now has about 1,5 million unique visitors worldwide.




Girlz'own City


Another Dutch girlpower developer is CiC Mercurius which teamed up with Mindscape. Last june saw the beta release of Girlz'own City. Mindscape backs up the technical aspects and CiC Mercurius powers the look & feel from a marketing point of view.



Girl Classics


Other specialised Girly sites are Cartoon Doll Emporium, Stardoll, Girlsense and Barbiegirls.
Another Dutch site dealing with fashion and dressing up is Why Robbie Rocks which brings a beauty shop and an ELLE-girl special mashup.

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