Sunday, December 14, 2008

Canada Post delivers (part 1)

Just like airliners in Second Life (see Brussels Airlines and Air France - KLM) a mail company in Second Life could be seen as a 2008 Metaverse Oddity, for surely, you don't need a mailman in a virtual world like this. If you buy virtual goods, they don't need to be delivered as they appear in your inventory immediately and can be rezzed anywhere you like. You don't need a mailman either to deliver your postcards to the ones you love, as Second Life has a built-in service which delivers your snapshots through email. Yet Canada Post isn't the odd one out in Second Life.

Canada Post Corporation (French: Société canadienne des postes) is the Canadian postal operator operated as a crown corporation. The Post Office Department of the Government of Canada was founded in 1867 and was rebranded Canada Post in the late 1960s though it officially remained the Post Office Department until October 16, 1981 when the Canada Post Corporation Act came into force. The Act set a new direction for the postal service, creating more reliable service and ensuring the postal service's financial security and independence. [Wikipedia]

Or maybe it is, in a positive way. The Canada Post presence in Second Life is one of the second wave corporations to explore the metaverse, and like the German Volksbank, they have a different approach to things than most of the first wave explorers had. Like the Volksbank they don't have a dedicated sim which is destined to lay bare once the 'grand opening festivities' are over, they bring a variety of shops on their sim.

The Canadian Post venture is called "Maple Grove" but won't be found on the island called maplegrove but on one called Solar. The sim is a heavily built urban sim which makes it rather slow to render, especially if you use 'ultra detail' settings like me to take some nice pictures for you folks. Once immersed at the center of the sim you'll find yourself amidst a variety of builds, one of which, obviously is the Canadian Post postoffice.



Aside from the Canadian Post shop you'll find a variety of retailers which are Canadian Post's 2008 retail partners, i.e. they ship their real life products with Canadian Post. The notecard you can pick up in front of the postoffice gives a good overview on what you can find on the sim:

Welcome to Canada Post's Maple Grove!

Canada Post is proud to showcase its 2008 partner retailers. Explore Maple Grove and discover the largest collection of real-life retailers sharing one sim in Second Life.

In the city centre, you can visit Toys R Us, Sky Mall, The Shopping Channel and Canada Post. New this year, we are introducing the Bright Spark Lab. The Lab is a virtual marketing agency designed to assist Second Life entrepreneurs. You will find free tools to make you Second Life business more successful. You will also find valuable information for creating a direct mail campaign in real life!

On Maple Street, we have a busy schedule of live music events at the Telus Theater. Be sure to check out Brookstone and Red Canoe. Don't forget to stop in the Green Cafe which has information about keeping your mail "green". Blackberry Lane is home to Sears and the Canada Post garage where you can get your own free mail truck.

On Hudson Avenue, you will find the Everything Olive store next to the Tower.

Thank you for visiting Maple Grove and be sure to leave us some feedback at the Canada Post office in the city centre.

I won't go into a detailed description of these companies in this post, that will have to wait untill later, but here's a few piccies to get an idea of the entire build




Most shops present on the sim put on a showcase of a number of items you can buy in their webshops and have the items delivered to you by Canada Post at home in the real world. I think this type of presence will work better than a sim dedicated to one brand only, as it kind of works like the old fashioned way: You go downtown to visit one store, you walk past another one and walk in on impulse.

I can understand Canadian Post offering this selection of shops, as they are real world partners in shipping, but I wonder how many virtual shoppers this particular combination will draw. Perhaps it would have been better to mix the real life companies with popular inworld shops.

There is a downside to this type of presence though, as it is quite a heavy urban build, it is very slow to render if you use a higher graphics setting. I don't think you can blame Canadian Post for this, but rather an unavoidable feat if you're working in Second Life. If corporations slowly start to work out their act in the Metaverse and start doing sensible business, companies and customers alike would like (and rightly so) a better performance from MSP's (Metaverse Service Providers) like Second Life. If performance can't be boosted to have a decent shopping experience, then maybe Second Life isn't the place to be for shops.

SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Solar/120/134/81

Resources:

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Saturday, April 14, 2007

Real Life Cities 2: Dublin

If we're talking about virtual recreations of real life sites you have to visit Second Life's version of Dublin. Many people who have visited Dublin in meatspace will recognise the virtual version.

Dublin in SL also hosts one of the most popular meetingpoints in Second Life, the Blarney Stone pub. Aside from meeting the regulars and dancing. The sims media url usually streams real life Irish radio, but the Blarney Stone is a regular site for musicians to simulcast. Many young artists perform on the small stage behind the dance floor. Due to its popularity the pub was one of the first places used by Diageo to promote their virtual bar.


The heavy build urban sim and the popularity of the Blarney Stone have a downside; the sim is usually very slow to stream and at happy hour many teleports are rejected because of this.


Next to old fashioned Dublin a new sim was added recently, shaped like the traditional Irish four-leaf clover. Unfortunately it is not open to visitors yet.

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Rapid Architectural Prototyping in Second Life

was the title of an article on the 3PointD blog. The contents of the article were no news to me, but since they say nice things about our Guestwriter Lordfly, here's the full score:

"Second Life architect Lordfly Digeridoo has posted a great video of the process of designing a site plan in Second Life for a real-world site in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Because of “massive procrastination,” LF says, he had only a week to do it. His video compresses that week into less than 10 minutes of high-speed SL work, and it’s pretty compelling to watch. There’s even a great sense of suspense in wondering what the finished product will be like. An excellent look at the methods of a master builder."

Read the article and view the video at: http://www.3pointd.com/20070406/rapid-architectural-prototyping-in-second-life/

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NBC Sessions from Second Life

Just looking at the sattelite image of the NBC1 sim gives you a dark impression, and it's a telltale sign of a heavy build. NBC chose a full urban sim, probably similar to their downtown headquarters in real life.



Because of this enormous build the sim is slow in rendering.

As for activities, NBC is running a show from Second Life, called the Sessions. The setting is a wee bit like your usual American talkshow, like Jay Leno's "Tonight Show"
Contracters for this heavy build are the Electric Sheep Company and Aimee Weber.

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