IBM and Linden Labs (creators of Second Life) are collaborating on a technology that will allow users to move their avatars between different virtual worlds. Clearly some sort of language spec will have to be agreed upon. What's not clear is how a character finely crafted and tuned to the social environment in one world will translate into another. For example, if you've got a lot invested as a warrior in WoW, how does your persona come across in the decidely unwarlike SL? Do people now start crafting more generic personae?
A virtual character, or avatar, for all the virtual worlds in which people play is the goal of a joint project between IBM and Linden Lab. The computer giant and the creator of Second Life are working on universal avatars that can travel between worlds. The project aims to open up virtual worlds by introducing open tools that work with any online environment. The companies hope to boost interest in virtual worlds as well as make them easier to navigate.
Link to press release
GAIN, the Graphic Arts Information Network, a unit of PIA/GATF, has established a training facility in the virtual world Second Life.
Within [Second Life], printers are able to hold meetings, train employees, interview job applicants, promote themselves to hundreds of thousands of potential customers, and even sell virtual products and services for real money in the Second Life marketplace, which generates over $1 Million per month. The possibilities are endless.
I'm not sure how realistic it is for a printer to try and sell stuff from a virtual world - but the training scheme sounds promising.
Read more about Second Life Grid, the platform that empowers the whole Second Life world system, here:
Last week, EK3 announced the WalMart Canada deal - 20 screens each in 350 stores.
Now, Information Week has a piece with interesting detail - apparently WalMart are planning to key the content on the screens to inventory levels.
Once tied into store inventory systems, the EK3 systems could automatically trigger messages promoting overstocked items, for example. They also can be programmed to detect changes in weather, and serve up promotions for beach supplies or tank tops, for example, if the weather suddenly turns warm.
Wal-Mart Canada plans to talk about its plans at the National Retail Federation Show in New York City in January, according to EK3...
Tim Horton's, a chain of 2,500 Canadian coffee shops that throws out any unsold fresh doughnuts after four hours, uses EK3 displays in its stores to promote doughnuts that are approaching their expiration time.
This is an interesting angle, undoubtedly heavily dependent on their RFID efforts – wonder how they’ll tie those together? After all that’s the best route to tracking actual inventory levels (as opposed to “Here’s what we think we have” levels) in-store.
Their RFID push seems to be morphing, with more emphasis on the front of the store – see here
Thanks to Rob Webber for the InfoWeek piece
Great piece by Gerry McGovern on meeting project goals vs. creating something flashy.
The most dangerous thing that web professionals can do is assume that what they really care about is what their customers really care about.
Users rarely look at display advertisements on websites.
Banner Blindness: Old and New Findings (Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox)
We knew that, but this drives it home.
So should advertisers stop using them? No, because even the most marginal impression, repeated enough times, achieves a positive impression:
"...even minimal exposures can create an actual positive evaluation (for example, the conclusion that the item is not a threat). That positive affect then influences future evaluations.".
More info here.
Talk about mashups - now your avatars can waste hours on social media sites, just like you do. What happens if your avatars have more friends than you do? Oh, wait... I think mine already do...
Top line: Email and search marketing eclipse online display ads as the most prominent elements in the interactive marketing mix, while social media — like blogs, podcasts, RSS, social networks, and online video — are strong up-and-comers. But mobile and game marketing are relatively ignored.
Among Forrester's recommendations: Start adopting now to keep up with your customers who already actively use emerging technologies. Advanced online ad targeting, RSS, and blogs provide the easiest entry points.
Ilya Vedrashko asks:
How do people come up with these numbers that in-game advertising is going to grow to $1B by 2011 if 70-80% of marketers are not even planning to go there in the next year? And 2011 is in three years.
Interactive Marketing Channels To Watch In 2007 by Brian Haven - Forrester Research
NOTE: Free registration at Forrester required to view full report.
In a mashup of cell phones and digital signage, TI has started showing its Pico Projector - a tiny digital projector built into a phone. Now if they could just build one into an iPhone...
This tech was first seen at last year's CES, but looks to be available next year.
Honda featured the band "Fall Out Boy" in a Google Gadget Ad, which contained several dozen videos of the band and could be added to nearly any website including iGoogle.
From the press release:
'Gadget ads can incorporate real-time data feeds, images, video and much more in a single creative unit and can be developed using Flash, HTML or a combination of both. Designed to act more like content than a typical ad, they run on the Google(TM) content network, competing alongside text, image and video ads for placement. They support both cost-per-click and cost-per-impression pricing models, and offer a variety of contextual, site, geographic and demographic targeting options to ensure the ads reach relevant users with precision and scale.'
"We're always looking for new ways to engage with our consumers," said John Vail, director, interactive marketing, Pepsi-Cola North America. "Google Gadget Ads allowed us to reach the right audience at the right time, with an interactive message that brought our light-hearted Sierra Mist campaign, ‘Squeeze More out of Summer,' to life."