First Life

MMOGs have always fascinated me, but I have never managed to get hooked on to Second Life. And I’m yet to read Neal Stephenson’s Snowcrash, though its been on my shelf for sometime now. But yes, I insist that I am interested nevertheless and still play a browser game set in the middle ages. 🙂

So, when Wipro became the first Indian brand (or is it VR1? ) to get into Second Life, to me, it was a kind of defining moment. But then, Wipro, to me is a very tech organisation and less connected to a normal consumer inspite of the bulbs and oils. So i wasnt surprised with a “Offshore Development Center (ODC) model campus with facilities like Client engagement center, Learning Center, 3 floor ODC setup with cubicles….Admin, Data center and Library.” presenceon the virtual world. But it was also mentioned that resumes could also be submitted at the virtual campus, wonder what stage that is in.

And a few days back, Amul also decided to get a life.. a second life. The popularity of Amul’s hoardings is legendary, which is why it was surprising when Amul’s presence was stated to be “…a simulation of its production and distribution facility.” But thankfully, there also seem to be plans for having ice cream parlours which, other than the products, would also feature communication.

But honestly, I’m still not convinced. Amul is a consumer brand- the taste of India. Also, its no secret that the ‘utterly butterly’ babe on the hoardings played an integral part in building the brand. Isn’t it logical to carry the two components into a virtual platform? Billboards on Second Life showcasing the unique Amul perspective on issues. Isnt it perfectly placed to be a sort of spokesperson for India on global issues? For example, when Bush makes his trademark absurdities (like how India’s prosperity led to a global food shortage) Amul can be the champion of India’s cause, with a trademark oneliner. While I understand that the Bush channel is soon to be closed, and there need not be an Indian perspective on everything, the perspective can be on anything – sports, movies, politics. All of this and more interest the Indian audience. By doing this, Amul becomes the ‘Voice of India’ (not the show, though that can also be done virtually..after all the world does go gaga over Eendian music 😀 ) and is able to showcase itself as a vibrant brand.

Ah well, for the second life to be good, there should be clarity on the first life. Most brands are yet to reach there. I, for one, would love to have Amul play a much larger role on Second Life, not strictly related to its product range, but more as a brand, with an utterly butterly babe avtar to boot. Whatcha think?

Meanwhile, this one’s a must read, especially for those of us who are hooked on to 2.0

until next time, life’s like that?

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2 Responses to “First Life”

  1. Hiya.

    Good call on VR1 🙂 I was one of the founding members, the company has since been renamed to Trimensions, and our scope of operations has expanded some since you wrote this.

    Having done most of the development on the Amul builds personally, I feel I would be in a good position to answer some of the questions you have posed above. As a developer in the VW scene since 2005, I feel I would be able to give you a somewhat unique perspective on this issue as well.

    Consider this: Amul were the first people to get in touch with us about SL builds. Which was quite a stunner in itself, as my limited experience of them did not give me any idea as to how forward-thinking they actually were.

    They had approached us initially to see if we could simulate their entire milk production and distribution system, for all their users and members to get a good idea of the entire process. Which is where we’d actually originally suggested 8-10 islands, owing to the sheer size and complexity of their request. This would also have involved the creation of groups where members would join in roleplay in the distribution process mechanism using live demonstrations. Forward-thinking? You’d better believe it! Even my tech team (geeks all) were favourably impressed.

    However, after some further analysis, we decided to create the Amul virtual parlours both as a proof-of-concept and to give the Amul team an idea of what a presence in SL would entail, on a smaller scale. It was Mr. Vyas, Chairman, who had originally suggested this after our first meeting. While the parlour doesn’t sell any real ice-cream, it does have a rotating display of every topical ad since 1989…the Amul Moppet totally makes her presence felt. There are small infomal meeting areas, as well as product displays and the actual parlours themselves. Live video feeds to amul.tv and streaming music still need to be added though…

    The Moppet avatar is being worked on 🙂 as is the larger presence, though it may not necessarily be in Second Life. We are working currently on more of a Web3D approach using pluginless web-browser integrated technologies. However, there is a fair bit more analysis to be done given the scale of their operation, so it’ll be some time before we can announce the construction of the actual large-scale Amul presence. Thanks for your suggestions, they have definitely been noted.

    In the meantime, demos of website-integrated virtual spaces, as well as links to the Amul virtual parlour and a couple of our other builds, are available on our website (http://trimensions.org), if you wish to explore further. Virtual branding and retailing still has a long way to go in this country, though I’d say Amul is pretty sorted out in this area…

  2. manuscrypts Says:

    Good coincidence.. I’m actually reading Snow Crash now 🙂 Great to see you comment 😀
    There’s abso no doubt about the pioneering thought process that Amul has, and that is quite evident not just from this activity, but also from the existence and popularity of the ‘Utterly Butterly girl’ even in this era of brand noise and clutter…
    The ‘role playing in distribution’ does seem interesting, so does the communication and the ‘moppet’ based activties…
    like i said, i was looking at Amul taking more advantage of the fact that its India’s first consumer brand on SL…
    Next stop is definitely your website.. 😀

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