Thanks to Brian Emery and Alison Wermager, FIT had it’s first ever art opening in a virtual world on monday May 12. It was a historic occasion and one day, FIT will look back at that day as a major milestone. Brian and Alison’s students (BFA seniors) were introduced to Second Life and the art that’s being created there on occasion throughout the semester. Then, for their final show, they took their work and uploaded it into Second Life, and attached the images to “prims” and sized them appropriately.
The work was all installed in a pre-fab gallery that Brian and I purchased a few weeks ago for L$1999 (about $8). We had fruit punch and champagne and fruit (all virtual of course) and lots of faculty and students came to see the students’ really amazing work. There were artist’s statements and videos too. Thanks especially to Hildy Gardner, Josie Vargas, Ron Amato, Deborah Klesenski. Bill Mooney, Reginetta Haboucha, Steven Zucker, and others who came to see. And thanks especially to all the students for all their hard work and creativity… (and Brian and Alison, my heroes).
Shenlei Winkler has a fascinating post today on where the value lies for companies in virtual worlds right now. Faculty often ask me what companies are in Second Life — and the implication is that if there are major apparel companies successfully doing business and making money in Second Life, then virtual worlds are worth looking at. When asked that question, I always feel a bit pained. I can’t answer that major apparel companies are making real money in Second Life. But I know, in my heart, that this is the direction things are moving in. But how to explain that to faculty? Shenlei has real mass-market experience — so she knows. She writes: Given the statistics out there, I think anyone can see that real mass market numbers just don’t equate with the consumer actually being in any one given virtual world at any given time, to receive a marketing message to ‘buy my stuff’.
In her post. Shenlei states what seems obvious, but isn’t for some reason — that we’re just not there quite yet. The mass market consumers are just not in virtual worlds yet in the numbers and concentration that would make it truly profitable. What we need now, according to Shenlei, are processes that make it easier for businesses to do business more efficiently in the virtual world. Shenlei’s Black Dress Technology seems poised to do just that.
The mass consumer just isn’t there yet. She will not be there until enterprise steps up and figures out how to use virtual worlds specifically to enable themselves to do business more efficiently and effectively, and then pays to harden the virtual world in a way that makes them ready for business, which will have the collateral effect of making the user experience consistently easy. Then and only then will we see mass market adoption of virtual worlds. Until then, enterprise enablement is the real value proposition for virtual worlds. Virtual worlds enabling enterprise to conduct business more efficiently.
This makes a lot of sense to me. Read about the Black Dress Technology Subsidiary (partner — IBM) here.
I want to thank Shenlei again for taking the time to come to TechDay and talk to us about the Gateway in Second Life for Fashion Industry folks. Read more about Shenlei’s presentation and how to to gain access to this invitation only orientation gateway for virtual worlds for fashion educators and professionals at Elaine Polvinen’s blog — FashionTech.wordpress.com.
The panel discussion moderated by Susan Reda, Executive Editor of Stores magazine was incredibly thought provoking. The panelists were Kathy Savitt, Chief Marketing Officer, American Eagle Outfitters and David Polinchock, Founder and Chief Experience Officer, Brand Experience Lab.
I reached out to Susan Reda after reading her cover article for the February issue of Stores Magazine titled “Do You Tube?” Managing the Next Media Channel” that explored YouTube and other forms of social media (Facebook and MySpace) as the next generation of marketing tools for building brand awarenenss and generating sales growth. Susan had interviewed both Kathy and David for the article.
Kathy and David talked about the problems that arise when companies simply “dabble” in emerging technology. You can’t just “dabble.” You have to be committed – otherwise the exciting new media is more likely to weaken your brand rather than strengthening it.
David provided and provides on a daily basis so many examples (good and bad) of emerging technology on his blog. I really urge everyone to check it out. He travels the world and the web and picks up examples everywhere! The blog is called Experience Manifesto.
That really makes me think about the beginning of e-commerce. Everyone really thought it would be the demise of the brick and mortar store. In the beginning companies did not understand how to use the internet to their best advantage. Many companies simply threw product on the web without any thought or more importantly without an understanding of the importance of merchandising the site in the same way they merchandised their store. Of course I will also never forget the holiday season when ToysRUs turned off so many of their customers by not being able to fulfill the promise to deliver gifts by Christmas.
It’s interesting that AE is going to launch an on-line business for kids product (77kids by american eagle). There will be no traditional overhead and limited inventory exposure. Makes incredibly good sense. As Kathy said – to be able to execute a national launch in the traditional retail store model they would have to open physical stores (and lots of them) across the country. This way, they are in essence opening one store that will provide national exposure. It’s not wonder that the web now generates more sales than any single location for so many specialty retailers. What better way to test product? Test it on the web and see who buys it (or not).
All of this pertains to how companies will figure out how to use YouTube and Facebook to their best advantage as well as how they will learn to integrate Second Life into their business model. It will take time but those who figure it out and get it right will be the big winners.
Part 2 (scroll down for the first post about TechDay)
I am gathering the powerpoints and other materials from the presentations and roundtables. Elaine Polvinen has posted a summary of her presentation here — with a powerful call to educators:
If fashion education does not initiate the type of quick response solution (that students are taught with regards to the real world) to the unprecedented transformational technology shift that is taking place over to 3D, they run the serious risk of becoming redundant and obsolete and could actually be the driving force for industry to develop private training institutes.
Here is Janine’s powerpoint:
And here is a site with the links Raymond Yee used in his talk.
Will the other presenters/roundtable leaders please use the “comments” feature to post a quick summary of the discussions at your tables or a summary of your presentation — with relevant links? Powerpoints can be sent to me.
In the stress of yesterday afternoon, I neglected to publicly thank all the people who made the day possible –
HUGE thanks to TDT members Meredith Sharp, James Pearce, and Patty McGillan especially — for far too much to list here. They were simply amazing.
Thanks also to Bernie Kahn, Jeffrey Riman and Naomi Gross. The panel Naomi organized on advertising and marketing in the era of Web 2.0 was fabulous. And of course, thanks to Vinnie Sassone for his support.
And thanks also to the TechDay committee Nancy Diehl, Mark Higden, Eileen Karp, Carmita Sanchez-Fong, Praveen Chaudhry, and Karen Pearson for all their help before and during the event.
And the support of FIT colleagues like Renee Cooper, Sass Brown, Calvin Williamson, Brian Emery, Rena Sussman, Hildy Gardner, Josie Vargas, Carol Poll, Andrew Weinstein, Jeff Buchman, Janet Brav, Leslie Blum, NJ Wolfe, Anna Blume, David Drogin and Steven Zucker meant a lot too.
Thy Nguyen did an AMAZING job on our graphics and Mohammed, our IT intern made beautiful event maps. Mary Oleniczak in the facilities office worked hard on the event and was very patient.
And my SUNY colleagues too — Alex Pickett and Larry Dugan (who ran a Round Table on teaching in Second Life that was packed). Wow!!!
Then there’s Sumit Bagchi and Vince Salamone (and Mike and Indra) who made it all happen on the technical end.
And last but not least our vendors, Xythos (a sponsor), Optitex (a sponsor), Apple, Tukatech, Microsoft, Dimension Data and Cisco, Browzwear (a sponsor), Vectorworks, Adobe, Yunique, CaddEdge, Gerber (a sponsor), Cozimo and Dell (great raffle items!).
Part 2 will focus on the Roundtable Discussions!
Sadly, Louise Guay of My Virtual Model was not able to join us, but sent a link to this video — witha special message to the students at FIT!
This video will provide you with a tour of the fashion project areas on the Buffalo State island in second Life. It starts out in front of the Research building and shows you how to buy flexi skirts for $0L and use the video tutorials. Then you fly to the students work pier and can buy for $0L the franimation overrider. There is an example of the student fashion vendor exhibit there as well as a new vendor for you to buy for $0L. A student example of a Brand Logo board is also there. Then we fly to Poseball area and pose our avatar to position it for a Snapshot to disk. Next, we fly up to the Fashion Runway and wear the frannamation overider and practice walk up and down the runway. Now it\’s time to teleport over to the student fashion collection vendor exhibits from last springs Intro to Sl project. Then we walk over the to Sears Industry exhibit and dress our avatar in one of the garments. Now we visit three of the student fashion boutiques and wear some of the SL items and check out the same items in RL on the students ZAZZLE pages. We end our tour by showing you how to operate the fashion project slide show in the big black box over the exhibit.
I found this interesting post at http://www.news.com/8301-10784_3-9923977-7.html?part=rss&subj=news&tag=2547-1_3-0-5
If Apple is looking seriously at Second life as a platform to market and sell product I would bet that enhanced Mac software, and e-commerce opportunities will be right alongside that initiative. With iTunes, iPods, Apple TV and more Second Life may become a living room based activity as friends and family log on and share the experience. It may well be that the home plasma screen will represent the base for sharing the Second Life experience with the help (of course) of Apple TV, airport and the platform independent virtual world. This will make the experience shared in a way that is currently less accessible.
I was going to log on and write something about Facebook, and I found this thing that I wrote last year while preparing for a conference in Canada. The title is Observations and Suggestions for College-Level Digital Arts Courses. I have discussed some of the ideas such as co-teaching, peer-to-peer learning, and hyper-disciplinary creative course in our retreat, but I figure some of you might be interested in reading the paper so I uploaded the PDF file for you to download at: http://www.badongo.com/file/8861173
Any comments or feedback will be much appreciated, thank you very much!