Communications vendor Nortel has announced that PC maker Lenovo has become the first company to take advantage of its web.alive virtual world technology in a new online virtual store.
Web.alive is a collaborative, browser-based virtual world application aimed at enterprises and according to the company, can provide an immersive, interactive and web integrated world with 3D voice and graphics.
Using the new platform, Lenovo’s customers can interact with each other on a virtual shop floor, ask questions of the sales staff and hear their responses via 3D spatial audio and graphics. Nortel believes it will create an experience similar to shopping on the high street.
Users can create personalised avatars to walk around the 3D virtual store and browse through products while interacting with other shoppers and sales staff from around the globe. Product demonstrations and tutorials delivered by virtual store staff will also be offered.
Nortel has also suggested that users can build social/virtual shopping communities/groups, enabling them to host online shopping get-togethers with their network of friends and family.
Customer service will be offered in the virtual store, meaning customers do not need to email or call for assistance. Users can ‘walk’ up to a customer service representative or ask another customer with a high feedback rating.
Web.alive is the lead venture from Nortel’s Incubation Program, founded in 2007 as a way to get workers to focus not simply on improving products already in a company’s portfolio, but on the creation of new products, technologies and business models that will have a marked impact on the market.
Arn Hyndman, web.alive chief architect, Nortel, said: “eCommerce today consists of a single user clicking through an online catalogue of product pictures, user reviews, and possibly a flash demonstration. Nortel’s web.alive application allows businesses to interact and collaborate virtually with their customers, partners and employees over the web, in real-time.”
Ajit Sivadasan, VP Global eCommerce, Lenovo, said: “Nortel’s web.alive technology could help provide a potential next step in improving the online shopping experience for Lenovo’s customers by allowing them to take a virtual tour of our online store, including browsing through Lenovo products, talk with our staff, look at video clips and meet other shoppers in an immersive 3D environment. The implications of this technology are significant if customers find it easier to make informed decisions on their purchases online.”
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