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an Expanding Reality

  • Towards the métaverse: the computer of tomorrow is (almost) already there!

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    The integration of the real and the virtual world is a major trend that has still many surprises in store for us.

    This amazing video produced by the Proâme prospective agency that Maryline Passini informed me about is not to be missed.

    The part that is recommended above all starts from the 5th minute, where the computer is freed of its traditional supports (screens, keyboard and mouse) and starts to interact with the real world:


  • Presentation of the results of the co-design initiative for CTIFL and UNFD

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    In these times of economic uncertainty, disruptive innovation is increasingly essential for creating a competitive edge. At Repères we are convinced that innovation must be conducted in collaboration with the consumers to design in a meaningful and differentiating manner. Our prospective and interactive co-design protocol calls on the imagination of hyper creative consumers (recruited in the virtual world of Second Life) to help brands find new sources of inspiration.

    So far we haven’t yet had the opportunity to present actual results from co-design initiatives since these are highly confidential. Today, thanks to CTIFL (Centre Technique Interprofessionnel des Fruits et Légumes – Inter-professional Technical Centre for Fruit and Vegetables) and UNFD (Union nationale des syndicats de détaillants en fruits, légumes et primeurs – National Union of Fruit and Vegetable Retailers) we have a unique opportunity to present the details of the process and its results.

    I will let Emilie Labidoire, the head of the Repères Communities Department continue:

    Our last project conducted for CTIFL and UNFD made it possible for us to work on the design and the offering at the same time, with a 3D model of 2 proposals from among 10.

    Point of departure of the project

    To adapt to new modes of consumption UNFD intends to make points of sale of fresh fruit and vegetables denser in areas of intense urban traffic through the creation of mobile outdoor kiosks and/or the setting up of dedicated gondolas with traditional retailers.
    This is because, in a climate of a decline in the consumption of fresh fruit and vegetables, UNFD must take up a number of challenges:
    - How to promote the purchase of fresh fruit and vegetables?
    - How to reduce preparation constraints?
    - How to enhance the image of fruit and vegetables (healthy, simple, quick, etc.)?
    - How to prevent consumption among the young from declining further?

    The Protocol


    The strong points

    .Greatly increases the potential of “imaginative” communities from the virtual world of Second Life® by injecting prospective visions in partnership with the agency Proâme
    . Engages consumers in brainstorming on a collaborative, exploratory blog for two weeks. Presents the benefits of asynchronous communication and of a widened time frame allowing ideas to mature.

    The Designs

    As a result of the brainstorming session and the joint analyses of Proâme-Repères, 10 detailed proposals for kiosks and innovative fruit and vegetable corners were presented to UNFD and CTIFL, a working tool for a highly fragmented sector (different sizes and means according to geographic situation).

    The two proposals selected were then modelled on Second Life® to bring to life these concepts and propose a 3-D illustration. Instead of static boards, the client and vegetable retailer teams are able to discover a space and to fully experience it to test the ergonomics, the positioning and interactions between the retailer and the client.

    We presented this work at the Esomar Consumer Insights 2009 conference in Dubai and we are looking forward to seeing the kiosk open, probably in the autumn 2009!

    You may also read the interview with Catherine Roty from CTFIL, whom we warmly thank, on the site dedicated to the activity of Second Life.

  • Brand and Virtual World Experiences: The results of a Repères Second Life study

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    Beyond implementing the Co-design process, the purpose of Repères in Second Life is of course to explore these new digital words to gain more knowledge of them and to advise our clients in their marketing strategies in these virtual worlds.

    We also want to play an active role in the Second Life community and to participate in its development, namely by disseminating the results of studies we conduct on our own initiative, or by making research organisations benefit at cost price from field studies conducted by our panel of avatars.

    It is within such a framework that we are publishing the results of a qualitative study we conducted last year on the perception by the residents of Second Life of the first launches of brands in SL.

    The investigation, under the form of an "in world” focus group (via avatars in SL) and in Real Life, concerned the automobile sector which already presented a certain diversity in marketing terms. The aim of the study is to determine the key factors of success for a successful launch in a virtual world.

    You may download all of the findings here, which you may also view in a slide presentation below (given the density of the text, I recommend the option “view on slideshare / Full”)

    For further details, please contact Emilie Labidoire, project manager at Repères Communities.

  • The Metaverse : Towards the Integration of the Digital world in Our reality

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    The development of virtual worlds about which we regularly communicate is a part of the more global process of the massive integration of digital technology in our reality.

    This new reality we are moving towards, where the border between the virtual and reality will become less and less discernable, is sometimes referred to as the metaverse.

    In the spring of 2007, a group of experts, researchers and players in the field of virtual worlds published a remarkable study on this subject : the metaverse roadmap overview. The authors identify four leading trends which, through their convergence, lead us to the metaverse:
    . Virtual Worlds
    . the mirror worlds, the digital reproduction of reality (Cf. Google Earth)
    . enhanced reality : the integration of the digital in the real world, for example via enhanced reality glasses (you walk in an Antique site and thanks to these glasses you have a completed view of the buildings instead of the ruins)
    . lifelogging, which consists of recording all the events of one’s life on a digital medium.

    You will find here the support materials from a talk I gave on this subject at the summer university of a consulting company. In addition to the 4 trends of the Metaverse Roadmap, you will find some elements concerning another change I believe is fundamental: the notion of the enhanced body (exoskeletons, cyborgs and brain-computer links) where, here again, the visions of science-fiction writers are confirmed.

    To finish with this theme of the metaverse and immersion, here is a video in which a system for measuring brain waves makes it possible for a person to move his avatar in Second Life mentally:

    There are many surprises in store for us.

  • Results of the Jardin des Halles Competition

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    Joshua Culdesac and Piper Pitney are the winners of the competition "Call for collective design for the Jardin des Halles" initiated by the association Accomplir, the agency Pourquoitucours and Repères. The jury found the creative approach in the design of the Garden of Islands proposed by Joshua Piper especially appealing.

    The garden proposed by Yaox Bruner awarded the “public prize” following the votes of the Repères Second Life panel:


    Lastly we would like acknowledge the quality of the proposals of all the participants, which may be seen during the whole summer on the Repères Second Life Islandor on video youtube.

    This competition was principally aimed at accompanying the Accomplir Association in its fight against the project selected by the Paris City Hall. The objective was not to create the future Jardin des Halles but to prove that other designs were possible which associated creativity and compliance with certain spécifications. The final objective of the members – volunteers – of the association Accomplir being to convince the Paris City Hall to abandon the project and to launch an official competition for the garden.

    We do not yet know what will be the outcome of this process but it is clear that Accomplir has made a clear statement in favour of its case thanks to Second Life; the association has benefited from wide media coverage enabling it to express its views (articles in Le Parisien, Paris Obs, Matin Plus, Lemonde.fr, lexpress.fr , BBCnews) ...And has effectively countered any criticism as to its alleged support of the status quo or rejection of innovation.

    As for Repères, our action as a sponsor of this competition has enabled us to validate once again the relevance of Second Life as a platform for co-design, even for Real Life uses.