Online business 'district' launches

The Centre for Design in the Digital Economy - DLAB - has announced the launch of an online business district designed to provide an innovative and cost-efficient way for firms to collaborate.

Called OnLand, it is powered by Blue Mars, an online high-definition three-dimensional virtual world platform created by Avatar Reality, and allows users to conduct business in interactive showrooms, boardrooms, and other meeting spaces. In-world attendees can also browse shops, including one featuring executive fashions created by well-known virtual world designer Estelle Parnall.

DLAB was established in 2006 as one of Teesside University’s new business units - a creative and technical team free to explore and develop new markets for R&D and enterprise. With the objective of identifying the new markets that will emerge from the capacity to move three-dimensional content across the internet, the Lab identified the Blue Mars platform as representing the generational shift in technology that would trigger those new markets

"OnLand is a uniquely innovative approach to business collaboration and online presentation," says DLAB deputy director Philip McClenaghan. "As firms cut back on travel, OnLand provides an equally effective and less expensive way for clients to connect with customers, suppliers, and distributors, and showcase their products at any time of the day, on every day of the year."

Onland will be unveiled on 21 October at the Institute for Digital Innovation at Teesside University: the simultaneous in-world event will be hosted by a major OnLand tenant, the Northern Design Quarter (NDQ), a £1m European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) (allocated by the European Union and implemented by One North East) funded project for North East of England Creative Sector SMEs. It will allow attendees from across the globe to listen to a variety of presenters, including Avatar Reality CEO Jim Sink.
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