Wednesday, 9 January 2008


I've been a bit lazy about posting for a number of days, but finally my conscience (or is it my addiction?) has got the better of me and so I thought I would bring you the Italian commercial sim: Almaviva - or more correctly, AlmavivA. I had originally hoped that this would be another Slambling scoop - an event as rare a rocking-horse poop these days. But once again it seems that I am about 6 months too late to claim anything in the scooping department, or indeed the rocking-horse pooping department for that matter.

AlmavivA describes itself as "the Italian Innovation Company" - in effect an IT services company combining Business Process Outsourcing and Customer Relationship Management solutions. In fact, the AlmavivA Group is made up of 20 companies with around 15,000 staff and "collaborators" (that's the word used on the website), mainly in Italy - but also with offices Tunisia, Brazil, Romania and Sardinia. The group’s turnover in 2006 was a very respectable 707 million euros. They opened their island in Second Life way back in July, 2007. You can find here an interview with AlmavivA's Marketing and Business Development Manager, Valeria Sandei. I have taken the liberty of lifting a few quotes I think capture the essence of the interview:

  • AlmavivA were up for the 'challenge of trying out new communication and marketing strategies, a new way of “interacting virtually".'
  • 'compared to other image strengthening operations, Second Life is a relatively low-cost option...'
  • before stressing: 'our presence in the virtual universe is in any case fully consistent with the image of a company that has always focused on innovation.'
The Second Life island is pleasant enough - if unexceptional. This can be explained by the fact that it was self-built by their Service Line System Integration unit. And actually it's pretty good for a first attempt. If I had built it, I'd certainly be rather pleased with myself. Based on a semi-tropical theme, most of the island is given over to pleasant landscaping, with only the occasional building. The principal building is a large, blue-glass office block, where you will find a bunch of information about the company. There is also a sizeable open-air auditorium with an active video screen. Judging from the menu at the side, there is a good choice of (rather worthy?) business videos you can watch. For those wishing to socialise and engage, there is a beach side bar and an amusements room, while for the more intrepid there is a boat trip (though I am not sure if this can be used without a member of staff present). I did not have long to explore, but I did not find a treasure trove of freebies. Here are a few snaps:

This sim is not going to set new standards in corporate builds, but it is straightforward, has all the basics one would need and has served as a valuable training tool for the internal build team. I am not aware of it receiving much press (Google seemed unable to locate much in the way of news or blogs about it), which would suggest that perhaps it could have been promoted better. I am not sure it works terribly well as a public island promoting the brand -after all, it is "just another corp sim." However, I can see that it would work well as a client venue, or indeed as a meeting place for staff from the 20 companies, otherwise spread throughout Italy and, indeed, in place rather further afield.

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