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Vista New Media Showcases Its VirtualFriends Technology

Vista New Media (www.virtualfriends.de) announced today at Streaming Media Europe 2000 that its VirtualFriends technology will be used to create an animated Mr. Clean to help Proctor and Gamble's clients -- not typically a tech-savvy group -- navigate through Proctor's site.

Vista New Media's VirtualFriends is a java-based technology that combines motion capture technology with artificial intelligence principles to create characters designed to add a friendly interface to any Web site. The characters, which are a cross between cartoons and search engines, are used on the Internet to help companies market their products in an interactive and friendly way.

The user interacts with the agent using search engine-like text commands, and the agent responds vocally. Vista uses streaming technology to launch the character immediately, ensuring that the user doesn't have to wait for a download.

"These VirtualFriends operate as advisors, sales persons, moderators, guides or teachers, and hold one-to-one conversations with the user," explained Alexandra Fuzinski, manager of Vista. While the technology clearly has a way to go, the company was awarded "Best of Internet World Berlin '99" and the "Digital World Star Award."

Web site owners can choose from a prefabricated menu of virtual characters and languages, or create their own using Vista's VirtualFriends Developer.

"Our software-instruments enable the virtual agents to keep the user constantly informed in a realistic, complex and sophisticated dialog,and appear to be likeable and almost human," says Fuzinski.

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