RealTime IT News

Czech Companies Building "Virtual City"

Three Czech companies, bank Expandia Banka, mobile phone operator RadioMobil and phone operator SPT Telecom joined forces recently on a project to build a "virtual city."

eCity is a project made to explain the possibilities the Internet offers, specifically as a vehicle for direct banking, e-commerce and communication.

Strategic computer game? Marketing project? Web community? Sophisticated simulation of several aspects of real life? The eCity could be described by all of these outlines.

Basically it is designed to allow its "citizens" to work and live and in a virtual environment. Every "citizen" will be issued a certain amount of virtual money; it's up to him or her how to thrive. People who will join the game will have virtual jobs, virtual houses, and virtual bank accounts. They will learn how to use all these tools and gradually assimilate to "life in cyberspace." This will demonstrate how they can use the Internet and its various services in reality.

Transactions will be completed by e-mail or by text messages of GSM phones, the parent company of RadioMobil. Apart from virtual goods used in the game, citizens will have the possibility to win some real prizes in contests. The first citizens will come to the city on March 1.

Project eCity is recognized by many companies operating in the Czech Republic as an interesting e-commerce experiment, and as a simple and cheap way to obtain online experience. Among companies joining the eCity is leading Czech travel agent Fischer, as well as car maker Skoda Auto, British Airways, Warners Bros., BMG, Nike, Reebok, Minolta and others.

The project is based on Oracle database technology and Compaq hardware. Czech software company Merlin acted as the systems integrator of the project.