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Energis Interactive are to launch a new 'virtual high street' on Sky this spring.

Energis Interactive are to launch a new 'virtual high street' on Sky this spring. The portal, named BrightBlue, will be in direct competition to BSkyBs Open venture.

Energis Interactive has been formed as a Europe-wide joint venture between network specialist Energis and software developer Graham Technology. BrightBlue is aiming to provide innovation for its clients and their consumers, enabling the explosion in online shopping predicted over the next three years. MD of Energis Interactive, Tim Harris, commented, Although in competition with Open we believe that potential growth in the online market is big enough for the both of us."

The agreement with Sky has helped negotiations with a 'number of high street names' although it is too early to reveal content partners. The promise behind BrightBlue is to be more 'open' than Open, allowing partners to control the operation, appearance and interactivity of their own sites on their own terms. Mike Hughes, director at Graham Technology, stresses that Bright Blue is not an iTV pure play; "The key thing for business using multiple channels to market is consistency of service through all the different channels."

The portal is an application of Graham Technology developed GTX customer relationship management software, used by clients such as Egg and One2One. Unlike Open, which retailers have complained is expensive and restricting in terms of back-end technology, GTX acts as middleware that integrates into existing systems, rendering data from multiple format sources suitable for presentation both on-screen and back-office.

For instance, a viewer may order travel tickets at home through the TV, receive confirmation via e-mail at work, then be reminded to travel via SMS. The system runs independent of the platform and supporting database, conducting and monitoring content flow. Personalisation of services should generate user loyalty for partners as GTX integrates back office control with call centre, retail, iTV, WAP and internet user interfaces.

BrightBlue uses a 'persistent shopping basket' to provide feedback and allow content partners to adapt services and change with user needs. Tim Harris, MD of Energis Interactive calls this "... a reflection on the progress of the consumer from a digital to a networked society".

Energis Interactive are aiming to expand into Europe, possibly through Energis-owned networks in Holland or the recently acquired solutions provider Ision in Germany. The firm is currently also looking at providing interactivity on demand as part of the broadcast stream for the u>direct tv service from the Digital Broadcasting Company. DBC .

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Published 8 February, 2001 by NMA Staff

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