'Live-Bots' Bring the Detroit Auto Show to the Web at Ford.com
14 January 2000'Live-Bots' Bring the Detroit Auto Show to the Web at Ford.com
DETROIT, Jan. 14 -- Starting tomorrow, Ford Motor Company will enable consumers to experience the excitement of the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) 2000 virtually at http://www.ford.com . Through the eyes of six mobile "live-bots" -- individuals outfitted with wearable computers equipped with video capture capability and a wireless link to the Internet -- consumers will be able to view on demand images from the Ford Motor Company exhibit as they are recorded by the live-bots and relayed at http://www.ford.com . The Detroit auto show is the industry's largest and most important annual event that unveils one-of-a-kind concept vehicles and showcases the market introduction of new vehicles. By visiting ford.com and clicking on the auto show link, users will be able to interact with one of Ford's six live-bots, each wearing a wrist-mounted touch panel LCD screen, and have their show- related questions answered instantly by the live-bot. The auto show Web site at ford.com will house 50 "views" (images and streaming video) of the Ford exhibits that the live-bots have taped and which users may access on demand. Each day from January 15 to 23, users will be able to vote on which parts of the show they would like to see that are not already available for viewing. At the end of each day, the votes will be tallied, and the winning view will be taped and available at the site the following day. Auto show site visitors will also be able to learn about the announcements that Ford Motor Company has made during the show and view archived NAIAS 2000 Web casts and video clips. "Our live-bots allow consumers to interact with Ford's vision of the future of driving," said Dave Sanabria, new business development manager for Ford Motor Company's Consumer e-Business Group. "This is just another way that Ford is working to enhance our customer relationships." There is a special live-bot sneak preview tonight from approximately 5:45- 6:45 p.m. EST, during the opening of the sold-out Charity Preview Event. The black-tie event will host more than 17,000 people including top executives, sports figures, and other celebrities to raise more than $4.375 million for 11 Detroit-area children's charities. "This is a high-tech execution of a great concept," said Patrick Sarkissian, managing director of Eye4U Active Media, lead developer of the auto show site. "We've combined live streaming video, Macromedia Flash 4.0 and dynamic polling to obtain consumer input. A consistent message is sent both at the show and online -- 'Ford Motor Company wants to hear from you.'" The NAIAS is the longest running auto show in the country and the only international auto show sponsored by an auto dealer association. Each year, more than 40 auto manufacturers from around the globe come together to exhibit more than 700 of its current model and concept cars and trucks. About Ford Motor Company Ford Motor Company is the world's largest producer of trucks and the second-largest producer of cars and trucks combined, marketing and selling approximately 7 million vehicles globally through its seven brands last year. Ford Motor Company employs approximately 345,000 people in plants, offices and laboratories to serve consumers in more than 200 countries and territories. Ford also is one of the largest providers of financial services worldwide through 2,400 branches in 33 countries.