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Pictures Speak Volumes for Remote Communities

14 November, 2003 | Archived Post
Northern Territory Government enlists animated characters to aid in communicating with remote communities SYDNEY, Australia, Friday, 14th November

Abstract:
Interactive, animated characters developed by Australian software development company, Inchain, are providing remote communities in the Northern Territory with better access to information about health and education issues.

Press Release:
Interactive, animated characters developed by Australian software development company, Inchain, are providing remote communities in the Northern Territory with better access to information about health and education issues.

Launched today in Alice Springs by the Northern Territory Minister for Health and Community Services, Hon. Jane Aagaard, 'Marvin' is based on Microsoft's Agent technology, and uses animated characters to deliver information and training, through the Northern Territory's existing satellite computer network.

The technology has been trialled by the Alice Springs Gap Youth Centre with a number of pilot programs also being launched in remote communities including Santa Teresa in Central Australia and in the Kakadu and Katherine regions.

"The Marvin technology allows for interactive, animated characters which look like community members to be used to convey information, via computers, in both English and the local Aboriginal languages," said Nick Russell, managing director, Inchain.*

"Feedback says that communities really benefit from information being provided by a known community figure. Marvin is all about allowing communities to take ownership of the information being provided to them by government, and in doing so, ensure that critical information on issues like communicable diseases and youth suicide prevention get through to the right people," Mr Russell said.

"To date, the technology has been used in business for training and education and we see great potential for Marvin to be used by governments throughout Australia as another method of delivering critical information to communities," he said.

According to Steve Vamos, managing director, Microsoft Australia, empowering people through technology is central to the philosophy at Microsoft.

"The project that Inchain has undertaken with the Northern Territory government is testimony to the great work being developed by Australian IT companies to deliver technologies that really make a difference to people's lives," said Mr Vamos.

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For further information:

Amanda Millar or Katie Peters
Samantha Herron
Howorth Communications
Microsoft Australia
Ph: 02 9904 2618
Ph: 02 9870 2200

*Examples of Marvin interactive animated characters are available on request

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