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Test before you investRisk-free trials for new business ventures

27 February 2003

Test before you invest
Risk-free trials for new business ventures

THE region's business community can soon benefit from Aston Business School's (ABS) new ��million multimedia lab, which opens on 12 March.

Aston Laboratory for Multimedia & Interactive Research's (ALMIR) facilities, together with the hardware, software and technical support, combine to provide the most extensive, innovative and up-to-date research laboratory of its type in the UK.

ALMIR will allow new ICT-enabled research to be carried out while acting as a focal point for deepening understanding of E-business and its impact on the business value chain.

Every aspect of business management can profit from the new research facilities, from planning and control to organisation and direction of commerce.

ALMIR, developed with a grant from the Scientific Research Infrastructure Fund, incorporates state-of-the-art equipment for the design and implementation of new research methodologies including online and observation research. Its features include:

• management group and consumer experimentation (including virtual reality scenarios)

• indepth interviewing

• observation research (through eyecamera tracking, webcam data capture and log file analysis)

ALMIR's director, Dr Amanda Broderick, said: 'The centre's capabilities are phenomenal and its research possibilities are endless. For instance, the state-of-the-art eye-tracking camera equipment allows users to capture data on attention and arousal, allowing them to identify their customers' experience and interest in their web-site.

'This equipment, which is also used in advertising and psychological research, provides access to hard-to-reach actual customer behaviour. Eye movement provides information on how customers are likely to react in given situations.'

Dr Broderick continued: 'Our virtual reality facilities will allow retailers to visualise customers' reactions to new products or shop layouts they are trialling. Traditionally, it was shopkeepers who said to their customers, "try before you buy". Now business people can test before they invest - find out the viability of their ideas before making a financial commitment.'

ALMIR facilities are available to businesses either through hire agreements or collaborative research ventures. For further information please contact Jasmin Desai, on 0121 359 6396 or email: desaij2@aston.ac.uk

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For further information please call 0121 204 4549 or email: b.a.l.coombes@aston.ac.uk

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research