ItiBiti desktop app gives brands first window access

A new tool created by Ontario-based software developer Intertainment Media lets brands sit on computer desktops, and tap a variety of social media tools to engage consumers.

Intertainment Media is partnering with Microsoft for the launch of a new interactive desktop application, the Richmond Hill, Ont.-based software developer announced yesterday. ItiBiti, created by a subsidiary of Intertainment known as Itibiti Systems, is a widget that groups together a user’s social media and communication tools. The voice-powered, all-in-one computer desktop entertainment, social networking and communications suite has Microsoft’s Live Services platform built in (Search, MSN Messenger, Virtual Earth, Photo, etc.). And it’s designed for brand sponsorship. Individual features can be sponsored by brands who want to engage with consumers as soon as they turn on their computer.

ItiBiti has customizable features like a video player, a built-in proprietary telephone system for peer-to-peer calling, a sidebar that links to social media and a big-box ad area that will host various types of permission-based marketing. Brands can offer consumers this no-cost tool – delivered right to computer desktops – and use it to enhance whatever marketing programs they have in play. Advertisers can tap the tools, content and services including telephony/voice chat systems, media players, etc. – to engage consumers. Third-party apps and content streams can be integrated, and the Microsoft Live services platform enables drill-down capabilities to match user preferences with offerings.

Three major branding partners, at least one of them Canadian, will be announced at a Microsoft-sponsored event at next week’s South by Southwest music festival in Austin, Texas, which hosts geek-driven digital workshops and conferences as well as indie bands.

The brands on board already have an online following, explains David Lucatch, CEO of Intertainment Media, but now want to connect with their demographics before they are gulped up by the vast offerings of the Internet. ‘If brands could get the user as soon as they turned on the computer, they would have a higher propensity to interact with their consumer, and not lose them once they go on the net,’ Lucatch tells MiC. The primary user of the application will be between 14 and 39 years of age.

After the initial rollout next week, itiBiti will be made available for download through the sponsoring brands’ own campaigns and media models. ‘So if a broadcaster uses TV or radio or print media to promote their current product offerings, they’ll be offering [Itibiti Systems] along with that,’ says Lucatch. After about four weeks, as consumers start getting used to their new virtual living room, further promotions like contests and web links will be unveiled.