Monday, October 22, 2007

Virtual Worlds -- The Elephant Dances?

I came across a very interesting blog by Caleb Booker over at Metaversed. He is writing about a press release by IBM and Linden Labs about their working together in the virtual worlds space. The theme here is interoperability. The idea that people can seamlessly work across virtual worlds (I dont know of any which has caught the imagination the way Second Life has). And, I have written about this earlier. Sure, IBM is betting big on virtual worlds. And, they sure have generated the excitement of having the possibility of changing the way we do things (read half a million L$ a month in spendings, but this has to go way beyond e-commerce, or should we call it v-commerce).

Caleb writes about the technical issues this could come across. And, a few thoughts which have been posted by readers. Point is, standards are only going to take this thus far. Make them rigid, an this would simply end up stifling creativity, and the very reason for the success of Linden Labs may turn out to spawn the next generation SL, which may not be exactly to the liking of the duo. Me, not being a technical oriented guy (some refer to me as the original tech dinosaur ... T-Rex?), I would look forward to see what IBM and Linden Labs come up with. For one, it would be nice to retain user-names across virtual worlds. Your name wouldnt change if you began living on Mars, would it? Though, this would probably take some doing ... We are yet to reach a scenario where we can have a single mail address across domains. The problem is similar, wouldnt you think?

Another thing this does highlight, though ... Lou Gerstner was right when he titled his book. Big Blue yet again is showing that it is very nimble on its feet ... Taking something quite a few in the world still look at as gaming, to the level of the business changer. Of course, this would require a lot of tango, but I am sure they are up to it.


Unknown said...

I thought the concept of interoperable avatars is an interesting one but as you point out, one that will be difficult to implement. At minimum, you have the strange sorts of avatars found in Second Life finding their way to other less "mature" virtual worlds. But they'll work this out. To be perfectly honest, I'm less interested in interoperable avatars than I am in improving Second Life's speed and stability. Is this a case of putting the cart ahead of the horse? Not sure, but at minimum this is a "nice to have" whereas stability and speed is a "need to have." Dave

Atul said...

I agree with you, because honestly, I have yet to hear about a 3D environment other than Second Life (I come from IBM ...). And honestly, this may not even be required till the time the Virtual Worlds concept matures, and then, it actually may not be required. Remember internet chatrooms? Each chatroom typically had its own set of regulars, and I dont think too many folks actually used to hang out in multiple chatrooms.

Anonymous said...

Please note: IBM has yet to make any profit, or indeed much revenue, from its Virtual Worlds. For many observers, virtual worlds are the biggest indicator of Bubble 2.0. For most people, the 3D Internet is like a video cellphone: a nice, glitzy appearance that you try out once or twice, but you soon discover that voice and text provide you with all you need 99% of the time. It's also difficult for an IT company to assert a 'green' image at the same time as promoting an interface that uses many unnecessary CPU cycles.

Atul said...

Thanks for the inputs. While 3D may be a gadget to a few, there are others who believe that they could take the way we interact to a different plane. OK, so IBM has yet to make a profit on them, but its still early days yet? And I am sure, the conflict between green and technology can be resolved soon. After all, computers are greener than automobiles, or jets? There shall be nothing totally green ... after all, we as human beings also exhale Carbon Dioxide, so even we are not green by that definition.