Who, What, Why?
Enterprise uses of Immersive Environments and Virtual World technology for collaboration. As CTO of vComm Solutions and co-founder of Flying Island I'm particularly interested in the ways that collaborative 3D immersive environments might help bring dispersed teams together

Neil Canham
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View Article  The Lab gets serious about work
Linden Labs have revamped their 'serious' virtual world marketing with the release of a new subdomain http://work.secondlife.com/ - and it is miles better than the old 'Second Life Grid' material.  There are reams of examples, case studies and quotes, and much more professional looking graphics.  One interesting ploy is mixing photos of real people over scenes from the virtual spaces, perfectly emphasising the immersiveness.  I recommend anyone thinking of getting involved with virtual worlds for real work to check it out.  It makes a compelling case.  I guess this is all leading up to the release of the 'Nebraska' behind-the-firewall SL solution coming in the autumn.  Rumoured to be priced between $50k and $80k, it will need a polished marketing campaign and a solid value proposition. One thing that for me is missing though is photos and videos of real environments in use.  It's hard for those evangelists amongst us to realise, but a text description of this stuff almost never gets the point across to folk who haven't already experienced it.
View Article  IBM Lotus SameTime 3D - 4 Regions of OpenSim for $50k
An interview on Hypergrid Business reveals the pricing of the new IBM virtual meeting solution based on OpenSim.  It's worth a read, and I'm fairly convinced of the usefulness of the product.  I haven't yet seen anything describing content integration though - how are the presentations, videos, task lists integrated with Notes (or heaven forbid another 2D knowledge and organisation tool)?  We think this is crucial, and we're working hard with Roobaab to bring about good integration with the 2D web. 

One minor point - IBM say they chose OpenSim in order to allow writing on a prim - we've done that in SecondLife to create a notecard board, one prim per notecard.  Video coming soon :-)
View Article  Two new data visualisation videos
I've recently been involved in a data warehousing project, and of course I immediately thought how useful it would be to be able to represent vast volumes of data in an immersive 3D environment, to be able to walk through or fly over the data, to 'experience' it.  Two videos released this week demonstrate the ongoing efforts to do exactly that using environments such as Second Life.  The work from Green Phosphor below shows data from a spreadsheet be in displayed immediately in Second Life as a grid of 3D bars, dynamically updatable.

This is great, but only a first step.  I imagine the data being represented in a much bigger way that can be flown over or through.  But it's a great start.

The other is a video of the new ThinkBalm 'data garden'. 

This is an attempt to represent the results of their report on the business value of immersive environments in an immersive way again in Second Life.  I should say that I haven't had time to explore the data garden in Second Life itself yet, but I think the video highlights one problem with using video clips to demo these environments.  It's impossible to see the value of the immersive technology from the video.  Frankly I found myself heaving a huge sigh of relief each time the video zoomed in on the 2D graph - at least that made sense!  Many of the things in the garden seem to be using 3D for the sake of it without considering the value added.  So I love the idea, but the video just doesn't convince even me, a real 3D evangelist. I'll post more observations after I've visited the garden 'for real'.
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