Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Oriental Dispatch: Splume, Meet-Me, Vizimo

In this second post in the Oriental Dispatch series, I'll introduce some more Japanese 3D virtual worlds.

Splume

Splume is a 3D virtual world which has some interesting features.

  1. Splume is based on VRML. If you have some experience of making VRML, you can create your own rooms easily.
  2. Splume is offering Widget. You can put your 3D world to your blog or website.
  3. Splume is offering not only 3D virtual worlds but also SNS. You know, it's not easy to find interesting peolple in 3D virtual world. SNS is a good way to solve this kind of problem.



Meet-me

Meet-me is a virtual world offering a replica of Tokyo. Users can edit their avatars, move around virtual Tokyo, enjoy chatting and get coins by playing games. It's possible to exchange coins to "Amazon Gift Ticket" which can be used at Amazon.co.jp.

TOYOTA, a giant car maker, has a place called METAPOLIS in Meet-me. It has been promoting their cars. Recently younger generations in Japan seem to loose interest in cars. TOYOTA wants to attract youths by promotions in Meet-me.




Vizimo

At Vizimo, you can easily create 3D games such as Maze, a fishing game or 3D hockey. One of Vizimo's advatages is supporting physics.


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Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Collector 2.0 and Tribal Migration on the Web


Tonight I was adding some books to my Visual Bookshelf on Facebook. Right now the number of books on my shelf is 229. I stopped when I added David Baldacci's "The Collectors" and reflected some on my web 2.0 lifeystyle.




The thing is, I remember this isn't the first time I'm doing this. I remember me making a list of my CD's and Books in WordPerfect 5.2 to keep track of my stuff after I'd lend it to friends (some stuff didn't return-and some still doesn't).



Later I entered my CD's into CD-Collector, my DVD's into MovieCollector (both by the Dutch Collectors.com). That was fun. It connected with several online bookshops, like Amazon and it downloaded covers, synopsis and reviews.



The thing is, I don't wanna do this over and over again. I've been talking with a Sogeti colleague of mine on this yesterday. We talked about the future of the web. One of the things is that NOW we have customized content. We choose what we want, what we like. We decide what gets in and what gets out. The next step will be customized functionality. We choose which functionality we want to have at the time we need it. It's basically cloud computing.



Today I discussed Tribal Migration with another (Sogeti) colleague. People move from site to site. Let's join MSN spaces, it let's you do stuff. Then move to Hyves as it lets you do more stuff, now we all migrate to Facebook as it provides even more functionality. We're sitehoppers, application addicts.


We migrate, but our content doesn't. Our account doesn't and in the mean time all our stuff (the personal info we registered and the content we've added) stays put. Our stuff is all over the web. This is soooooooo wrong. I just want one single point of entry for the web. I want to register with one site folks. And I want functionality when I need it.


None of the aforementioned applications; Word Perfect, MovieCollector and Facebook's bookshelf did for me what it has to do eventually: create a single complete database with portable content. I have to go to enormous lengths to get a complete database of my stuff. I've got about 500 CD's, 200 vhs/dvd's and 30 meters of bookshelf filled to the brim (yeah I'm a bookworm). What the killer app has to do for me is make it easy. Be smart, be intelligent. Now I've got an API with Amazon and I have to choose which book I've read. I've got to choose the edition. No, just give me a barcode scanner and let me scan my books, you fill in the details...


The second thing it needs to do for me is give me a standardised output file. Give me an xml file which I can upload to the next application. For instance, I'd like to have my collection of books insured. If it can't be done in a single app, then at least let me upload it. The house burns down, I can tell the insurance company which books I owned and they can cover for the damage.


I must admit I just discovered that Collectors.com added a barcode scanning feature... Now add portability and I'm back as customer ;)


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Friday, October 12, 2007

Best Practises for employees

Thursday, 1:30pm - 2:30pm


Best Practices for Employees in Virtual Worlds


With companies issuing avatars to large groups of employees what are the best practices required to create a smooth operating environment for those individuals. What standard operating procedures should be implemented to create the best experience a company projects when sending employees into public virtual worlds?



Speakers:


  • Bob Ketner, Creative Director, Studio SFO
  • Adrienne Haik, Metaversatility, Inc.

Bob gave a pretty fast ramble on best practises, kind of hard to keep up with taking notes. Here's a few tidbits though:

Why is doing Business in a VW a good idea?

  • Employees are already there
  • It can solve problems
    - I can't reach you
    - too little time to come over
    - info retrieval
  • Gamers are doing it better
    - Gamers focus on getting the job done (single action focus)
    - Gamers are selforganising folk
    - Your new (young) employees are aleardy gamers
    - Are using PC's a lot more effectively

Work can be a drag. How many of you say "Hey I can't wait to get to work on monday", and how many say "I can't wait to play World of Warcraft tonight".

IBM is currently looking into World of Warcraft Guilds, as it takes Guildmasters a lot of experience and compentence to manage all these guildmembers. These Guildmasters are actually people that distill and manipulate digital info in an advanced way. So which skills are involved?

The Avatar as a Uniform

Metaversatility's Adrienna Haik gave an insight as to how serious business in a VW can get.

  • It's important for employees to understand they are in a virtual workspace, and not a game.
    -Let your people take it serious and avoid them flying around during discussions and stuff.
    - Visible clues like chairs, desks and other office furniture may help.
    - Set up different spaces for different forms of communication and interaction.
  • Interaction guidelines, rules of engagement for the natives
    - How do you react to weird encounters? Your clients my come in as Furry's. A client new to SL can go ballistic if he's shocked by some appearances.
    - Take time for clients and new employees to acclimate. Take them shopping for instance.
    -Respect the community. You're on their turf.
  • Your avatarname is associated with your business.
    - Like with email, use a personal and business avatar.
    - Think about sexual harassment by avatars representing your brand
    - Your employee is your best marketing instrument inworld. Have them take the brand serious and advocate it.

There were several things in here which I didn't agree on. Especially the private and professional avatar distinction. I've only got one avatar as the lines between work and play are blurring. We're in a global business now and shifting timezones lead to business encounters at many different hours. Nor do I see the leaders of the industry, like Ian Hughes (IBM), Jeff barr (Amazon) and Christian Renaud (Cisco) have different avatars.

When speaking to Jeff Barr on this after the session was done he came up with several good reasons. First of all, these are community leaders. They've got a very professional attitude towards second life and have to build relations on their reputation. Switching Identities makes you have to build multiple reputations. Another thing (which at least goes for Jeff himself) is that they've probably all had PR training and know what they can and can't say. A third reason why you may not consider switching avatars is by self-protection. For some people there might be tempting stuff in Second Life. If you want to stay away from that, it's a strong motivator if you've got a reputation to think off.

It might be different though for regular employees who come into a virtual world to do some work then go off again. They have a completely different precense than their community leaders.

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Saturday, August 25, 2007

25% of Global top 100 in SL

In June I wrote 30% of Dutch Top100 corporations in Virtual Worlds, listing the top Dutch companies in Second Life. Earlier this month though SLionheads' Timbo Urbanowicz did the math on the global top 100 companies.



Based upon the Top 100 Global Brands Scoreboard he checked to see which companies were in Second Life and concludes 20% of these Global brands have a presence in Second Life:

"Interbrand takes many ingredients into account when ranking the value of the
Best Global Brands. Even to qualifyfor the list, each brand must derive at least
a third of its earnings outside its home country, be recognizableoutside of its
base of customers, and have publicly available marketing and financial data. "


1. Coca Cola

2. Microsoft

3. IBM

6. Toyota

7. Intel

10. Mercedes-benz

13. BMW

18. Cisco

25. Sony

29. Nike

31. Dell

42. Philips

43. Siemens

44. Nintendo

52. MTV

62. Amazon

69. Adidas

76. Reuters

81. ING

98. Nissan




Missing on this list are apple (33), SAP (34), eBay (48), Accenture (50) and BP (84) though, so it's closer to 25%.



Some, like Coca Cola and SAP only hold a small spot in Second Life, others such as IBM have a multble island presence and others (like eBay and BP) are still under cosntruction.

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Thursday, July 19, 2007

Advanced Content Creation

Two days ago I remarked on this blog that I hadn't heard a lot on Alyssa LaRoche a.k.a. Aimee Weber lately. Almost instantaniously she proved me wrong. Here's the comment left on the blogpost:



"Thanks for the interest in Aimee Weber Studio. I've actually been so busy, I haven't had time to update my website. Since the last entry on the AWS website, Aimee Weber Studio has done the following:



  • Worked as Project manager for NBC's treelighting ceremony along with Bedazzle and Electric Sheep.
  • We built the House of Horizons build for IBM.
  • Created Bild-T's island for the SL tabloid The Avastar.
  • We created the Yak Shack for the charitable organization Save the Children.
  • We are currently working on the in-world press kiosks for PR Newswire.
  • We are also working on several projects that we are not yet able to announce including a major automotive company and restaurant chain.
  • Finally, I'm the lead author for the Official Second Life Advanced Content Creation textbook entitled "Creating Your World" due out in October and I have been speaking at shows such as Computerworld.
Aimee Weber Studio has never stopped growing and has recently been hiring full time employees and providing health and dental.I hope this is enough. If I did anymore I would collapse. :D But I will be sure to add a website update to my daunting to-do list!!"



Following on this post I had quite a long IM session with Aimee. On this blog and other blogs there have been lots of comments on old style media that are currently in a negative swing on Second Life. In the regular 'print' the current reading is that companies are getting out of Second Life, have second thoughts, or are very much disappointed. This certainly is not the case for Aimee Weber Studios.



"Not on my end. There are certainly lots of inquiries. I am sure the bubble burst will happen eventually. Which I don't think I mind. I enjoy projects that use SL as an educational platform as much as the advertising stuff. Not that a bubble burst would indicate the irrelevance of SL as a marketing platform."



We were quite in agreement right now SL is offering more freedom than any other platform. Maybe in 5 years SL will be overtaken, but for now it's the ideal environment to explore the Metaverse.

One of the projects Aimee has been working on is a new book on advanced content creation, titled "Creating your World" which will be available at Amazon shortly. As far as I could tell from the previews the book is completely in style with the official Guide to Second Life, giving it that familiar touch and will be an interesting insight into virtual creationism.



"I tried to avoid simple "how-to" explanations in favor of providing a deeper understanding of what is going on behind the scenes. Not just how to build with prims, but WHY different kinds of prims act the way they do." says Aimee.

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Sunday, July 15, 2007

Metaverse Map v1.1

Here's the updated Metaverse Map with an overview of 2D and 3D virtual worlds.

The large image (1024 x 1024) can be found here.

Use the map freely, links will be appreciated though ;-)


In alphabetical order:

  1. Active Worlds
  2. Areae
  3. Croquet
  4. Cybertown
  5. Cyworld
  6. Deamville
  7. Disney Toontown
  8. Dubit
  9. Eccky
  10. Entropia
  11. Everyscape
  12. Forterra
  13. Frenzoo
  14. Gaia Online
  15. Google Earth
  16. Habbo Hotel
  17. Hipihi
  18. Immersive
  19. Kaneva
  20. Manor, the
  21. Microsoft Virtual Earth
  22. Mini Friday
  23. Moove Online
  24. Multiverse
  25. Muse
  26. Nasa World Wind
  27. NGI World
  28. Ogoglio
  29. Open Sim
  30. Outback Online
  31. Palace, the
  32. Planet VM
  33. Playdo
  34. Questville
  35. Second Life
  36. Shanda Entertainment
  37. Sims Online
  38. Sony Home
  39. Sparter
  40. Stagespace
  41. There.com
  42. Towerchat
  43. Trion
  44. Uonenet
  45. Virtual Ibiza
  46. Virtual Magic Kingdom
  47. Virtual Worlds SIG
  48. VP Chat
  49. Vzones
  50. Webkinz
  51. Weblo
  52. Why Robbie Rocks
  53. Whyville
  54. World.com
  55. Worldbridges
  56. Worlds Unlimited

I know I left out Club Pinguin and Three Rings (couldn't find any good logo's) and probably missed out on a few barbie-worlds....

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Saturday, July 14, 2007

Metaverse Map

The metaverse rollercoster keeps on rolling. Next week I've got to do a presentation on Second Life and the metaverse. I've been looking around a bit and decided to throw in a few logo's of Web 3D / Metaverse initiatives.
Which ones did I miss?

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Saturday, July 07, 2007

7-7-7 Birthdays

Today 7-7-7 a number of Second Life residents are celebrating their birthdays. Here's a few I know, Akela Talamasca (reporter for the Second Life Insider), Jeff Barr (Amazon Webservice Guru) and Lordfly Digerido (Freelance masterbuilder)

From this spot a very happy B-day to you all.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

VeeJay the Explorer

In the past months I've primarily traversed Second Life wearing an (almost) impeccable business attire. Well, surely it suits me, but does seem to be a bit out of place when sailing down the Amazon or climbing the Chichén Itza.

So I've decided to get on some outdoor kit together. Do you think it suits me?

I've been away for half an hour now before finishing this post. There's a memory that wants out.

As I said, in my current position I usually have to wear a business suit, sometimes even 3-piece. I don't have a problem with that at all, not even when its in heart of summer >30 degrees celcius. I'm quite used to it.

About 10 years ago I was a teacher, and one of the very few (and certainly the youngest) that wore a busines suit to work. However... there's this one pic in my archive that somehow seems to be model for my current avatar update.
Okay folks... don't worry, that's 10 years ago. I got rid of the earrings and the ponytail. Even shaved a wee bit.

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Saturday, June 23, 2007

Tonights Geek Meet Wrap up

Tonight saw another brilliant episode of the Metaversed Geek Meet. With speakers from Ogoglio, Amazon and Cisco.


First to kick off was Trevor Smith of Ogoglio who had a very straightforward story on the open source community in virtual worlds.

  1. 1. Point One: The web is open
    Open source software from the apache project hosts a huge percentage of the web. Open source operating systems run most of the core application level infrastructure like the Google borg and DNS. When facing such cultural, technical, and legal momentum... ...it seems foolish to glom closed spaces onto the side of this huge open web.

  2. Point Two: Basic 3D technologies are no longer black magic.
    When a layer of technology has matured to the point where it is commonly understood the open source community can step in and replace proprietary systems with open ones. This is not a particularly glamorous function,... but it does have the huge benefit of enabling people to try new ideas without reinventing the wheel or taking on funding. For example,...
    the Ogoglio platform is a web server for shared persistent spaces You can host spaces on your laptop, on an inexpensive web account... or scale it up on the Amazon elastic compute cloud. Creative groups can experiment with new ideas without spending a

  3. Point Three: Open source is painfully honest.
    When your checkin comments are in the public record and anyone can fact-check your press release by browsing your code..."

Our second speaker was Jeff Barr from Amazon, known for his enthusiatic commitment to Things to Do and the Amazon build, speaking on Amazon's Elastic Computing Cloud.

"With a virtual environment like Ogoglio hosted on it, you can conceivably spin up a whole bunch of them (hundreds and eventually thousands) to deal with a short-term event like a party or a concert. Or a big company meeting. Maybe it lasts an hour, or a whole weekend. Instead of begging your friends for loaner servers or buying them outright, or paying a by-the-month hosting plan, you use what you need. This seems to be an ideal solution to the very spikey demand that you will see from a virtual world. Mostly low demand, but occasionally very, very high."


Last, but certainly not least was the inspirational Christian Reinoud from Cisco who spoke on the future of Web 3D.

"Wen people invest as much time and energy as we all have into our sims, avatars, etc. we'll want to take them with us at the same time you have companies like Wells and MTV who are concerned about liability and their brand and will opt for more walled/controlled experiences"


This discussion handsomely evolved into a very sharp discussion on various cultures within the metaverse, creating their own identities, just like in Real Life.

The notorious Prokofy Neva was also present and did some seriously sharp questioning of the speakers.
"If you make a uniform protocol for avatars/goods across the frontiers of worlds, won't that introduce the same ill effects of RL globalization, and demolish some unique indigenous cultures and overutilize labour and resources in some areas and underserve others? Im' not certain that cross-world identity porting is quite in demand as you may think."

That surely did leave us time to ponder!

The Geek Meets are becoming a popular event. I got in early as I expected the meet would be maxed out and truly 15 minutes upfront it was hard to squeeze in the speakers. Our host, Nick Wilson from Metaversed is becoming a real facilitator and set up a few things like ustream tv so other people could follow the meet as well.

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Thursday, June 21, 2007

Friday's Geek Meet speakers

Nick Wilson got together another team of excellent speakers for tomorrow's Geek Meet.
This session will see talks by:

The only thing is, it's kind of a late night show for us Dutchmen, as this weeks meet will start at midnight.

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Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Amazon moves upriver

The US based Amazon has been working on their presence in Second Life for several months. Aleister Kronos was one of the first to spot their presence at Ambling in SL, but now they're open. I think not completely finished yet, but we're getting there.

The surprising bit is that the sim feels Egyptian with a papyrus tourboat, resembling the ancient Egyptian boats that traversed the Nile... which off course is a totally different river than the Amazon...

When speaking to Jeff Barr, Amazon's sr. Web Officer he corrected me. It is an Amazonian buid and many of the same boats can be found at Lake Titicaca in Peru / Chile. The islands (there are two) are "Basically, to create a place where people can learn about the Amazon Web Services, and to hang out with other software developers in a friendly environment." Specific events aren't planned yet, but "I want this place to be hopping with activity. Count on weekly presentations and at least one meeting / hangout type of event."
Aside from the amazonic themed buildings, the sim is mainly dominated by a museum wherein Web and SL projects will be displayed.

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