Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Advanced 3D system architecture

This is a thing I normally don't do: Embedding someone else's stuff on my blog. However, this is an exception.

The video below shows how IBM uses Second Life in order to create 3D system models. This one was posted at the 8bar blog.

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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

3D Business Search Directory

Tonights Things To Do was all about the introduction of a new tool in Second Life called Business Link.

It is quite a cool new system, created by Tue Turok, and is basically a 3D business directory that aims to help Second Life residents find businesses without running into crappy, sloppy sexadvertisements and invalid locations.

Although it has much of the functionality you'd expect to find in a classic web directory, there are some interesting web2.0 tie ins.
Tonights Demo was a square setup with a search cube centered in the middle, surrounded by four walls of billboards. Once you select your category in the center, the walls around you will display the results.
Each screen is divided into several areas:

1. Top area for products
2. Center Area for Logo and Landmark
3. Lower Left for online/ofline status vendor and
4. Lower Right for website and other stuff

It's a little early to tell if this is going to be the next big SL tool since it's just launched and the directory has to be filled yet. A good thing to take into consideration might be KZero's thoughts on "Why Billboards don't work in Second Life" Normal Billboards will surely not work for Real Life brands trying to get people to visit their sim or website, but in this case it might work for the Metabrands.

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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Blogwars !?

I was reading up on some other blogs and found out sometimes our allegiance switches. When it comes to Skynews I'm in line with Nic at KZero in liking it, contrary to Aleister.
When it comes to Comcast though, me and Al like it, and Nic doesn't. Now we're all pretty serious bloggers, so where's the switch? Why do you like a build, or why don't you, what makes you think a build will work, or not?

Here's a little comparative reading:

AL on Comcast : http://www.3pointd.com/20070605/comcast-parachutes-into-second-life/
AL on SkyNews: http://www.3pointd.com/20070605/can-sky-news-rise-to-second-life/
Nic on Comcast : http://www.kzero.co.uk/blog/?p=728
Nic on SkyNews: http://www.kzero.co.uk/blog/?p=658
Me on Comcast : http://blog.mindblizzard.com/2007/06/comcast-plugged-in-sl.html
Me on Skynews: http://blog.mindblizzard.com/2007/05/skynews-hits-virtual-sky.html

Obviously we have different tastes, and sometimes we like Rivers Run Red and not Millions of Us, or the other way around. But should that matter when it comes to judging a build. We should be able to go beyond that and spot the key elements for branding, for business integration and potential to actively engage the community.

It seems that it is a complex cocktail of several factors after all.

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Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Electric Sheep looking for a step forward

After visiting a number of business sims that had Electric Sheep Company written all over them I thought it was time to gain a little insight. Aside from the usual setups (auditorium, infocorner, etc. ) I haven't seen much innovation from them. They do have some great builders with eye for detail - the builds themselves are good, don't get me wrong here - but they just don't get me going back to actually DO something.

Well, some insight came, here's a snap:
"We are continually looking to improve upon integrated business into Virtual Worlds in ways that you've described below. Although I'd argue we have made great strides past the gimmicks that you've noted, we certainly have a ways to go. Many of our projects for corporate clients looking to SL for business uses are private, not open to the public, and perhaps below the radar still. In the future, expect to see the use of improved software on the client side to help achieve the goals you've described below. "

(the goals I described are left out for convinience sake ;))

Well, at least me and Aleister do have some trips to make and certainly we'll try to get some more hints before they go public. I can't wait to see some business innovation happen on SL!

Go get 'em ESC ;)

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Shop till you drop at Aarhof

Shoppingcentre Aarhof from Alphen a/d Rijn has it's virtual counterpart in SL. The shopzone itself looks a pretty decent job and contains lots of shops. Some smaller parts are not exactly designerwork... (like the cash register) but that doesn't matter.

Some major Dutch retailers now suddenly have a virtual outlet. I can imagine that a lingerie shop like Livera goes SL as lingerie is a desirable asset in SL. Same goes for clothing (e.g.) Didi, or the bookshop Bruna which also runs an online shop. I fail to see the use of a local bakery or butcher's in SL though. I can't order bread, nor can I eat it's virtual counterpart. Okay, presence and branding is one thing, setting up a business driven sim another.
The combination of an existing shoppingcenter with big brands in clothing and other possible virtual assets could have merit in its own. Yet the concept fails short because half of the outlets don't have right of existance in SL (yet).

SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Aarhof/182/72/28

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PCM reviews Businesses at SL

It's wednesday, patchday. And as usually there is planned downtime. Well, scheduled maintenance. Linden blogs "scheduled maintenance postponed..." then suddenly while trying to log into SL it reads "scheduled maintenance *now* happening" which pretty much comes down to preponed?

Well, at least it gives me time to blog something about an article in the Dutch PCM (personal computer magazine). Roughly the article reads:

Businesses opening up virtual shop in SL do not meet consumer expectations. During daytime business sims are completely empty. The German micromanagement company Komjuniti did a poll among 200 SL residents on their expectations. 42% of those questioned do admit that the company's presence has a positive effect on their branding. However, businesses really fall short in treating virtual clients. Visitors want to communicate

PCM ends the article with a nice overview of visitors of Dutch Business Sims during lunchtime ;)
Well... Who didn't. While I was looking around I did a google search as the PCM names the shopping centre Aarhaf. I also saw several blog blindly copied the intel and never did a data integrity check. It's Aarhof ;)

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Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Succesful Second Life Business Integration?

Interested to see where Second Life is going, from a business point of view, I asked a short question about thison the Linked-In forum.

The Question:
Second Life is now in hype-stage. But the blizz of drinking virtual whisky's and being hit by a passing whale will be over soon. Does Second Life stand a change from a business point of view?

What will be -in your opinion- the most likely business to succeed in Second Life?
How can we integrate existing real world business into SL, or create Real World business for Second Life

Some Answers:
Answers received from various experts in the IT world:


There is an article in the February 2007 issue of Wired that talks about how MTV is using Second Life to create more buzz around its 'Laguna Beach' show (first link below).

Coca-Cola and Microsoft have also grabbed some virtual real estate in Second Life, presumably to use to promote their real-world products.

Digital farming operations have received a ridiculous amount of attention in the media (see 2nd link below). But beyond these shady and often-hyperbolized enterprises, Second Life does hold some promise as a short-term location for marketing, and as a long-term location for entertainment-related ventures.

The denizens of Second Life have spare time, high-speed connections, and a desire for escapist entertainment. That makes their eyeballs pretty valuable to certain companies. There already are billboards on Second Life, and in the short-term I think there's an opportunity for an outdoor advertising giant to emerge. The business model would be very much like that of a large, real-world billboard owner. The technical challenges would be related to tracking visual impressions, detecting vandalism or obfuscation, etc.

In the long-term, I see Second Life as a great platform for online gaming. I believe that there have already been some early discussions related to this. There is already a conversion rate between Second Life currency (Linden Dollars) and US Dollars. With gaming, the money must be added to the account through a method that makes chargebacks impossible.

What kind of business are you looking at incorporating with Second Life? Would you be willing to provide goods and/or services in exchange for Linden Dollars?

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Best of Luck!



Second Life is not only a gaming world but also a virtual world. The interesting thing about this is that people are in SL also there because of the social aspects. They hang around, meet, conversate, buy and reflect there needs that they have in RL (real life) in SL (Second LIfe) too.

This means they want to own things like a car or motorcycle or just want to have there own place like an island or a house. There is a whole virtual economy already who supports these needs, with real dollars behind it. People even get married in SL or have hobbies like sailing and skydiving.

Even more interesting is SL if you take a look into the future. SL adds the social aspect that misses in even the most sophisticated conferencing or participation technologies. This is why even meetings and virtual presentations could work better in SL then in any other approach.

From a business perspective, I spend much time in traveling for meetings. An important reason behind this, is the social aspect reason. People feel that they have talked to me and they have seen me. This open doors and makes it easier to make appointments. The same thing is true for training and presentations.

A part of this social aspect can be fulfilled by virtual meetings or presentations with virtual characters (avatars) that take place in virtual places with virtual buildings.

They are virtual but they feel ‘real’. There is a thin line between Virtual Reality and Reality. We are just on the beginning of this. Open your eyes.
I think the hype outweighs the reality for Second Life at the moment.
It is interesting that large companies like MS and IBM have a presence in the Virtual World but there generation of revenue from direct sources in SL is in doubt.
Porn will (and is) fueling the most cash generation at the moment as I understand it. The hype machine is in overdrive at the moment and I will be watching with interest the development but I would not be advising people to attach a revenue stream to this for a long time if at all.
As the world is virtual providing more 'space' later for people is not that much of an issue, where the space is is going to be more important.
I think that unless you, as a company, experiment with these types of technological online worlds then you can't take full advantage of what the next generation of online worlds will have to offer.

If i were a big corp - I wouldn't expect any direct monetary positives from anything 'we' did in SL. It's, at this stage, more branding, awareness - and surely the top message is: 'We, (Nike, Coke, MTV... etal..) 'get' what you guys dig here and we are 'with' you.'

I'm sure companies will make mistakes in messaging and 'voice' - in the same way companies will continue to mess up their corporate blogging activities.

It's a learning experience, as in 10 years SL will probably be unrecognizable from what it looks like or 'is' today.

Best make the mistakes and learn those hard lessons now - when there are only 3 million there rather when there are 50 million to see you mess up.

Great questions, and I wish I had the answers. That area is exactly the area I'm interested in exploring. I do believe there is much benefit to be had from integrating business with these virtual words and social networks, but I don't think we have figured out the optimal strategies yet.

One aspect of Second Life that intrigues me is it's value as an application platform / content delivery platform. I've been of the opinion for some time that "the web" is broken in many ways and that "web 2.0" is a giant kludge layered on top of a brutal hack, and have wished for something better. But desktop penetration is so much better for web browsers than for anything else, that web browsers have become *the* platform. IOW, ask how many people have X servers on their desktops. By comparison to web-browsers, the answer is "not very many."

And truth be told, relative to web browsers not many people have Second Life... but I'd wager that many more people have Second Life than have an X server, and I'd further wager that installs of the Second Life client are growing much faster than installs of X servers.

(note: this doesn't really have anything to do with X servers specifically, that's just one made up example to illustrate a point)

And now that the Second Life code is going open-source, is see (in a vague sense) a lot of potential for growing the use of SL as a platform.



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