Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Building Intelligent Organisations

Last month I've blogged a bit about what the important SOCIAL factors are in creating corporate social networks. Today my colleague Patrick Savalle published a first presentation on the TeamPark approach which is designed to help organisations successfully implement corporate social networks and become more intelligent organisations.

In every organization processes can be identified that do not function optimal in the normal, so called bureaucratic or formal structure.

Finding people or expertise, sharing and leveraging implicit knowledge, exploiting the wisdom of the crowd, using the special talents of people, driving sustainable innovation. Many processes run more efficient and are more effective using the social networks of the organisation.

Many tasks can be accomplished better by organizing people in communities instead of teams. An organization that knows how to use communities, social networks, crowd-sourcing, broadcast communication, self-organization and other ‘2.0’ concepts has an advantage over competitors and offers an appealing working environment.

The Intelligent Organization knows; build it with TeamPark

At the SlideShare presentation you'll also find a transcript to go with the presentation.

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

Crowdsourced Innovation

Innovation is becoming more and more of a buzzword these days, sort of a magical formula to overcome global crisis. Long before the crisis though, the Dutch Government has launched an Innovation Platform that was to propose ideas on how to propel the Dutch economy and expertise. The first presentation of this platform is due on March 11th.

However, the Innovation Platform is Government appointed and merely takes suggestions into consideration, it does not let YOU contribute. To cure this, a group of citizens has started the "Burger Innovatie Initiatief" (Citizen Innovation Initiative), a crowdsourcing experiment at "Beleid 2.0" in which YOU, the expert, can contribute your ideas on how to change our society and economy to prepare it for the future.

It might be a little out of place on this blog, but the ideas may impact the Dutch technology sector so it's probably not too farfetched as a lot of my readers are thoughtleaders from the Dutch technology scene I'd really like to invite you to make it happen!

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Dear IT Leadership: Please Lead

The twittersphere just tweeted an interesting blogpost to me, a cry for thoughtleadership and IT Governance by Reid Carlberg on the Model Metrics blog

Dear IT Leadership,

Today, your business needs you more than ever. The economy is weakening. Competition is intense.. You’ve helped it navigate technologies for years. But the business has immensely complex new challenges today. It needs your help to operate more efficiently. It needs your help to innovate in new ways.

In short – they need you to lead – but they need you to lead differently. They need you to lead them through radical change. What do I mean?

What does Reid Carlberg mean? Read the full article here.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Canterbury Uni puts another $1M to waste

The Canterbury tales have gone virtual earlier this month. At least, the New Zealand version as the Canterbury University receives $1.77 NZD from the Government's Encouraging and Supporting Innovation Fund for a three-year project designing virtual work environments to give students practical experience. According to Canterbury University HitLab director Mark Billinghurst New Zealand is lagging behind in Virtual Technology. The funding will go into research for chemical engineering, audiology and health sciences.

Online newspaper Stuff did an extensive report on this funding on Januari 1st and gave us some ideas where the money would be going:

"Audiology students would work with virtual human subjects to test different rates of hearing impairments that could be difficult to find in the general population, he said.Students could even be virtually shrunk and find themselves walking inside a 3D model of an ear canal with sound waves floating through the air.."

There might not be a lot of Government investment in virtual worlds in New Zealand, but Canterbury Uni joins a host of universities spending millions of dollars in Virtual Worlds such as Second Life. The really sounds like something the Ohio State University has done a long time ago, be it on a different field of expertise in recreating a testis for students to explore.

The university is working with the Christchurch Polytechnic Institute of Technology to create a virtual work environment for nurses in training.

With virtual technology, they could practise their bedside manner and diagnostic skills without leaving the campus.

"This fills a gap in traditional education. There's a lot of book learning, but when people start jobs they don't necessarily have that hands-on experience," Billinghurst said.

Exactly the same thing has been done by the Ohio State University as well. I don't see a lot of innovation there. Don't get me wrong here though.

I'm a huge fan of educational institutes using the power of virtual worlds to enhance their programmes. The thing is, each and every institute is reinventing the wheel time and again, spending millions of dollars on projects that have been done before and can be modified for a few bucks. It is time for Educational institutes to organise themselves and create a widespread vision and cooperation to make an interactive, interoperable virtual curriculum instead of isolated projects.

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Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Google Emissions Crunched as Kincaid gets it straight.

Half a forest was burned on the printing presses and a ton of CO2 blasted into orbit as the Times reported yesterday that "Two Google searches needed the same amount of energy to boil a kettle of water." Tons of blogs and newspapers worldwide dove at the news like hungry vultures to dig this story, like I did in the article "Plant a Tree and get a free search" yesterday.Google immediately denied the alledged amounts of pollution, but it was Techcrunch blogger Jason Kincaid who actually managed to get the facts straight.

The quintessence of the story run by the Times was young Harvard physicist Alex Wissner-Gross, who was quoted in saying “that performing two Google searches uses up as much energy as boiling the kettle for a cup of tea”. Kincaid received the article very sceptical and did some proper research.

"Unfortunately, according to Wissner-Gross he never said anything of the sort. For starters, he says he would never refer to any sort of measurement having to do with tea (he’d go with coffee). But his findings have nothing to do with Google as a company, either - they’re concerned with much more generalized stats, like your computer’s rate of CO2 production when you look at a
webpage.

Wissner-Gross says that the widely circulated 7 gram/search figure came from some other source (he’s not sure where), and notes that if you read the article carefully it only makes it sound like it’s from his data. He has confirmed that he did make some vague statements regarding Google, including “A Google search has a definite environmental impact” and “Google operates huge data centers around the world that consume a great deal of power”. But the “tea kettle” statistic that has been repeated ad nauseum simply isn’t his. After learning of the misleading story, Wissner-Gross says that he contacted The Times and was assured that it would be fixed by Sunday morning. No corrections have been made.?

Kincaid also states that this isn't the first time the Times has gone awry;

This isn’t the first time in recent memory that The Times has been mistaken about a tech story - in late November the newspaper incorrectly reported on a complicated and fictional Yahoo/Microsoft search arrangement.

I remember touching this topic earlier this morning as I wrote that the credit crunch was a healthy wind passing through the traditional media landscape;

The credit crunch might be a blessing to shake that old tree (and save a rainforest in the proces) and force the old newspaper industry to innovate. The world of news and information has changed with the arrivel of web 2.0, called the social web, or conversational web by others. The most heard argument in this case is that bloggers are not trained journalists and are living the fastlane without time to do thorough research and taking time to write indepth stories. Well, there are a few out there that prove you wrong. And if that's the case, why not skip daily newspapers and let the bloggers and televesion do the daily news and create more indepth research magazines?

I think the research by Kincaid proves the old media wrong. It's bloggers who get the facts straight and not trained journalists with years and years of field experience and editors to double check.

In short, we all stand corrected. Google's footprint is down a little bit, but the main focus of my article yesterday still stands:

The only problem is.... Google and every other major player on the market is either American or China based, which means they don't really give a **** about the environment. Despite Al Gore and every greenie in the States, every environmental deal is blocked by the United States in favor of economic growth. Where did that bring us? It only brought global crisis. America has blocked deals like the Kyoto protocol so it could continue to produce supersized cars. It has only killed innovation and the United States are now putting billions of dollars into an outdated automotive industry. Cars are too big, engines to polluting for the present day world. No wonder nobody's buying anymore.

Read the full Techcrunch article here.

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Credit Crunch speeds new media revolution

It's time for Change was the slogan used by Barack Obama in his election campaign. And indeed the winds of change are shaking the dust world wide in the wake of the Credit Crunch. Not the change desired by Obama, but change it is. 24/7 Wall Street reports that at least 12 major US newspapers are set for closure in the coming months.

No one working in the media industry will ever have seen a year as bad as 2009 will be. The sharp slide in advertising began in 2008, and, based on the worsening economy, there is no reason to think that advertising will improve. Most Wall St. analysts have predicted a harsh year for the ad business. If the downturn deepens and unemployment rises above 10% most predictions about media, no matter how negative, will have been unexpectedly optimistic.

The outlook might not be this grim here in the Netherlands, but newspapers are having a hard time over here too. Just yesterday I blogged on how Google should compensate it's CO2 emission and touched the subject of lack of innovation in the american automotive industry. I guess this pretty much is the same story.

Traditional newspaper have stayed traditional. Most of the people working at newspapers are old timers, senior reporters and editors who have grown up with the traditional printing press and have switched to digital offset without really changing their process. Currently I see a lot of traditional publishers in the Netherlands clinging on to their outdated ways, trying to get a little bite of the mobile news market and a little bite of the online marketing chunk without wanting to change their own ways. This is lack of innovation.

The credit crunch might be a blessing to shake that old tree (and save a rainforest in the proces) and force the old newspaper industry to innovate. The world of news and information has changed with the arrivel of web 2.0, called the social web, or conversational web by others. The most heard argument in this case is that bloggers are not trained journalists and are living the fastlane without time to do thorough research and taking time to write indepth stories. Well, there are a few out there that prove you wrong. And if that's the case, why not skip daily newspapers and let the bloggers and televesion do the daily news and create more indepth research magazines?

Last year, the Sogeti research insitute, ViNT, published a book called "Me the Media" in which it describes 3 media revolutions:

  1. The First Media Revolution: type letters and printing press
  2. The Second Media Revolution: electronic mass media
  3. The Third Media Revolution: web media

On the website you'll find excerpts of the book in English. A complete English version will be published sometime februari / march. I'll keep you posted.

The industry has grown with the first revolution and survived the second, but now is crumbling under the onslaught of this third media revolution. It was bound to happen sooner or later, the crunch is just the final push to speed up this third media revolution. It neither is Obama nor the Credit Crunch but a driving force called innovation that is bringing about these winds of change.

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Introducing the Hyperspeech Transfer Protocol (HSTP)

A recent study by Pew Research on the future of the internet was clear on one thing: Every expert in the field feels the focus of the web is moving towards mobile. The number of cellphones worldwide is rapidly growing. In India for example, there are 10 phones to every 1 pc. The latest wave bring smartphones with full internet capability. IBM's institute for Business Value predicts the number of mobile web users worldwide will reach one billion by 2011.

So it's really not surprising that businesses are starting to shift gear as well. One of IBM's latest insights is the voice controlled web, or the spoken web. 'You will talk to the Web... and the Web will talk back,' predicts IBM in its latest list of innovations that "have the potential to change the way people work, live and play over the next five years".

The concept is gathering steam with a project named "Spoken Web" that is being led by IBM's India Research Laboratory (IRL) team, and also being incubated in IBM's eight global labs in six countries. In fact, the corporation recently completed a pilot in Andhra Pradesh to implement the concept.

"The project was very successful. It started out with around 100 villagers but many hundreds joined later after seeing the response," Guruduth Banavar, director, IBM India Research Laboratory (IRL), told Business Standard.

The reason for this enthusiasm, he said, is simple. "Most people do not have a PC. Even smartphones are far and few. Besides, most people, especially the semi-literate kind, are not comfortable using a visual interface. But what most of the Indian population can do is talk. So the spoken web project makes immense sense." he added.

Read more at Rediff News / Business Standard

To support this fundamental change in how the internet works, IBM has developed a new protocol, named Hyperspeech Transfer Protocol (HSTP).

World Wide Telecom Web (also called as Spoken Web or Telecom Web) is an initiative to create an alternate web for the under-privileged. It could help bridge the digital divide by bringing the benefits of the information revolution to the billions of underserved people by providing information and services through a voice driven channel over an ordinary phone call. Information on this web could be community created as well as leveraged from World Wide Web. It is essentially a voice driven eco-system parallel and complimentary to that of the existing Web. Though primarily meant for the under-served in population in emerging economies, it has several applications for the developed world as well.

WWTW can be accessible to more number of people in the world as it enables an ordinary phone subscriber to join the digital information revolution. This enables a significatly larger fraction of the human population to benefit from existing and envisioned services than what was made possible by WWW. Specifically, it removes accessibility barriers that manifest themselves in terms of illiteracy, unaffordability and lack of relevant information. Further, it provides the means to create and sustain an ecosystem of local (and global) services, information and communities relevant to these underprivileged users. [Wikipedia]

IBM has put an effort into getting the abstracts of the HSTP onto the web, with wikipedia entries a with brief outline of how it works and various papers, such as the paper submitted for www2008, the 17th World Wide Web Conference in China in april last year (Paper:
The World Wide Telecom Web Browser) and an introduction to HSTP on their own website.

photograph from the book: The First Book of Sound: A Basic Guide to the Science of Acoustics by David C. Knight, Franklin Watts, Inc. New York (1960). p. 80

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Meta Crunch Continues: Reuters bails out too

After the global Credit Crunch, recession kicks in in the metaverse as well. We've seen this one coming a year ago though. After the media hype in 2006/2007 brought dozens of companies into the virtual world of Second Life, the brain drain started in august 2007 when wanna be hotshot marketeers failed to digg how Virtual Worlds worked and companies bailed out of their virtual ventures.

Last week we saw Google pull the plug on its shortlived Lively project and this week saw the bankrupcy of Sun, a Japanese Second Life development company and the Register reports that Reuters pulling out their embedded reporter Adam Pasick. The Reuters Second Life website has been silent since september 30th. This probably won't be a big surprise. The buzz in and around Second Life has died down over the past months. Even I find it hard to find Second Life related news to blog and am straying away to other worlds and I'm not the only one. Here's a selection of my former reading list:

  • Ambling in Second Life has been quiet for four weeks now.
  • Digado has been dead for two months as well.
  • The Belgian Second Life Crew has made its last post in July.
  • Second Life Blogo, once operated by Second Life Development Company Lost in the Magic Forest has even ceased to exist.
  • Dutch SL Community site NL0031 (formerly known as Second Life NL) has been silent since July.

A number of CEO's from virtual worlds have said to me that Second Life may have done the Virtual World industry a bad service while trying to ride that wave of media and corporate attention which now results in not just a fading hype, but the start of a real Meta Crunch. They may have a point, but in my opinion this is a needed shake-out. The space is getting too overpopulated with hundreds of startups trying to get a piece of the pie without bringing innovation into the arena. We've passed the "Yet another Social Network" stadium and moved into the "yet Another Social World" phase. Somehow the picture of the "Dungeon Master" came to mind, a wise old game-guide. We might need one to show us the way in the Metaverse and help us out of trouble.

It's turning into a grim story now, with the Metaverse being sucked up into a black hole. The universe had a big bang, exploded, expanded and now contracts again and diminishes into yet another very very niche market. Chris Williams at The Register put it quite boldly:

Last one to leave, turn off the flying penis

I don't think it is that drastic. It's time for a good old shakedown. Get rid of the cowboys that dream of getting rich faster than you can make instant coffee. There's tons of schools, universities and other institutions out there in the Metaverse (including Second Life) who are still exploring, still paving the way for the masses in finding cool, real and usefull applications of Virtual World technology. We just have to be patient. Explore, accept failure, rejoice in small victories. Keep it going. We'll get there, but have a long road ahead in which we must innovate.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Linden Lab writes out 10K innovation contest

Linden Lab are offering $10K for projects that improve real life through virtual world.

Linden Lab, the company that runs Second Life, just announced that they are launching a $10,000 (USD) "Linden Prize" for "an innovative inworld project that improves the way people work, learn and communicate in their daily lives outside of the virtual world." The criteria include:

  • Work in Second Life that also achieves tangible, compelling results outside of Second Life.
  • Distinctive, original work using Second Life that clearly demonstrates high quality, execution, function, aesthetics and technical sophistication.
  • Work that has the capacity for inspiring and influencing future development, knowledge, creativity, and collaboration both inside and outside of Second Life.

The price money offered is a substantial increase from previous initiatives (which in my opinion have been nothing but shameless crowdmining projects), including USC's "Public Good" challenge that offered $1,200 to three winning projects and the Foundation for Rich Content which has been providing small grants of $80 for projects that enhance Second Life in some way.

However, with 10K in the offering, I doubt it will be enough to attract larger real life businesses to compete and in the passing make a difference. For individual entrepeneurs and Metaverse evangelists, this might be a daring opportunity though.

Entries for this innovation contest are due January 19. See the Linden Prize site for further details.

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Sunday, October 12, 2008

Pure Magic at 7Days

Yesterday Second Life saw the official opening of the 7 Days Magic Bakery, which I visited with high expectations, mostly because Aleister Kronos already blogged this build and wrote:


"I have to say that I think the build quality and approach knock just about every other corporate build into a cocked hat. In large part this is due to the decision by involve3d, the builders, to execute most of the build work outside of Second Life, using Maya. The resulting structures and textures were then uploaded for final placement in the sim. The result is a spectacularly successful marriage of forms and detailed textures - which is my pretentious way of saying: it looks great!"

7Days is one of the brands of Greek Vivartia, a foodconglomerate, which mainly produces packaged dough foods.

The Vivartia Bakery and Confectionery Division (following the absorption of Chipita International S.A.) is active in the production and distribution of standardized foods principally with a flour base. Since the establishment of Chipita in 1973, the Division has experienced steady development with particularly successful products both on the Greek and international markets. Always maintaining faith in quality and constant innovation, the Bakery and Confectionery Division of Vivartia has developed strong market labels such as 7Days, Bake Rolls, Molto & Finetti, which consumers trust on a daily basis.

State-of-the-art technology, constant support and the company’s vision for development all contribute to the dominant position held in all markets where we are active. Beginning with the individually packed croissant in 1990, constant research and development, the company improved and broadened the range of dough based products. Innovative ideas have led to new products such as mini croissants, strudels, tsoureki (brioche) and many others.Aside from sweet snacks, however, savory snacks also constitute an important part of the Division’s line with leading products such as Bake Rolls and Pita Bakes. Finally, the Division is active in the realm of chocolate products and produces the savory snacks par excellence – potato chips and cheese puffs. [Vivartia website]

As I said, the official opening was not ontil yesterday, when at 10 p.m. they hit off with a spectacular launchparty. It's been a while since I've seen a launchparty by a corporate build in Second Life. This alone makes the sim noteworthy. At this point in (media) time most companies flee media attention when it comes to their Second Life presence, either because their presence will justly be criticized as they don't know what they're doing in Second Life, or because the media still does not understand the values of the virtual world. Last month I blogged about CIGNA, an insurance company, with a highly succesfull presence in Second Life, and this is indeed another corporate gem, ready to go into the Best Practises for Companies textbook for Virtual Worlds.

So much for the introduction, let's immerse ourselves in this experience and see what all the fuzz is about. Upon teleporting in I receive a neat Landmark introducing the sim:

"Come play with your food! Meet rebellious robots and maestro bakers! Design, eat and trade your own custom pasties! A rich, whimsical bakery theme park … there's lots to do!"

And indeed, a whole town surrounds the bakery. After landing and walking through the entrance we meet Chef Vivardi on the first corner to start of the background narrative.



Next to the Chef you'll see a small sign. When clicked, the narrative starts. You'll find these points of interaction throughout the sim.

Chef Vivardi comes to life here whose job it is to supply the world with wholesome foods. Without taking any mystery out of your tour, the narrative of the brand – wholesome snacks to fit modern lifestyles – is present without dominating. Most importantly it forms the starting point of the 3D story, framing the entertainment, social aspects and interaction. There are rebellious robots, undeniably adorable machines all around, media textures that add life, and movie-quality voice-overs and music. In my opinion the music just totally makes it all come together. [Linda Zimmerman at Business Communicators of Second Life]

Moving on to the terrace



Undoubtedly, the centerpiece of the sim is the snack factory, towering above the surrounding village at the center of the sim.



Inside the factory you can take place at the production line an produce your own 7Days snack. Start with choosing your flavour, then color, topping, packaging and mood and be on your way with a customized snack. The production line is an excellent piece of scripting.




The idea of depicting a production line in Second Life isn't new, see for instance the blogpost "Second Life Yummy Garden" in which I describe how Ben & Jerry's did about the same over a year ago, which also was a big success in my opinion. Anyway, there's lot's more to see. This is a highly recommended sim. Enjoy your travels.

SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/7Days%20Magic%20Bakery/182/116/45/?title=7Days%20Magic%20Baker

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Thursday, October 02, 2008

BT AvaTalk - TTYL

Sometime Mid 2007, at the height of the hype, we saw a number of telecom providers digging into Second Life. Now, these first wave pioneers are slowly moving away, such as Vodafone. Others still have got no clue as what to do in Second Life. When I talked to someone from KPN earlier this year, they were in Second Life, fiddled around, explored a bit, but couldn't find any real use yet. However, what they did do was setup a messaging center that could send SMS from SL to RL.

So, I was kind of surprised when I learned British Telecom ran a trial with inworld-outworld communications, a trialperiod which just ended though. They set up a splashing website called BT AvaTalk.


Interested to see where this would lead, I browsed the website to see where I could find BT in Second Life. Finally, I ended up in the FAQ section:

Where can I find the BT AvaTalk Phone Box?
You will only be able to find BT AvaTalk Phone Boxes in select number of exclusive Second Life regions

Well, that doesn't lead me anywhere either. Let's immerse then and seek out the goodies... The review at Digital Urban pretty much sums it up though:

The movie below provides full details into a service that we cant quiteunderstand - sure the main pull is that its free, but take away the free aspect and why would you ever want to call someone in the 'real world' from Second Life rather than just use a 'real' phone on your desk or a service such as Skype?



BT AvaTalk - Second Life - video powered by Metacafe

We tend to get a bit of flack at times for using Second Life in our research, but we fully believe that there is a strong argument for these collaborative environments in the realm of geographic and architectural visualisation. However, we still cant see why we would want to pick up the phone in Second Life to ring someone, as we obviously are not actually in the environment.

Perhaps we are missing something on this one...

I wouldn't be that sceptic either. I think it is a road we must pursue, even if it has no immediate use. Eventually it is about fast changing ways of communication. Who would have predicted we would stream microblogs to our mobile phone a few years ago? If we do move to a world like Second Life to do real business meetings calling in and out to the Real World might be very usefull for the ones left behind in a Traffic Jam, or could not be present for any other reason.

For now, it's TTYL (talk to you later) though, and I'll pick Orange as the most successful telecom provider in Second Life. There is activity there, for instance with the currently running Innovation Week.

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Friday, August 22, 2008

Why Virtual Worlds don't work....yet (part 1)

Two years ago I jumped enthusiastically into the Metaverse, with Second Life booming and media were eager to cover every company entering this particular Virtual World. The past year we've discovered -too the disappointment of many - that we were living the Gartner Hypecycle curve. At the close of 2007 I've pondered what was going on and what the challenges for 2008 would be. Due to family circumstances I've stepped back from the Metaverse for almost 6 months now and found some time to reflect on the industry. The title of this blogpost has been in my head for months, but only recently I was triggered to actually start writing it.

Virtual World Innovation

The trigger was the announcement of the Virtual World Newsforum and VW Conference Organisation announcing the introduction of the Virtual World Innovation Award. Although my good friend Christian Renaud (CEO TechIntelGroup) is on the jury, I have to be sceptical if I look deep down into my heart.

The thing is... There hasn't been any real innovation in this business for years.

Innovation in my book is a big thing. New breakthrough technology, new insights, exciting new products. When I look at the Virtual World Industry I see a whole lot going on. I see hundreds of new startups over the past year but truth is, I don't see real innovation there, despite the billions of dollars invested into the industry. If I were to nominate candidates for the Virtual World Innovation Award, there would be only three true Metarati: Neil Stephenson, Tad Williams and Ron Britvich , the guy from WebWorlds.

Stephenson, Gibson & Williams

Neil Stephenson is an obvious candidate. In the early 90's he wrote the novel 'Snowcrash' in which he pretty much invented the metaverse. I doubt there is anyone questioning the nomination of Neil Stephenson. A second name, often mentioned in the same breath, is William Gibson, author of the cyberpunk classic 'Neuromancer'. 'Neuromancer' was innovation, it was the start of cyberpunk, but it doesn't deal with the Metaverse, so despite popular believe, I wouldn't count Gibson in with the Metarati but rather fill that spot with the nomination of Tad Williams, author of the 'Otherland' series.

Both the novel 'Snowcrash' and the 'Otherland' series have created the image of the Metaverse and still hold some very interesting ideas, key elements that in my opinion could well open up a new window on Virtual Worlds. From these works we can learn what might work and what won't. Although both are quite dystopian in their full setting (a thing that happens a lot with novels dealing in the future), they do hold a promise, and in their dystopic setting a warning at the same time.

Dawn of the Virtual Worlds

Aside from the ideas presented by Stephenson and Williams, the first breakthrough in the field was in 1994 when Ron Brevitch created WebWorlds, predecessor of Active Worlds.

In the summer 1994, Ron Britvich created WebWorld, the first 2.5D world where tens of thousands could chat, build and travel. WebWorld operated on the Peregrine Systems Inc. servers as an 'after hours' project until Britvich left the company to join Knowledge Adventure Worlds (KAW) in the fall of that year.

In February 1995, KAW spun off their 3D Web division to form the company Worlds Inc. Britvich was eventually joined by several other developers, and the renamed "AlphaWorld" continued to develop as a skunk works project at Worlds Inc, internally competing with a similar project known internally as Gamma and publicly as Worlds Chat. While AlphaWorld was developing a strong cult following due in large part to Britvich's open philosophy of favoring user-built content, Worlds, Inc. favored Gamma for the company produced contract projects for Disney and others.

On June 28, 1995, AlphaWorld was renamed Active Worlds (from Active Worlds Explorer) and officially launched as version 1.0. Around this time, Circle of Fire (CoF) was formed to create content for the Active Worlds universe. This company played a pivotal role in the future of the product. [Wikipedia]

The creation of WebWorlds was innovation. Everything we've seen between 1995 and 2008 is merely spin off.

In this series of articles I'll try to explain why I haven't seen any real innovation and why I call everything since WebWorlds a mere spin-off, What the challenges of NVE's will be for the (near) future and why Virtual Worlds don't work yet.

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Friday, May 09, 2008

Me the Media - about me as well

Mid april the Sogeti Vint Institute released its latest book, called "Me the Media. Past, Present and Future of the Third Media Revolution".

VINT is Sogeti Group's New Technology Research Institute, founded as the Verkennings Instituut Nieuwe Technologie in the Netherlands in 1994. Currently VINT has offices in Amsterdam, Paris, Stockholm and Washington.

"Me the Media " investigates the exciting development of web media. It envisages a future of hyper-individualization, of ICTainment on top of ICTechnology, and of meaningful web conversations between organizations, customers and employees. Somewhere in the book you run into a picture of yours truly, both avatar and Real Life and referral to the MindBlizzard blog. On the Me The Media website you'll find a short outline of the book in English as well.

To get more info on the novel, sign up for the book presentation at the Vint Quarterly Technology Update in 't Spant in Bussum on May 13th.

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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Wipro Innovation = Redundancy?

Today's last expedition led me to te Wipro Innovation Isle (I guess it they'd love to abbreviate it to Wii - but that one's already taken in SL). For people working in the IT Services a well known name as it is one of India's giants when it comes to IT services.

"Wipro Tech is an information technology service company established in India in 1980. It is the global IT services arm of Wipro Limited (in operation since 1945, incorporated 1946). It is headquartered in Bangalore and is the third largest IT services company in India. It has more than 79,832 employees as of December 2007, including its business process outsourcing (BPO) arm which it acquired in 2002. Wipro Technologies has over 300 customers across U.S., Europe and Japan including 50 of the Fortune 500 companies." (Wikipedia)

Near the end of 2007 there were speculations of Wipro Technologies considering to take over Capgemini and thus Sogeti as well, but in the end it was a no show. The corporate website puts focus on 'applied innovation';

"At Wipro we have fine-tuned the science of viewing innovation through the lens of practicality to design unique solutions for end customers. Applied Innovation is the ability to infuse newer ideas and newer ways of doing things into all parts of the organization, and improve business outcomes, often without major disruptive change. It is a 360-degree business approach covering process, delivery, business and technology Innovations that help Wipro to work
collaboratively with clients for cost take-outs, speed to market and new business opportunities."

It is this theme that is the starting point for the Wipro presence in Second Life, which looks to be in the first stage of the experiment. It is a 3 sim cluster, of which only one is fully build, one only holding an expo stand and an empty sim.

Applied Innovation is the ability to infuse newer ideas and newer ways of doing things into all parts of the organization, and I can well imagine this applies to their Second Life expedition as well. I do believe we have to bring Virtual Worlds (newer ways) beyond the average marketing department (i.e. into all parts of the organization). The question remains how to do this.

Let's see if Wipro can bring the answer. The sim is filled with an assorted array of buildings, with two larger builds standing out. The first of these is the 'Learning Center' and is shaped a little like the Sydney Opera (not really, buyt you can see which building I'm referring to).



Please reread the lines on the triple sim: "One build, one half build, one empty." This is pretty much the case with the Learning Center as well. It holds two auditoria, and right outside there's an amphitheater. Also, at the second level it has several empty officerooms.



Further onto the campus we see various buildings, like a 'Client Engagement' building, a library and a datacenter each filled with several workstations / cubicles.



Finally I arrived at the second large building, a four storey square concrete office block which looked a little cramped when I walked into the hall and up the staircase. It made me wonder how much of the build is actually shaped like their real life offices... This building is labelled 'Offshore Development Center' and that is what interests me, what would bring innovation to the virtual workspace.


I was a little disappointed though when there were more rooms with workstations, and more and more. But no show. One of the great benefits I see for Virtual Worlds is what they potentially can do for the offshoring industry, as offshoring projects often require a lot of attention; extra management, extra communication, extra code checking etcetera and in the virtual workspace where you can collaborate while both in offshore and rightshore location would greatly aid this process.

Yet I'm fully aware of the limitations Second Life has in this regard. There's no real integration with development suites or management tools. Then there's always the issue of security. I can't really blame Wipro for not finding the solution for Second Life, but I had hoped for more info, more ideas.

The last redundancy in the sim was when I moved from the cantine inside the ODC to 'the Glacier', a cafe on the campus.

As for the build itself, I find it of average quality. It is a melee of textures (a lot of default SL texturing) and styles. As I said, I'm under the impression that part of it is based upon real life buildings, so maybe they had to work with what they had. Otherwise, I'd say the triple auditorium, the cramped staircases etcetera don't really utilise the 3D-ness of a virtual environment.

SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Wipro%20Innovation%20Isle/109/225/23

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Friday, February 29, 2008

Syntens Innovation Island

It's been a while since I came across a new Dutch build in Second Life, but here's one under construction. It's called Innovation Island (in Dutch Innovatie Eiland).

The island is an initiative by Syntens and aims to be a Second Life portal to innovative companies. A Robot welcomes you (in Dutch again) and explains about the island which is divided into several regions, each for a specific branche;



  • Construction
  • Agriculture
  • ICT
  • Logistics
  • Human Health
  • Industry

Then there is a knowledge region for Universities, TNO and the Dutch Telematica Institute and another region focusses on MKB (Small and Midcap companies) and innovation. The sim is far from completed yet, but it'll be interesting to see where this goes.





At this moment there's a farm in present and probable future shape, and a futuristic infrastructure on the island, but mainly it's occupied by spheres as placeholders for the various branches.
Syntens is an initiative by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs to aid Dutch companies in innovation projects.


SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Innovatie%20Eiland/151/113/24

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Thursday, January 24, 2008

Phil's pick on Virtual Business

Wednesday, January 9 Philip Rosedale wrote Year-end Updates, and thanks for the Emmy! on the Second Life blog. One particular paragraph interested me:

"There has been lots of speculation and skepticism in the media regarding the success that businesses are having in-world. I’d like to point out that most of the most visible media coverage has focused narrowly on attempts to use SL
for brand marketing.

In reality, the majority of the business use we are seeing now in SL is focused on meetings and collaboration, and is rapidly increasing as more companies discover the efficiencies and unique capabilities that working together in a virtual world can offer. As I’ve said in the past, I think Second Life is going through a natural evolution which mirrors other new communications mediums, as individual early adopter usage shifts to include education and work collaboration. As far as we can tell, education and work use is now growing at a larger relative rate than the overall growth of SL, so we can expect to see lots more of it in-world."

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Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Sogeti Kicks Off in Second Life

Earlier this evening I was present at the Sogeti Netherlands Kick Off party 2008 in the Heineken Music Hall. Over 2000 colleagues filled the hall to the max.

This years' kick off was titled Sogeti 2.0 and the keywords 'innovation' and 'participation'. Sogeti Netherlands is one of the leading IT companies in the Netherlands, so off course we used lots of web 2.0 stuff in the presentations. First of all, Sogeti CEO Jeroen Versteeg started the kick off from Second Life.

Contrary to previous years the CEO speech was not prepared in advance but was user generated as colleagues were asked not to turn off their phones but instead sms their topics for the keynote which generated the tagcloud below:

Menno van Doorn and Sander Duivestein of the Sogeti VINT research institute lifeblogged the event at the Vint.Sogeti blog (in Dutch) and a group of 32 Young Professionals who are currently at the Ohio University Without Boundaries (who also have a very strong SL presence) were plugged in through webstream and Second Life.

One of the fact-parts of the show was the financial and performance speech. We've had a great year and Sogeti Netherlands has grown 18% in 2007, outperforming every other Sogeti and Capgemini SA groupmembers by miles.

Right after closing the show, CEO Jeroen Versteeg took some time to chat with the Young Professionals in Second Life.


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Monday, January 14, 2008

The SLord moves in mysterious ways

2008 holds a promise...



That was about the last line of my previous blogpost. And it does. One of the most promising new startups is Clever Zebra, an initiative by master builder Lordfly Digeridoo and the guys from Metaversed and others (among which a bit of Sogeti).

But aside from this promise, there is something funny going on which makes me think the SLord moves in mysterious ways:



Clever Zebra, Stupid Metaversed?


Although the Clever Zebra project has my sincere sympathy, there's a thing nagging me, and that's Metaversed. Early 2007 57 Miles was blogging like crazy on the Metaverse, doing great stuff and turned it into a business. A sponsored blog with sponsored events. That's when trouble came to town. First there was a break-up with Prokofy Neva on the Second Rant, and now Metaversed is going down to provide space for Clever Zebra. I wonder how the Metaversed Sponsors will feel about this. What will happen to the MMI, the Metanomics and the Virtual Business Innovators. Projects like the Grid Safari and the Geek Meets weren't long lived either.

Onders Skall writes:

How can you close Metaversed?
We covered business in virtual worlds like nobody else. There wasn't a better place to go for coverage of this stuff. We just loved it.

Along the way Nick and I compiled a huge amount of information about business in virtual worlds. We studied the phenomenon like few have ever had the opportunity to, and our imaginations were constantly ignited. More and
more of our days were spent discussing what could and should be done in virtual worlds to help business. We began designing plans to change things and make them better.

We soon realized that we'd rather create products people want to talk about instead of talking about products others were creating. The thing is, you can't often make things happen by telling stories. You make things happen by...
well... going out and making them happen. So while we came across as much news and met as many incredible people as we had before, news reportage became an afterthought. We were chasing a dream: bringing change to the virtual world.

I can agree on this, but why tear down Metaversed? It isn't too smart to burn all your bridges before you've crossed to the other side. A whole lot of tantrum is created now about the Clever Zebra start up and the Metaversed blog has died a slow death over the past months. Fortunately, the guys over at Metaversed also see this:

Why part with a popular brand?
Yes, Metaversed became a beloved brand. That's why we had to close it. Without publishing regular news, it was becoming a shadow of its former self. There's nothing worse than a brand that was once great and has lost its shine. If it's a name to be remembered, it should be remembered as something great.

Some feel we could have kept the name and switched the business model. The problem with doing something like that, though, is that it's a bit disrespectful of the readers. Metaversed is a blog about business in virtual worlds. If it suddenly becomes an open-source virtual world company, well, it's no longer the same company. We'd by lying if we said it was, and we respect our readers far too much to do something like that.

Wello 3PointD Horld

Much of the same is going on at 3PointD, a former leader in virtual world news, where Mark Wallace is letting the blog beed to death posting Glitchy Links for months now without blogging anything usefull and working on a gigantic new start up, Wello Horld with metaverse guru Jerry Paffendorff. His sponsor, Electric Sheep Company probably can't be bothered at this time though as they seem to be focussing on a whole new industry according to the word on the street.



The naked sheep


The word on the street is that the Sheep are (co-) developing a new platform which will be a true adult world (i.e. Porn, XXX). I wonder what CBS and the producers of CSI:NY will think of this. Would they be willing to be associated with a company that's in the porn industry?

Now what is it with these companies in changing their objectives? Is it short term profits, or are they just Metaversal Cowboys that jump on every opportunity?

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Monday, December 17, 2007

Imagine Life Sweeter

I'm a regular citizen of Second Life; I'm handsome and smart ;) No really, I am. In real life I'm in my 30's and I work in the IT industry. The massive arms and broad shoulders of my virtual alter ego have gone in real life, its mass dropped a feet or two, just over the waist. Like many geeks and gamers I spend too much time sitting behind my computer, being immersed and drinking coffee or cola to stay awake. Eating too much pizza and working out too little. I'm probably the ideal person to talk to when you work at Splenda which deals in artificial sweeteners. And so they do. They have immersed in Second Life.

Their virtual setup is oh so sweet to look at, it's candy colored and cartoonesk like Ben and Jerry's, just a tad softer. Splenda hired Millions of Us to work up this virtual presentation and there are a few nice details.

I like the details on the cafe best, which is an overturned coffee-cup. It took a few second before I realized the terras in front of it resembled a pool of coffee flowing out of the cup. It's these little details that makes MoU one of the big names around - when it comes to building.



By themselves, each part of the island is carefully shaped. There are a number of things that go for entertainment, such as the milkshake-slide and the Lemon Ferris Wheel.



Finally, there's the current Second Life meme-thingP: a contest [sorry closed as of november 30] to draw in the crowds. The good thing about it is that it does work about it, and Spleda set up a splendid site to support it.


The bad thing about it is that it's Dozens of Them. As far as corporate sites go, there still isn't much variation in the set up. There's the cafe, the auditorium, the infostand and a fun gimmick, a slide through a milkshake straw, but no interactive display of its core business.

This setup would have had an impact when it had a storyline, interaction with the visitors, not about Splenda branding, but about its business: Keep your avvy healthy and fit.

For instance: Create a virtual game in which your avatar can replay his daily routine, log it, calculate the calories consumed and burned and extrapolate that to adjust the avatar size (aging, weight, disease).

SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Splenda/128/128/0

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Starfish and the Spider

Heliview organised a web 2.0 seminar today at the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht, titled "From Web 2.0 to Enterprise 2.0" It's keynote speaker was Rod Beckstrom, author of the Starfish and the Spider.


Below is the presentation he did at the Next Web Conference, which is pretty much the same story and same slideshow. Sit down and enjoy. It's good stuff.


Part 1: The Starfish and the Spider



Part 2: Geronimoooooooo!



Part 3: From centralized to decentralized business


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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Sibley's Keynote

I already blogged a few things that came by during today's convention sessions, but here's some more on the Keynotes.


The convention kick-off was presented by Sibley Verbeck, CEO of the Electric Sheep Company. Now everybody was exited about this CSI thing, but Sibley also said a few other noteworthy things.


He started with an overview of the industry. Here's a few pointers:


  • Lots of Virtual Worlds focus on special agegroups

  • Teen worlds are currently the most successfull when it comes to business returns.

  • We're still early in the game, but there are already some breakthrough sucesses.

  • Teen worlds are going to see brutal competition in the next year and a half.

  • Because of this competition and success, teenworlds are the spots where the innovation will be.

  • One businessmodel comes to taking existing teen communities and communications and add virtual components and value.

  • Other models will be build around sponshorship and advertisement

  • I'm missing VW's that take all and incorporate profiling and stuff.

  • In adult spaces a lot of technology has been developed, yet it's lagging in innovation.

  • In 5 to 10 years from now there will be more e-commerce in Virtual Worlds than on the World Wide Web.

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Thursday, September 20, 2007

Peugeot enters Second Life

Whereas many companies are still having first, second or third thoughts about entering Second Life, the automotive industry keeps the engine running. This month saw the arrival of another French automotive company, Peugeot, making it number 9 or 10 to immerse.

Quite in style with the latest trends the island is Logo-shaped, with the lion and the peugeot name. The island is dominated by a showroom which holds 2 floors and a roof.






The main focus of this venue is on the 308 RCZ, which can be found on the ground floor and outside on the racetrack.





On the second floor there's room for some concept cars and a presentation area, an auditorium.


The roof offers room for informal meetings and parties.





Throughout the sim is a deviously complicated racetrack, which basically is quite like the Mazda Hakaze track. Peugeot offers a freebie driving suit, but I couldn't get the 308 RCZ to actually drive.





Some bends looked rather impossible, but hovering about I found out that the track is actually a tunnel. Invisible walls and roof have been placed over large parts of the track.





To wrap it up, it's nice to see another automotive company enter Second Life. The build is neatly done, but it doesn't offer much to the community. It's just another track. Most interesting to me was to see the concept car room. There should be more to exploit on that theme.



SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/PEUGEOT/128/128/0

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

TU Delft: Putting SL to use

Yesterday I was triggered by an article in the Dutch (print) Magazine "Computable" on the activities of the Dutch TU Delft (Delft University of Technology). There's actually 2 things that triggered me. First was the presence of the TU Delft itself, which I've noticed several months ago but couldn't get in yet, and secondly an advanced importscript for importing technical drawings into Second Life.


FLOATING CITY

[text and images from this TU-Delft webpage]

"The Floating City is a concept for sustainable, innovative urbanization in a densely occupied delta area. The concept was developed by Deltasync 04, a multidisciplinary team of master and doctoral students at Delft University of Technology. It was awarded first prize in the international Royal Haskoning Deltacompetition, which was held October 2006."





In the near future, visitors to the virtual world of Second Life may come across a floating city with a TU Delft logo.

Uses of Second Life are becoming more serious
Until recently, virtual worlds were associated with entertainment, but now the emphasis is shifting more and more towards serious uses. This is why Dr. Igor Mayer from the Faculty of Technique, Policy and Management thought it high time the University made an appearance in this virtual world. Dr Mayer is a research worker and also one of the leaders of the project on Second Life which, according to him, “is a wonderful arena for promoting designs and inventions that originate in Delft. You may soon be able to travel around the campus in the submarine Wasub, or go kite-flying with one of Professor Ockels’ energy-generating kites.”

Floating city becomes campus
At the moment, a team of researchers from TU Delft are developing two islands – as the units of land are called in Second Life jargon. One of the islands is going to be transformed into a revolutionary campus, surrounded by virtual water – something which has never been done before. The TU Delft’s floating campus is modelled on the floating city idea.

The other island will be called Next Generation Infrastructures. Once it is has been completed, researchers will be able to experiment there with new interactive communication techniques. This island has the same name as a national research programme in the Netherlands that is focussed on new knowledge infrastructures and in which TU Delft is taking part.
Second Life is sustainable

The Second Life version of TU Delft aims to give its students and employees the chance to see how the University’s objectives are being accomplished. The theme ‘sustainability’ is particularly suitable for this purpose.

SLURL: (not open yet)



Importing 3D structures in Second Life

The main point of the Computable article was on importing technical drawings into Second Life. The Second Life Research Group has created a Maya script (MEL) which can translate 3D models into a textfile which can be read by the Thraxis Epsilon "Offline Builder".

"In the virtual world of Second Life, objects can be constructed from so-called prims (cubes, cylinders etc). By means of tools known as ‘offline builders’, it is also possible to import components from CAD (computer-aided design) programs such as Autodesk Maya and 3DStudio. However, these tools cannot convert complex or exiting models. Bart Roeffen, one of the members of the TU Delft Second Life Working Group, has written an import function which does allow the conversion to take place. Using Maya, every technically drawn object, such as a building or a car, can now be transferred to Second Life.

TU Delft is applying this import routine to the many eye-catching prototypes made by researchers and students for Second Life. These prototypes can then be demonstrated and experienced. TU Delft will make the script available to the Second Life community as soon as the TU Delft islands are opened at the beginning of September. This allows others to be able to use the import routine so that it can be developed further in other countries. Until this happens, we want to develop and expand the script ourselves.

At the moment, we are working on import routines for other packages such as 3D-Max and AutoCAD. We are also investigating how textures can be imported. The behaviour of objects cannot be imported so they will have to be programmed in Second Life for the time being.

For more information about the script, please contact Bart Roeffen, b.roeffen [at] deltasync [dot] nl"

Importing textures and working around large objects are the biggest challenges the SLRG faces at this moment.

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Monday, July 30, 2007

Capozzi branding hyperjump

Everything new gets dubbed 2.0 these days, upto and including the Financial Times writing on gospel 2.0 or the blogoshpere getting excited about Philantropy 2.0 or Fundraising 2.0. To state that this blogpost is about wine 2.0 or distilling 2.0 would not give credit enough to the sim I visited today...



This is a tale beyond a succesful immersion - even when the island hasn't seen it's final version and opening yet. This is a tale of creating a brand 21st century style in a 19th century business.



The business I'm referring to is that of making wine, a traditional profession that -at least in Europe- brings images of old, weathered farmers and old French chateau's. It's classic and romantic and absolutely non-tech-savvy. During the 20th century we have seen the rise of new wineproduction areas, like California, South Africa and New Zealand gaining popularity over the traditional French and Spanish wines. The popularity of these new wines are partly because these wineries use modern technology to create well balanced wines and of a more constant quality than the traditional French ones.



Here's a look at the Capozzi sim





To start off by calling this a hyperjump and getting all excited about it does raise some expectations. Why?



If you look at the sim -without its context- it's nothing special. It is a quality build, as expected when built by Chip Poutine of the Prion Design Group and the guys (and girls) over at Metaversatility. Lush green rolling hills house the winery and a path that leads through the various stages of the production process. Though totally different in design than the Ben & Jerry's factory in Second Life, it's the same concept. So why the buzz?






The buzz is that this is not a brand creating a virtual presence like "we've got to be there" but it is a grand design in creating the brand itself. The Capozzi winery was established in 2005 by Josh Hermsmeyer and really is a tale of crowdsourcing as it started off on the pinotblogger blog:



"On November 18, ‘05 pinotblogger was born. Its stated purpose is to “outline the long and painful processes involved in starting and building a family winery in the Russian River Valley. While we haven’t been at it very long nor has it been particularly painful yet, I’m 99.9% certain that at least one of these adjectives will correctly describe the project in the very near future (hopefully NOT painful and short though, as that would be sad)."



Meanwhile the Pinotblogger website has been been among the top 5 wineblogs in the world and gives a great insight in the business and starting up the new winery. The virtual presence complements this strategy. It's an all in, a 21st century marketing campaign from a traditional craft, that's a hyperjump.




Read more on the build of the sim at the http://www.simvineyard.com/ website, or visit it inworld: SLURL: http://slurl.com/secondlife/Capozzi%20Winery/121/235/37

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Saturday, June 16, 2007

Friday's Geekmeet: IBM-Intel-Sun

Friday's the night of the weekly Geek Meet at the home of Metaversed's 57. This weeks turned out to be übergeekmeet.

This first pic show me and Aleister sitting next to epradator, aside from us, and 57 we saw several other bloggers and journalists appear at the meeting, all curious to see what the übergeeks of IBM, Intel and Sun would have to say.
Here's a full wrap up of the crowd, filled with the Geeks, the guru's and the metapolitans.

Epradator, one of Second Life's big chieftains, heading the IBM tribe which has grown to about 6.000! members, blogger at the famous eightbar blog was to kick off the meeting giving us some inside information on wtf IBM is doing inside SL. Well, that's easy. Ian (epradator) works for the IBM CIO office, and is responsible for moving 330K people into a virtual workspace;

"the subject is using the metaverse for business and what are we up to that is not Second Life. Firstly I have to say that SL has been the catalyst for all this, many of us have tried to get things like this going for years so we are not in any way not supporting SL, but.... there is a need for corporates to be able to have secure intranets and on those intranets there is a willigness to have a metaverse now. Still some resistence of course but most of the time I get asked 'right can we have a secure meeting?' whereas it used to be 'what the heck are you up to playing games at work'. So we have moved from a skunkwork project with Algernon Spackler and I to a digital convergece emerging business unit"

IBM's ideal situation would be to create some unified communication standard between various metaverses;

"The trick then is to deal with the flow between all these virtual worlds, the underlying standards. So I think its fair to say we are less interested in building another SL, more interested in having more than one platform to then get talking to one another, dealing with property flow between the environments helping with open standards"

The second speaker was Parviz Peiravi (a.k.a. Core Stine), Intel's evangelist but SL newbie, and thus running only a short story on virtualisation;

"I think if we run SL on virtual infrastructures utilizing both virtualization and grid we will be able to handle much more audience."

Third speaker was Klaatu Niu, a Sr. Systems Engineer from Sun, who mainly tried to propagate Sun's networked.com to a crowd of SL addicts, so that was a little queer.

"What we at Sun have done is make avail to the public a large scale computational grid for anyone to run jobs on... Today.. its a batch oriented environement. but you pay only $1 US per CPU hour consumed we also allow you to publish for others to run .. and use your own applications there.. what I think . might be interesting. and something that I'm begging to investigate is ..can an SL object.. submit to our grid some processing needs and get the results back."

To the metapolitans present it wasn't a quick win, someone was quick to point out that Amazon's EC2 cloud only runs at $ 0.05 /hr and that large scale projects, such as Jerry Paffendorf's innovative Destroy Television experiment, streaming 99,000 pictures from SL to Flickr turned out to be quite expensive.

Most interesting point is that Sun tried hard to steer away from rumours over the alledged virtual world project codenamed MPK20.

I think it is pretty safe to say that Intel and Sun are still seeking a way into web 3D but still remain deeply rooted in the era of the Digerati, whereas IBM surely has moved on to the Metarati age.

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VeeJay's Facelift

Okay, in my previous post I blogged about the Cyberextruder's sim in which the company found another way to use its high tech facial recognition system. It's a fully automated system that scans a photograph and maps it in a texture. Everything else in the sim is just for the show, but makes up for a good laugh.


After the virtual processing tour I received a purchase number to go to the website and upload my picture. I send in just an ordinary pasport pic (the one you see in the final result pic) and here's what their software came up with:
So that's me huh?

And here's the final result. I think the texture is quite okay, I'm just having a hard time getting the shape of my head right... Guess I'm just having an impossible face there.
Well, you'll be the judge. Spot the difference I'd say, so I can tweak a little more.

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Thursday, June 14, 2007

Cyberextruder's Facelift shop

Here's another episode in the rise of the Metabrands as Cyberextruder comes to Second Life with a new über-cool Second Life service. One of the things I've noticed over the past months in Second Life is than many people are paying a lot of attention to their looks, some painstakingly tweaking their face until it does resemble their real life appearance.
Up till now it has been hard to get your real life face texturised and mapped on your face. I've experimented a little, but it would take a skilled person to make it look good, but ata Avatar Island you'll get it done the cyberway... automated laser surgery in freeky chairs ;)
Here's the island which has the main Laboratory and some free vendor sites for related avatar business, one of them is Cryogen Labs where you can pimp the rest of your avatar.


Well, mighty thanks to 57 who organised a trip to Avatar Island for the Things To Do group and got us free surgery (normal price at about l$ 2400, so close to 10 US dollar).
In normal plastics you're face swells up, gets bloody and messy and you're absolutely not allowed to laugh, talk cry, shout get angry or whatever. At Cyberextruders'nothing went really wrong, except SL went haywire, constant client crashes and forced client updates didn't really better my mood, so I barely dared look in the mirror.

Okay, SL is quite buggy'right now and is taking huge amounts of memory so I won't get into the report on my face job. That will have to wait until tomorrow.

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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Sogeti Netherlands receives Innovation Award

"INFORMATICA WORLD 2007, Orlando, Florida, May 1, 2007—Informatica Corporation (NASDAQ: INFA), a leading provider of data integration software, today announced the winners of the Informatica 2007 Innovation Awards at Informatica World 2007"

The Innovation Awards is one of the most prestigious prices to be won in the IT sector and this year's winning combination in the category Data Migration was a tie in. One of the two winning entries was the migration of Air France / KLM Cargo performed by Sogeti Netherlands while using its innovative Mikado migration approach.

In the Netherlands we alsways look towards the US of A when it comes to innovators, but this years list was going Dutch, giving accolades to Rabobank (Broader Data Integration), Achmea / Atos Origin (Integration Competency).
The award is one of many for Sogeti Netherlands which is constantly looking for ways to improve IT services and is responsible for many trendsetting IT servicing innovations, like TMAP (testing) and Inframe (Infrastructure Management)

Full press release here

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Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Digerati

Who are the "digerati" and why are they "the cyber elite"? They are the doers, thinkers, and writers who have tremendous influence on the emerging communication revolution. They are not on the frontier, they are the frontier.

The digerati evangelize, connect people, adapt quickly. They like to talk with their peers because it forces them to go to the top of their form and explain their most interesting new ideas. They give each other permission to be great. That's who they want to talk to about the things they are excited about because they want to see if it plays. They ask each other the questions they are asking themselves, and that's part of what makes this cyber elite work.

See: Edge

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Emerce on Second Life

Emerce is a source of inspiration for Dutch innovators. The magazine (part of the VNU group) is considered to be one of the leading business publications when it comes to new technology. When it comes to Second Life, Emerce was one of the first magazines in the Netherlands to pick up the trends with reports starting back in summer 2006.


In September 2006 they opened up shop in Second Life as well, at the Emerce island. The island is dominated by the old Van Nelle (coffee and tobacco) office in Rotterdam


As for publications (in Dutch)

Other Second Life publications by Emerce: here

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Burnett impresses

Leo Burnet (1891-1971) was an advertising executive who brought us the Marlboro Man, 7Up, Toucan Sam and Charlie the Tuna, images from commercials you'll always remember. The Burnett company has lost several major clients in the past years like Cadillac and the US Army. Burnett was said to be too 20th century and conservative.

I'm no decision maker for Cadillac (their loss of course...) but I'd seriously rethink that strat. Burnett in SL is one of the few business sims that really impress me with original design.
The scenery is magical and the textures very detailed. A great build by Millions of Us.

(oh... if you've missed it, the auditorium is inside the huge tree and yeah, it's me doing my Sinatra impression in the auditorium)

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