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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Thursday, January 24, 2008

1st Metaverse Meetup - Amsterdam

At exactly 0.00 I returned from Amsterdam where I attended the first Metaverse Meetup (Amsterdam Edition) in "De Balie" which was initiated by Joja Dhara and Ze Moo.

As this was a first meetup, apropriately themed "Meet the Avatar", the most timeconsuming event was the introduction round, but on the other hand it was nice to know who was who. We saw representatives from several MDC's such as Jeroen Frans, Executive Director of the Vesuvius Group (the guys that brought us Google in SL), Damian Simmons of Lost in the Magic Forest (Content, Essent, Aegon) and Up the Vortex (blog), and on the corporate present there was 'moi' for Sogeti, and people from ING (Our Virtual Holland), KPN and Philips Design, researchers from EPN, bloggers like Roy Cassini from Digado and excellent freelancers such as Ollie Kubrick from Unreal Design.

And off course, Bart DutchX, Founder of the Dutch Echange was present. I seem to run into him at about every metaverse related event these days. The Linden Lab banking ban doesn't seem to affect his business, as it is still expanding and they're hiring new people and adding new payment methods continuously.

As it was the first meetup I won't do an assesment of the contents of the meetup, as it was primarily a networking event tonight. I hope we'll get to discuss hot metaversal topics in the future.

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Monday, July 16, 2007

Holland SL: KPN

Another Dutch company opened shop in Second Life, this time it's the eldest Telco company of the Netherlands, KPN. Their sim is half finished, but already heavily used by KPN employees.

The Dutch Secondlife.NL blog reports that KPN employees went out to STRIKE on the SL island to get better working conditions and salary.
The build is centered around the KPN logo, 3 colored domes, of which only the green one is in use yet. The others are under construction. Inside the green dome a few standard features; info and auditorium things, a few gadgets like waterski's.

A nice feature is the Text Messaging Gadget which allows you to send 3 SMS text messages to first life at the price of L$ 150.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Dutch Law wont Block Second Life

Dutch tech webzine reports that the Dutch Minister of Justice won't force ISP's to block childpornography sites. A special note is made that the Justice department wont fix laws on 'virtual childporn' in Second Life either.

Earlier this it was reported that provider UPC would block a number of websites, in accordance with a list supplied by the KLPD, the national Police departments. Not much later KPN went along too. In March there were questions asked on virtual (child) pornography in the Dutch parliament.

Now the minister said that the providers have shown to be social consious and he does not deem it necessary to come up with regulation.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Into the Arena

AJAX Amsterdam - one of the most famous names in the sport - opened up an island in Second Life yesterday. The build work, which is to a high standard, has been carried out by Nemesis Content Creation, the team behind innovative inworld game ideas such as Numbakulla, a Myst-like game deployed in SL. Reading about the site in other blogs, it seems that the Dutch telco KPN may be is a co-sponsor.I guess it should come as no surprise to find the site is dominated by a football stadium (the arena), that is an uncannily good simulation for their RL stadium. I know there is a War of Virtual Aesthetics in parts of SL, between those who believe it is good and healthy to import RL buildings into SL, and those for whom it is a complete abomination. Personally, I hate the zealotry coming from the more extreme factions in this "war". In my view, if you have an iconic building in RL, then flaunt it in SL - provided you do it justice. I think the Nemesis team have done a great job in transforming the RL stadium in to SL. Certainly the grass seems to be in better shape than the RL

Special thanks to Aleister Kronos

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