Friday, November 07, 2008

Virtual Worlds "Second Coming" Article

Web Watch writer Tim Ferguson has penned an analysis of the current and future states of virtual enterprise in an insightful article at In it, he forwards the notion that the initial failure of enterprise to capitalize on the technological advantages VE can offer was due to a hasty misread of the tools' capabilities and potentials, the very same sentiment I heard at SLEDcc08 from our pal Sarah Robbins. At that Tampa, Florida conference, she said that "corporations should stop whining that there's no potential just because they didn't do it right." That's the quote to the best of my memory, and that's pretty much what Ferguson has to say today. His is a fascinating summary and well worth a read. From the article:

Organisations are discovering myriad ways to benefit from virtual worlds.

The first and perhaps most obvious is collaboration. This includes holding real-time meetings in the worlds with each member participating via an avatar. It can be a big cost saver, as it removes the need to fly workers around the globe.

Virtual worlds can also help teams spread across several locations work together and co-ordinate projects.

The virtual world Qwaq, for example, allows users to create rooms that can store documents relating to a project, and where team members can meet up to share those documents and discuss the project using their avatars, IM and even VoIP.

I took a quick look at Qwaq, and it looks like a solution for companies to isolate their involvement in the 3Dinternet to collaborational meetings (which is certainly a nice market niche, but not necessarily one that will enable broadly innovative uses of virtual environments). It's also pricey, imho, when with a little flexibility an existing platform like Second Life can be used for similar purposes. I'll investigate more fully and report out. Perhaps a Qwaq-er could comment here in response and elucidate further?

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