My take-aways from the Virtual Worlds Conference in Silicon Valley, October 10-11, 2007

I am just recovering from the virtual worlds conference and I wanted to get down some notes before I lost track of the context in which my notes originated.

This was a phenomenally interesting conference and I was very surprised at how many virtual worlds and companies that work within them were represented. The Creator of CSI, Anthony Zuiker
talked about how there will soon be a choose your own adventure type of interactive entertainment that connects the TV show with a virtual world. It was apparent to me, from this conference, that games are going to take over the mass media, but little in this conference had to do with nonprofits and education.

The most interesting session was on enterprise social economics in virtual worlds; led by Sandy Kearny, Global Director 3-D internet environments and virtual business, IBM.

Here are the most relevant highlights of what she said:
Virtual worlds are unique because they provide the opportunity to take work to the people, they can be anywhere in world, and she focused on a hybrid environment, a model where the virtual world will not replace the regular meeting, but instead, in will augment it.

The overall buzz word of the day was Interoperability. Before we can push 3-d environs into the mainstream, they need to be interoperable, easy to use and easily integrated with the traditional web. People were asking what are the enabling aspects to get virtual worlds to work in tandem with other online social networks? In order for virtual worlds to take the mainstream communications by a storm, they must be usable, easy. The future holds a need to be mobile, easy to access and use.

To IBM Interoperability means integration–IBM has an Intraverse, built on active worlds platform. This is instead of a traditional intranet. They cited a Metanomics conference, they had a mixed reality event like we did. Apparently, not many people do this successfully.

Pioneers need to team up together. How can we simplify SL? We need to go after what is universal and generic. That is, virtual worlds need to follow narrative, be easy to use and generic enough to work with most computers and users.

What I found fascinating was how many companies outside of SL are doing this well, but are not open or interoperable enough to work within SL. Proton Media and Active worlds are two fantastically complex virtual worlds companies that are enterprise ready but not interoperable, active worlds supports 400 avs in one sim.

We are now less likely to just concentrate on where to put knowledge, but now we can see if people have rated it and allow them to change it. This is relevant with the open standards of virtual worlds and the open-sourcing of SL.

The overarching problem that was cited was again, just like at SLCC, not being able to track metrics in virtual worlds (with traditional tools).

Virtual worlds will enable organizations to travel from here to there and proceed with work on a much faster pace, having access to in-house experts without having to go F2F., conferences, events.

Robin Linden gets the prize for the best quote in the conference, in her session with, she said:
By pretending to be someone else, you can learn to be more of who you are. Value in anonymity. She cited the issue of building trust. As SL will be going towards portable ID, you will be able to bring aspects of your real life with you. Some of us already do this, with our SL, Facebook, Twitter and Myspace identities all merged and intertwined. When things get interoperable, however, this will become more relevant.

The questions that remain in my mind are: should we be looking to do this work outside of Second Life and how can we look at out of world mechanisms to drive people to our events in-world? There must be more than just posting on koinup or facebook, but what are the other ways that we can be interoperable? And finally, how can we go beyond just replicating what we do in the real world and reach beyond the replication of regular, RL meetings to have events that will take advantage of the tool in engaging, fun and creative ways? We have learned that needs to be a focus, something to do in virtual worlds, but I am still wondering what the best way is to find that focus.

Written by: Glitteractica_Cookie