At Reuters there is a story of IBM moving into virtual worlds such as Second Life – with a considerable budget:
IBM is ramping up its push into virtual worlds with an investment of roughly $10 million over the next 12 months, including an expanded presence within the popular 3D online universe Second Life.
Now that is scary. Considering the still relatively small size of SecondLife, such an investment seems enormous. On the other hand, people already spend almost $1 mio. per day. (I had to check twice, coz I couldn’t believe it!) And who knows how much they’ll really spend in Second Life?
Apparently they have been active in this space already:
IBM has already established the biggest Second Life presence of any Fortune 500 company. It uses the world primarily for training and meetings but has also built a simulation of the Wimbledon tennis tournament.
One thing I found interesting, as further on they write about the adoption of VR within the regular internet user base:
„The essence of e-commerce today is built around the idea of catalogs. That’s very useful, it fits with the idea of Web pages and catalog pages, but most people don’t think of shopping in terms of catalogs and pages, but in terms of stores that they go into,“ said IBM chief technology strategist Irving Wladawsky-Berger.
Well, I don’t necessarily agree with what Irving is hinting at. Switching on the computer and logging on to a virtual world still isn’t the same as visiting a real store to go shopping. Not with todays user interfaces anyway, which lack 3D presentation and have no haptic sensation at all.
But I am sure we will get there. It’s just a matter of T&T (time&technology), as always. And most likely we’ll someday smile when we look back at the days when we had to surf the net with screens, mice and keyboards, moving in a two-dimensional space with most of the content displayed in writing. I hope I will remember to link back to this post, once this has become reality.