Total Immersion – Augmented Reality in action

As you know Augmented Reality is a bit of an interest and the blending of real and virtual as I put together with artag I just got sent the link to Total Immersion(thanks Tony), who have some great technology and ideas integrating real and virtual content. Go and see their video’s here, it shows what is commercially possible

In the presence of….

At the analysts conference here in Lisbon it turned out that Jeff Jonas, a bona fide internet celeb was also presenting a stack of 1:1 sessions. I had not read name tags but he was hanging with monkchips.
Now I often talk about the clever its of entity analytics, in particular the fact that the fact you ask a question of a dataset is data itself. A very clever and obvious idea, once you hear it. So ask a question and get ‘no’, someone else asks the same question and “hey something is going on here” a massive over simplification but worth thinking about. I will leave it to Jeff to do his thing.
So Grady Booch and Jeff Jonas have both had the pleasure of epredator’s company the last the few weeks. It feels like fanboy time πŸ™‚
The really interesting thing though is Jeff’s articulation of left column thinking here, take a look and shout, oh that’s eightbar turf !

Analysts Insights 07 – More metaversal evangelizing

I just had to blog this here. I am about to go into 2 days of analyst briefings here in Lisbon. The event covers everything IBM does with lots of speakers, lots of analysts. The poster is up everywhere in the hotel. Now the venue is great, but this poster gave made me let out a little cheer.
analysts insights
The picture 2nd from the right is the cropped version of our CEO SJP meeting Irving (IWB) back in November in China last year in Second Life. The really cool thing is that right at the back in the shot there is my suited avatar that I used for the occasion and standing in front of my is Algernon (Roo). Its like a little Alternate Reality Game clue, a little white rabbit that I can pull out in the presentations and discussions. I was there and this really did happen.
This is the venue
Also rather ironically in a joined up everything is linked type way the garden has a chinese pagoda, not a full forbidden city look but I could stand there and think back to the virtual event that made a whole lot of difference to things.
Feel free to take a copy and paste in your own avatars.
The real and the virtual intertwined even more than ever, and thats with the wetware API that we provide as humans fuelling the linkages, wait till the code starts throwing more real to virtual messaging around.

VWF Europe 07 – Vibe

Whilst we gather our thoughts and the various bloggers and twitterers catch their breath I thought I would post this completely amateur camera walk about featuring the venue of the VWFE 07. You can play spot the metarati. I was not going for anything in particular and I only had a few moments to walk around, as the rest of the time was talking with people, lots of press and customers as well as the biz.
I do like the fact I have Roo and Cory Doctorow in first, Roo also featured in the programme on the same page as Lord Putnam.

I will say that it was a good event, I certainly noticed a difference in the range and depth of questions, the understanding of where we are all going. I know Richard Bartle finished the sessions warning of us not forgetting the reason we have virtual worlds, not to remove the spirit from them, but I think that many of us agree and are not going to let that happen.
In fact in answer to those comments it si worth looking at this Global Innovation Outlook 3.0 where Irving says “In virtual worlds, it’s less about consumerism, and more about expressionism.”

VWF pre-conference workshop

Both Ian and I are (for once) in the same place for much of this week at the Virtual Worlds Forum conference. I’m actually speaking at the ‘harnessing enterprise virtual worlds‘ pre-event workshop today, as part of the following lineup:

  • Steve Prentice (Gartner) – What are enterprise virtual worlds?
  • Ron Edwards (Ambient Performance) – Harnessing the advantages of enterprise virtual worlds
  • Dele Atanda (Diageo) – Case study (their work in Second Life with Rivers Run Red and IBM)
  • Roo Reynolds (IBM) – Building a community within a (big) company
  • Chris ‘Satchmo Prototype’ Carella (Electric Sheep Company) – Understanding the human factor
  • Sara De Freitas (Serious Games Institute) – The impact on education

Here are my slides. I’ll try to add the audio track later today. You might want to open the presentation itself and click the “comments on slide x” tab to see the speaker notes.

A nice warmup for the conference and it was really good to meet Chris/Satchmo face-to-face for the first time.

VW Forum Europe 2007 – Its very very soon

Now that the jet lag of San Jose is passing it is time to tell you all about the next conference coming up next week. The VW Forum Europe 2007 is taking place in London Tuesday 23rd-Friday 26th
IBM is a founding sponsor along with Rivers Run Red and
Yes we will be there a whole bunch of the original UK eightbar crew.
On Tuesday 23rd Roo will be presenting at the optional pre-event on building communities in enterprise scale virtual environments. The story of eightbar.
On Thursday 24th I will be on a panel

Panel: Harnessing the power of virtual worlds for corporate collaboration

* Virtual offices
* Management of distributed teams
* New development models
* Fast prototyping
* R&D

Greg Nuyens, CEO, Qwaq
Steve Prentice, Group Vice President and Chief of Research, Gartner
Ian Hughes , Metaverse Evangelist, IBM

Moderator: Mike Butcher, Editor, TechCrunch UK

We will of course have an IBM booth that anyone can come along and meet us and talk about all of this. With some of the wider team coming over from the US too.

Paul Ledak will be over for the event and givin a Keynote on Thursday too
Keynote: Cross-world, cross-platform; how close are we to a multi-world integrated framework?

* Do virtual worlds drive real business value?
* What is the requirement for a new set of standards?
* What is the impact of the increasing number of worlds?
* What business requirements are emerging?

Paul Ledak , VP, Development, IBM Research

The full conference programme is here

There are a lot of good sessions and a glittering body of metarati with lots to say and share on the subject. As much as I like California, this is our home turf and only 60 miles from Hursley where we are proud to say out involvment in all this started back in April 2006. The time has flown, there is still much to do but gatherings like this is where the magic happens.

San Jose VW 2007 Conference Roundup

***Update For a really in depth post and some great pictures (something lacking here for some reason) check out Tish’s post over on Ugotrade

As I am sitting waiting for my flight back to the UK, and as I have a few minutes of battery life left I thought it worth putting down a few thoughts on what went on at VW2007.
The biggest and most awe inspiring part had to be the kick off. The announcement by the creator of CSI that he and the Electric Sheep were partnering on an immensly large project taking the $6billion dollar franchise of CSI into Second Life. Regardless of whether you watch CSI or not this is a media innovator joining forces with a virtual worlds innovator. It is at these sorts of intersections good things happen. Also, it is really extending the narrative of the programme, not, as we see with game and film ties ins a seperate property that usually does not work.
The story will blend into SL, out of SL, with RL and with fictional characters. Visitors will have several levels of engagement from simple related puzzles ot a deeper investigative path in the story. It is by its very nature temporal, to fit in between important TV episodes. It is blending with the world of Alternate Reality Games and mainstream very popular television too.
This is another one of those events that will put virtual worlds into peoples lives, even if they do not dive in, they will notice, and far more than a traditional advert.
There was a slight concern I had over the potential other product placement, but as with product placement in games, when in context it works.
The other great thing about this conference was the size, it was significantly bigger in both Expo terms and tracks of dicussions than the previous one.
The IBM booth, which was a stand and 2 offices that were rezzed on the floor was a very well trafficked place. The entire team spent the entire time talking to people. Our partners at Icarus had an even more impressive set up, with a 2 story stand and a live motion capture streaming into a virtual world demonstration. This was amusing just for the fact that the girls demoing it were wearing the mocap ping pong ball suits for the cameras to triangulate their position, but the avatars looked perfectly normal. Sort of the wrong way round form what we normally experience.
All the major players were there, with the exception of Linden Labs and Rivers Run Red. Linden really did not need to have a stand as lots of people were doing their PR for them πŸ˜‰
Our stand we had both SL, Active Worlds and the IQ Metaverse (the torque based one). We also have Jacques from the SMB media and entertainment and the guys from Vivox there. There was another part to the stand over with Icarus and that was where Peter Finn set up shop with his alpha demo of blending virtual worlds with a browser. That needs a whole post in its own right of course.
I had a good chat with most of the stands, though it is amazaing how little time you end up having when you are talking to press, analysts and bumping into the metarati that you know from in world and on Twitter.
The pitch I did with John from CMP went veyr well. We split it into 2 slots one after the other and I threw in my 9.4 years wasted each week by us waiting on telecons starting figure, which has made a few press write ups.
The majority of the session was Q&A. We both gave in depth answers. In particular I was explaining the story of eightbar, and how letting go means good things can happen and that my fellow IBMers and our extended set of contacts and friends now in this new industry could not have happened any other way.
We had lots of conversations around the various consortium meetings and press releases (as Roo blogged about previously).
Millions of US did a good announcement with a veyr nice machinima taking the Scion City a bit further, and notably also into a more ARG type of territory.
Christian from Cisco also did a good pitch where he name checked a whole lot of people (including our very own Roo Reynolds). The theme was that this is all getting big, but its still very small. That sounds a bit negative but the small was in terms of earth population. So the basis was that we need to all work together to grow. Which is great as thats been my position on this since day one πŸ™‚
One of the most striking things I am taking away is some words that our very own Sandy Kearney used. In here leading into the business track presentation to kick us all off she referred to the fact we had moved from the information age to the conceptual age. Just as we had problems adjusting from industrial to information ages where the nut and bolt did not map to the bits and bytes, the conceptual age requires a different mentality and approach. I feel that I understand that, it is en extension of the Web 2.0 mentality yet much more once you dwell on it.
It was also interesting to talk to Jerry and Mark and Christian about Wello Horld, their new startup. They have a great logo with a turtle and the workd as its shell. Other than that they were very tight lipped, or non-committal (and with good reason I suspect) on what they are doing. It was a bit of a viral discussion as we all pieced together the various jobs on linkedin, the fact Mark Wallace had a suit on and snippets of conversation. Either way, gossip is good and I wish them luck.
Finally I was impressed by what the scenecaster guys have been up to, again that needs to be a seperate post. Its not MMO, but it is 3d and user generated with the potential to build on others work too. Spin had been raving about it so thats always a good sign. You can check him signing out of the conference in my little youtube post over on
So, great conference, great people and more importantly still great and growing potential.
Rather like a good sport though we get to do this all again in 1.5 weeks in London at VWF Europe. More on that later too… I have a plane to catch.

IBM, Virtual Worlds and Standards – a roundup

Although I’m missing the conference in San Jose this week, I am watching the breaking news from the event with rabid interest. First, we have the news itself. There was the official IBM release of course, and it hit the official Linden Lab blog too.

“Linden Lab and IBM will collaborate on integrating virtual worlds and the current Web, improving the stability of the platform, increasing interoperability, securing transactions, and bringing us closer to the creation of universal avatars.”

Next, there are the people reporting the news. The organisers of the current conference in San Jose covered the story on their blog, pointing out the highlights, which are:

  • Universal Avatars
  • Security-rich Transactions
  • Platform stability
  • Integration with existing Web and business processes
  • Open standards for interoperability with the current Web

The Reuters story (carried by a huge number of news sources) also had summary and quotes from Colin Parris (the VP in charge of this stuff at IBM)…

An open system would let people create one avatar that would keep the same basic appearance and customer data no matter where it was in cyberspace.

“It is going to happen anyway,” said Colin Parris, IBM vice president of digital convergence. “If you think you are walled and secure, somebody will create something that’s open and then people will drain themselves away as fast as possible.”

Now, we have the analysis, which gets really interesting. Read/Write Web asks “Is the move towards interoperability a meaningful announcement and what kind of future could it lead to?, inviting Wagner James Au, Barb Dybwad and Eric Rice to share their thoughts.

On the more tongue-in-cheek side, Nicholas Carr asks “Can I bring my flame thrower into Second Life?” predicting that “About five minutes after the gates come down, all the residents of Second Life will have been made the slaves of powerful Warcraft clans.” which is hilarious, but perhaps intentionally misses the point slightly.

Aleister Kronos says

“Don’t lose sleep over this in your excitement, boys and girls. It will take a little while to arrive. The point is that this is now out in the open, following months of speculation – and the parties involved go beyond just IBM and Linden Lab. I understand that at least 20 companies were represented at last night’s meeting”

Which is a really good point. This is far bigger than just an IBM + Linden Lab announcement; the discussions and announcements happening at the conference are rather larger and more exciting even than that. And just as well too, because Bobbie Johnson at the Guardian Unlimited rather hits the nail on the head:

“I don’t really want my avatar to move between a series of closed virtual environments: I want a single, linked virtual environment that I can move around freely.”

And that’s exactly where we need to take this goal of interoperability and standards in virtual worlds. A nod towards standards is not enough. To allow virtual worlds to inter-operate will require the whole industry (including initiatives like the Metaverse Roadmap and the Architecture Standards Working Group to name a couple) to help in building partnerships, agreements and standards.

The Unofficial Tourists’ Guide to Second Life – factcheck

My friend Nick was kind enough to lend me his copy of The Unofficial Tourists’ Guide to Second Life by Paul Carr and Graham Pond, and couldn’t help point out a few interesting inaccuracies as he did so.  Here is my open letter to the authors, in order to correct some minor problems…

Page 115 – 116 (under ‘Shopping and commerce’), the history of IBM in Second Life is told. IBM’s CEO is named as Edward Palmisano (that would be Sam, actually).

“At the time of writing, the IBM island Hursley, is being kept strictly under wraps, so we’ll have to wait and see what IBM has in mind for its vast virtual market.”

I can only assume the wording must have been written a while ago, since we’ve been quite open about what goes on at Hursley island since September 2006 and the IBM cluster of sims since December 2006.

Even worse…

“Incidentally, the vast majority of groups in Second Life are free to join. Because it’s not about money – it’s about community. IBM Employees Worldwide, however, costs a Linden tenner. Make of that what you will.”

What I make of it is that ‘IBM Employees Worldwide’ is by no means the official IBM group, or the only group for IBMers. Searching Second Life for ‘IBM’ groups gives an amazing array of groups but not all of them have been created by IBM or even IBM employees. In fact, anyone can create a group, and while the goal of bringing people together is a good one it’s unfortunate that there’s a joining fee. Personally, I would never join a group in SL that charged for the privilege.


Page 219 (under ‘Useful Second Life websites’) gets listed. Yay. Embarrassingly, it’s introduced as

“The home of Roo Reynolds, the man tasked by IBM to spend much of his first life in Second Life…”.

Eek. Eightbar is very much a group effort, but I can’t let that introduction pass without pointing to Ian ‘epredator’ Hughes, by far the most prolific writer here on Eightbar. Introducing this blog as “the home of Roo Reynolds” is true, but gives a very incomplete picture. Anyone who knows the story of Eightbar will know that it was Ian who got me excited about virtual worlds and since the earliest days he’s been a hugely influential part of Eightbar and IBM’s work in Second Life. He’s also the guy behind Wimbledon in Second Life, something for which I somehow also get credit in the same paragraph.

Other than that, it looks like a relatively interesting book. I shall pick through it properly soon. It’s always going to be a challenge to create a rough guide to such a diverse place as Second Life, but Paul and Graham do a decent job of covering some of the interesting areas. It manages to introduce the subject of Furries, Svarga, Dublin, Darfur, Jessie, Luskwood, Gor, Tringo, Aloft, Midnight City, Pontiac/Motorati, Copybot, Teledildonics, and lots more besides.

For future reference, I’m always happy to proof-read any copy that authors are thinking of writing about IBM in virtual worlds. πŸ™‚