Jan. 22, 2007 SDF IBM Virtual Worlds

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On Monday, January 22 2007 at the Pillsbury Winthrop Silicon Valley Office, SDForum’s Virtual Worlds SIG hosted IBM’s Dave Kamalsky and Doug McDavid, who talked about their adventures in virtual environments.

Virtual environments like Second Life have developed thriving communities of users socializing, buying and selling to one another. IBM is developing a large presence in this new area. While IBM has created virtual stores for Sears and Circuit City, it has moved beyond simulating a retail experience.

IBM has a network of conference centers with high-speed connections, which allow the kind of videoconferencing once seen in science fiction movies. What if the virtual experience could be applied to business conferences? They now have virtual meeting centers on an archipelago of islands they purchased in Second Life.

Dave Kamalsky of the IBM Almaden Research Center talked about the growth of virtual environments and how it coincides with economic growth patterns for previous technology deployment. He thinks we are seeing the beginnings of practical widespread application of virtual technology.

Doug McDavid of the IBM Academy of Technology talked about bridging the gap between business people and technologists, creating the role of business transformation architect. He develops new methods of rehearsing services techniques for clients so they can have better success with customers.

IBM’s internal virtual community has over 1500 members. They deal with issues that the rest of us will face. Security and privacy issues, intellectual property and business rules are still being worked out. Money laundering between real virtual currencies recently became a concern. Even gender identity and appropriate business attire are still up in the air. For instance, can an avatar working for your company wear provocative clothing? Can they appear as dragons or trolls? Do you have a right to personal and professional identity? Where do you draw the line? This freedom to change virtual identities and environments could provide extraordinary opportunities for people to live and work.

Corey Bridges and Ron Meiners of Multiverse helped organize the event and Bob Ketner of StudioSFO.net recorded the audio for podcast.
Copyright 2007 DJ Cline All rights reserved.

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