Services, PLM, Virtual Worlds, multi-million deal

We are just seeing some rather good news for the virtual world industry stating “IBM today announced it has signed a multi-million IBM Global Business Services agreement with the Fashion Research Institute (FRI) to implement a first-of-a-kind Virtual World Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) Enterprise System.” The full story is here on marketwatch
It is really good news and I am very excited for the team that have been working so hard on this from both companies. We reported on it a while back when it appeared on the street which may have not shown teh full extent of the emerging partnership.
Well as its out on the wires now that all looks good to me and I know that everyone in the entire industry is excited, this is credibility and growth and innovation.
Over at the rebang blog there is also some discussion of Virtual Product Life Cycle Management too.
It’s not quite 3d printing, but very closely related to the entire product life cycle and delivery using virtual worlds. Who would have thought it eh>

Unconferencing in the Hospital for VWF

Rob and I travelled up to London today to take part in the last minute, but very worthwhile, unconference for the Virtual Worlds Forum. It was held at the Hospital club in London.
The venue was very busy and buzzing with people all willing to share, network and present.
Unconferences are probably very scary to many people. The agenda and direction forms dynamically, based on what the visitors want to cover. Generally any of these are attended by the interested and the dynamic, not the apathetic.
This one worked very well. We had a matrix on the wall, done with masking tape and added postit notes for the agenda.
I added top left session 1 a discussion of 3d printers and the future of manufacturing. Whilst a small attended session the important thing was the attendees really wanted to discuss this.
Ann Marie from Anarkik3d was at the session and Mark Simpkins. Hi to you guys. Mark had a clear interest and researched background (and knows Roo ). Ann Marie designs jewelry and works with haptics and virtual environments. Check out the videos on the Anarkik3d website its very exciting work.
Rob did a session on intraworld messaging with pub/sub (MQTT) opensim and unity and got a major power gathering including Linden Lab and of course Adam Frisby a driving force in Opensim from Deepthink(note correction apologies Adam 🙂 ) who was wearing a t-shirt.
Unity3d were major sponsors of the event and we had a great demo and chat with those guys as Rob is a Unity3d guru now.
The other conversations were varied and all interesting, including a rather unusual lunch with Christian Renaud, Dave Taylor, Bobby Clay, Jeff Barr and Dave Taylor in a Souk somewhere near covent garden.
So well done one and all and I personally really found ths useful and I know that I met some new people and re-enforced some other friendships and working relationships. That, after all, is the point.

Come jam with us

The IBM global innovation jam 2008 is on now for the next few days. Lots of interesting topics to come and tlak about (loads of virtual world related ones too).
You can register here and come share with the world. (*Update. In my haste I appear to have not noticed that whilst this is a large innovation jam is has been restricted to certain large organizations – sorry for misleading in anyway, my bad)
I just posted about changing the supply chain model with 3d printing from virtual world distribution. Come and tell me why I am wrong 🙂

More Virtual Worlds Forum news

This post may be a bit late, but…. Kevin/Boris Frampton one of former guildmasters in the IBM virtual universe community set up an SL overflow event for the VWF from 1:30-4pm. I was travelling and could not use the mobile in the car, but heading there now.
It also looks like an unconference will be happening tomorrow at the Hospital in London, so Rob and I look like we may well be there after all to join in the sessions. So if you are looking for an eightbar, we will be there.
It may be self selection in the virtual world and web 2.0 brigade but everyone is very resourceful no matter what occurs

Virtual Worlds Forum Postponed

We have all just been receiving notification of the postponing of the Virtual Worlds Forum tomorrow in London. It is completely outside anyones control due to an apparent fatal shooting outside the venue in the early hours of the morning.
Whilst clearly this is an inconvenience to many people who have flown in from all over the world, everyone’s thought will be for the victim and their family and friends.
The networking events will still be on as planned as they are at other venues.
It does mean though that the Hursley Eightbar’s (Rob and I) will probably not be able to travel up to London after all. So we wont be able to join everyone for that networking.
See you at the rescheduled event I hope.
The official statement is here on the VWF blog a Unity3d web mashup virtual world

Thanks to @ids for getting me an invite to I have ended up in there with green spikey hair and a drum set, so its ticking a few boxes already 🙂
It is powered by unity3d as discovered for us at eightbar by Rob.

It seems to have good web integration, playing my youtube video from yesterday very easily, and wiring itself into facebook (not my favourite place but its a start).
As I mentioned the other day Unity are sponsoring next weeks virtual worlds forum europe in London

Thoughts on OpenSim, interview on UgoTrade

Tish Shute very kindly asked me to do an interview for her excellent blog over on Ugotrade. In the interview I discuss where OpenSim fits in with the rest of the Web and particularly how some of the recent work i’ve been doing makes it a more viable platform for consuming data and services from websites.

You can find the interview here.

Swarming code development visualizations and emotions

You may think sometimes that we are only bothered with avatars and islands. However things like this that changes the way you get insight into the flow of a project are equally fascinating.
This video is from mediamolecule showing the development of Little Big Planet (the game that may well save the PS3 in my house atleast). Using code_swarm it shows people joing the project and what they are editing. I am a fan of organic flocking algorythms and the complexity that forms from the simplest of rules should teach us all something. A flock you let go, and see what happens, control is not part of the agenda.

LittleBigBang : The Evolution Of LittleBigPlanet from Media Molecule on Vimeo.
This links nicely into the extreme blue project that had a very cool name but got renamed by someone to sound a lot less cool for release (but what do eightbars know about such things!). Group Persona Visualization is available on alphaworks. The aim was to gather the state of the emotion and feelings of a group based on their social media acitivity. It was a short, intern based project, with a lot of eightbar mentors :-). I think it turned out to be very cool.

Real to virtual, pushing into opensim – more interoperability

You may have seen the trigger in Secondlife using the MQTT publish/subscribe work that Rob has been doing. Now we have real life into Opensim using the same messaging infrastructure it also uses Rob’s JSON support. MQTT is the light version of Websphere MQ event broker. You create a message, and anyone interested can do something with it. In this case, image recognition via a webcam in the real world generating a message that Opensim has subscribed to. So yes, I hold a number up and a camera recognizes it and sends a message across the web, the internal opensim server picks it up and acts on it.

*update the really small message broker(RSMB) is available on IBM alphaworks (thanks @andysc)

Investment in Virtual Worlds for return in 4-7 years

As I come into contact with many more startup firms and people funding them in virtual worlds I gave become more aware of just how different the long term thinking is of investors. In a time when there is a certain amount of financial meltdown out there it would appear that the smart money is still investing in the talent and products of the future. Not to answer the question can I have my dividend this quarter, have we met this months sales figures (the usual corporate and business need), but can we grow this over time. Jussi Laakkonen blogs about the US$350M invested in VW’s, Social Media here. It is correctly pointed out that much of the list is US based. One of the reasons we started eightbar way back was to show that great emerging technology things happen this side of the pond. Eightbar is not quite a VC funded startup, but does have that mentality. Much of what we say and do is future, though we have a great grounding in what is actually possible now.
So in the current climate we should still look forward, the money markets will balance and adjust, even a chaotic system such as this has a balance point (or resolves to zero in which case we are back in the stone age anyway). Now would appear to be the time to invest in and also to deliver projects. People cannot afford to travel as much, financially and planetary costs are seeing to that, yet business still needs to function and that needs to be on a global basis.
So smart a move investing in virtual worlds of any sort it would seem?