Pushing the Wimbledon broadcasting envelope Web 2.0 is Web Do

We are in the midst of building the public Wimbledon build on IBM 7 in second life. We have another week or so before the life championships begin, but we are holding some gatherings to show some people what we are doing. We are doing this all out in the public. A slightly unusual and brave move.
One thing I am experimenting with is streaming the Second Life build via ustream using some of my own video kit.
I know lots of the others out there are doing similar things, but its good to try yourself. Web 2.0 is Web Do after all.
Today, from a home network I have been streaming live on a Wimbledon channel on ustream.tv
home setup ready for the road
It was not a high production value tv program, but more a test of what works where. Is it worth streaming audio when a telecon may be on, is it worth having a ustream chat room when you have people in Second Life. In a live event such as a press conference with people on the phone, in the room, in SL and now on ustream whats the feel and flow that needs to be used?
I hit record aswell on ustream so you can see all the rough edges and the occassional lag I got. Some of that was having only a 4mb pipe into the house and having 3 computers consuming the content aswell as pushing the content and running SL.
I ended up buying a driver for my Sony DV cam from trackercam and some updated USB drivers from Sony (which I had to get via the Asia site for some reason).
So a DV camera, usb cable, driver, laptop and internet connection and I am up and running as a portable tv crew.
I have already used my nokie n95 and pocketcaster to some other live broadcasts over 3g on epredator.tv
This, with a crossover to the virtual world to makes it a very exciting time. This is all getting technically very easy. I remember the hassle when Cliff and co where doing the live Chelsea radio webcast back in 1997. Now…. anyone can do this.

Second Lives book launch party

As Ian recently posted, we attended the book launch party on Tuesday for Tim Guest’s new book, Second Lives.

It was interesting and fitting that there was another book launch party tonight, and this one was in Second Life.

Errol book launch SL party

This one was held at the Elysian Isle sim in Second Life. At this one, unlike in the real world, Tim gave a reading from first chapter (and I have to say his voice was a welcome relief from the reading on Radio 4 this week; Tim’s voice makes much easier listening). There was also a digital copy of the first chapter of the book to take away.  

Errol book launch SL party - book reading

Sadly, the virtual version lacks the all important inside cover. 🙂

It amazing where Eightbar turns up now

Last night Roo and I donned our eightbar t-shirts and popped along to the book launch for Tim Guests “Second Lives” at the offices of Rivers Run Red. I have not been to a book launch before, but then who does? So whilst this was still work related, it fitted nicely into the combined social nature of what has been happening with the metaverse. A collection of us gathering in real life, from disparate sources but with the bond of Second Life, and business in Second Life. It had been a very long day with other events and meetings in London. One of the reasons we just had to go was that eightbar and IBM get quite a mention in the book, Roo and I also got Tim to sign copies. It was good to skip to our section and see Tim’s view of the event we ran way back, when I specifically asked if we could invite Tim to the press event due to his articles in Edge magazine. The event we ran was way back in September 2006 and was given a huge amount of credibility by the presence of Irving Wladawsky-Berger . On the train home Roo and I were looking back, seeing statements like “200 IBMers in Second Life” when we have over 4000 interested parties now. It just shows how quickly the interest has developed and it seems, via our collective diaries, to not be letting up.
I still get emails from people who have just caught the buzz and are still amazed when they see the history. One of the benefits of blogs over up to date web pages is being able to show provenance.
I am looking forward to reading the whole book, it is the BBC Radio 4 book of the week, which is significant too.
roo @ rrr
Now there was some amusing talk about film deals, which was funny as on the way up to London Roo and I had been discussing what it must be like to be a technical advisor on a movie that has tech in it. We have all seen movies that have all the right words but none of the right fact. So when hollywood gets around to making movies about this cycle of virtual reality who are they going to get to advise them. I think its safe to say the door is open and we are happy to help.
So thankyou to Rivers Run Red and Tim for a great gathering.
I also now know what to get my dad for fathers day, another copy of the book.

Blogs and Social Media Forum

I spoke at the Blogs and Social Media Forum yesterday.

The agenda had me slated to join Ben Edwards (publisher of Economist.com), Jem Stone (Executive Producer, BBC New Media and Technology), Adriana Lukas (Big Blog Company) and Myles Runham (General Manager, Europe, Ask.com) for the keynote panel.

Euan Semple, who chaired the event, kicked off the day by getting a feel for the audience by asking how many of the participants a.) read blogs, b.) write blogs, c.) use wikipedia and d.) have edited wikipedia. A surprising number of people said yes in all categories. Indeed, it seemed to me that the percentage of the attendees blogging was slightly higher than the percentage of the keynote panelists blogging publicly; Although Ben Edwards said he wants to start, the fact he doesn’t already have one surprises me enormously given his previous role as director of New Media Communications in IBM’s HQ at Armonk. Equally surprising is the fact that Myles Runham (who previously worked “…in BBC Corporate Strategy (focusing on new media)” also doesn’t seem to have a public blog either.

Blogs and Social Media Forum - participants Blogs and Social Media Forum - Euan Semple Blogs and Social Media Forum - Keynote panel Blogs and Social Media Forum - Myles Runham Blogs and Social Media Forum - Ben Edwards

I think I was subconsciously quoting either Suw Charman or Euan himself when I said that a corporation is made not of employees, but of people.

After some case studies from the Economist and BUPA and a quick speed networking event, we were treated to an open space session facilitated by Lloyd Davis. Lloyd invited anyone who was interested in hosting a conversation to stand up, introduce themselves and share what they wanted to talk about. A dozen subjects were covered, including mobile applications of social media, moderation, spam and (of course) virtual worlds. Yes, the Ian and Roo show was there in full force, attracting a couple of tablefuls of people which opened up into a detailed Q&A and discussion about the virtual worlds.

Tuesday 12:05 pm 6/5/07

[CC-licensed photo from Robin Hamman]

Great fun, and an unexpected chance to share in more detail with some very untested (and of course interesting) people.

Sadly we had to dash off during lunch to a meeting across town, so we missed the afternoon sessions. I hate leaving conferences early, and it was only because I was invited to join the conference (replacing another speaker who had dropped out) at the last minute that my afternoon was already full up. It meant we missed Lee Bryant (Headshift) and Simon Phipps (Sun’s Chief Open Source Officer) present, plus a couple of really interesting looking panels too. I am hoping we get the recordings of the afternoon sessions soon, so I can catch up with the end of a great conference.

Update: due to the frankly stunning level of spam it generates, I’ve disabled comments on this individual post. Email me if you have something you want to add.

Live (Destroy) Television

Yossarian and I just gave Destroy Television a bit of a tour both of our public areas in Second Life and the private islands of Hursley and IQ and the giant molecule on Thornebridge town. All this was being broadcast live on destroytv, and also streamed to flickr.
It is an amazing project of 10 days of live filming that Destroy embarked upon. Including a wedding to Walker.
This is both art, journalism and thought leadership all rolled into one and I am proud to have been part of it as content.
flickr destroy
See the flickr feed here

BBC money programme on Virtual Worlds Real Money

I just watched the BBC MoneyProgramme edition about virtual worlds and real money. It featured a few people we all know quite well. It being the BBC and the money programme it covered everything really well. There was still a playfulness about the piece, but it showed the seriousness of the entire industry. Philip Rosedale/Linden made some good points about the future, and how we dont quite know where its going but its going to be exciting.
Max Flint also did not solely cover Second Life but instead looked at the business of virtual goods versus subscription models.
It was good to see Justin Bovington on TV from Rivers Run Red too. So that’s two weekends running as he was on the sky news feed last weekend too.
I know know we can expect even more people at work to have been woken up to the potential and to understand why were have all invested so much of ourselves in this.

Our Virtual Universe Community Guildmaster – Voting closes today

As well as the Eightbar group, our unofficial mini brand presence created around this blog and our lives in various metaverses, we do have inside the company the Virtual Universe Community. The VUC is a community organization that all the interested parties inside IBM that want to gather and understand this business and social and technology change can join.
The VUC is currently having elections for its next guildmaster. We collectively decided that we would have an elected representative running the community, and attempt to operate more like a guild.
This is a more formal, yet different arrangement to how Eightbar operates. Eightbar being a more free ranging brand.
We are all members of, and active in the VUC and I am looking forward to the results of the voting this time around and then will will have an interview with the winner of the election right here, and maybe some public appearences in SL and other metaverses.
So good luck to the candidates. Any VUC/eightbar IBMers reading this, go and vote now.
Apologies to the rest of the world but this is an intranet link, but kept here for the ease of our fellow VUCers and eightbar members.
Good luck Ada Alfa, Boris Frampton and Zha Ewry

More Tennis in Second Life – Roland Garros

We have gone live with our mini build of for the French Open tennis on the “IBM 7” sim. We have previously had the builds for last years Wimbledon (video here) , and the previous Australian Open, but they were all private. This is out in the the public areas.
ibm 7 RG
The team, Laronzo Fitzgerald, Andy Remblai and I have taken Pipe Hesse and Gizzy ElectricTeeth’s australian open and adjusted it for the Roland Garros event.
We have all discovered on the way lots of interesting gotchas on collaborative building, with sharing of permissions and how to make things portable.
The area itself is branded and in the style of the actual event with a central clay court.
rg IBm 7
We get data from the same feeds as we use for the website with current matches and complete matches represented on a main board.
The court itself is central, it houses the match replay gadget. The replay shows the play of the ball from a rally and updates the main scoreboard.
People can pose at each end of the court for a players view.
rg build
We are going to keep adjusting the experience as we have realized a few usability quirks that may not be obvious to people.
1. The rally is played after the real rally has finished, that is when the data is sent in Real/Web life. So the main scoreboard and court will always be behind the live one (at the moment)
2. When players change ends, or there is a break in play it looks like the court is not doing anything, so that may be confusing as a spectator
3. Rain delays, its started with one yesterday and we have not represented one as the Autralian Open has a roof.
Anyway we welcome your comments on it, as we try and bring the experience of the tennis event to the metaverse. The main website extends the experience with news and photos aswell as scores. In Second Life we can obvioulsy extend that experience to one that can be shared.
Here is a mini youtube with a famous metaverse personality playing tennis at the end with a golf club

So come on over and take a look

Tweakfest architecture of the metaverse, and the IBM Zurich Lab

After my metaverse pitch at Tweakfest on Friday I was followed on stage directly by Jeffrey Huang whose pitch was a fascinating one on how the digital world is effecting how we treat real physcial spaces and architecture.
Leading in with elements such as banks closing and turning into other spaces in cities, mass warehouses for fulfilment and data centres occupying space around the world.
This was to introduce the concepts that he is known for, of bring real and virtual space and concepts together. He researches and builds things that use existing physical space but joins it to the virtual in some way.
This resonated very well with what got me started in all this, when we tried to use lots of types of art and technology to link up our Hursley and Southbank locations when we were the very unusual IBM group called blueroom (or Interactive media centre). Having graphic designers and web tech people, but within IBM, we were more like a startup but were split across 2 main locations in our centres for e-business innovation back at the turn of the century. We had lots of projects to try and gather real life data and presence, then re render them virtually as large collaborative art forms. Including using virtual worlds to meld the two offices.
Jeff showed several pieces of work that were thought provoking and of various degrees of seriousness. A video of a web cam mirror in student dorms that pumped directly to hot or not and projected your rating out of 10 back onto the mirror, then a fascinating wall projection that took words from snippets of real life conversations (using speech to text) to get a flavour and buzz for what was going on in a room. Also an interesting concept that the location of certain facilities now are based on the provision of high bandwidth network access, where as once it was major road, rail or river connections. So the digitial world and its needs is having a direct impact on our physical space.
Finally there was the swiss house. The aim here to connect swizz ex-pats with their home country and fellow swiss in other countries. This ‘house’ is in cambridge, MA between Harvard and MIT. The aim is to create a physical space but have the presence and linkages to other spaces, not by one video conf screen but lots of types of walls, projections, virtual/real world tools.
There are some pictures here of the sort of space created.
The blend of these concepts, with the patterns we use in virtual worlds and the continuing blurring of the lines with augmented reality in real life, augmented reality in virtual life and 3d printing and replication really gets my head spinning with so many ideas. So when the dust settles on the virtual world boom, I think that this sort of space will be where we are going to be.
The guys in our Zurich lab already have some fascinating projects and demos blurring these lines such as bluespace. Once again it was before its time, but now people have multiple digital presences and need to combine things in a physical space in order to interact
There is a massively impressive list here of the demos in Zurich, some of those we have in Hursley too by the way.

Sky News hits Second Life

Today marked the launch of Sky News in Second Life. They have worked with River Run Red and keyed into a live event and live simulcast. The event happened this morning with a packed sime of people appearing live on Sky News. The event felt like another watershed. We still had to deal with the guests who were being broadcast in Second Life saying the usual “I cant deal with my first life” initial reaction. However as we have all come to realize we very much have an adoption of “Joke, Threat, Obvious”. Three phases that people tend to go through, all at a different pace.
Tim Guest was live explaining some of it towards the end. It was interesting to have a live feed of the sky audio with Adam Boulton, though I am not sure he realized we were 100% live in SL during the breaks. Very interesting about certain guests he has interviewed 🙂
The one guest who had a chance of getting it was politician Ed Miliband. He had taken some of this onboard and made some sensible contributions. Mariella Frostrop clearly has not been briefed as she made the assumption that you only live a fantasy life in Second Life rather than those of us who use it as an extention, just like a blog.
I am not going to make any comments about the other guest. As she characterized any online person as an unemployed male who did not do housework not have anything better to do not have any children. The irony being Andy Remblai and I both had our respective babies on our laps watching, and last time I checked we had jobs and this just happens to be part of it.
The other cool part of the event was having both 3 Lindens there, a first for some of the guests to meet one. We also though had 3 eightbars, as Algernon Spackler was there too.
This little youtube shows the sky news centre before the launch and the actual event.

This is Sky’s own advert/machinima for it.