Who Am I?

Toney, Alabama, United States
Software Engineer, Systems Analyst, XML/X3D/VRML97 Designer, Consultant, Musician, Composer, Writer

Friday, September 21, 2007

Intel's A Comin'!!! Sell Your Horseless Carriages

Rob Enderle says"

The more global and powerful the vendor, the better the view of the future…

Err… no. If you want a view of the future, you find the emergence events and this is post-emergence. Big company events like this are only held once they can safely say what everyone already knows.

As to Intel involvement, remember Intel was a board member of the Web3DC (X3D, VRML, Collada, etc.). Rankled by the participation agreements that prevented pushing encumbered-IP into the open standard, they resigned and worked their own consortium (see 3DIF).

Note something important here: if competition is important to this industry’s legitimacy, then the Web3DC people still have the only open competitive standards and technologies. For X3D/VRML, there are multiple clients and server systems available with a push toward virtual world standards for interoperating systems such as H-anim and the Network Sensor. While Koster, Intel, and Rosedale talk this stuff, the Web3DC is actually doing it.

Back to Intel:

The aim is of course, to sell hardware, and any good graphics professional knows the score: more polygons moving at the speed of light need more hardware. For that reason, I'm glad to see Intel parroting the rest of the industry about their discovery of the 3D Web. (Jeez... you just can't make this stuff up.)

The difference in 3D at AOL or the other failed attempts is that AOL had one bit right: a massive MU is a server-farm technology more than a graphics technology. Real-time on the web is not a real thing. Latency == Web. Real time MU is mostly a smoke and mirrors trick but it works.

The need for interoperable web 3D is quite real in the market. The reason is not thrills: it is thrills maintenance. 3D content is high cost content unless you pick your technology and the standards well. I do this stuff for fun but I do know how to do it cheaply until I have to host on an expensive server farm. If I have to throw it away for every client or client version, I can't afford it and neither can even deep pocketed companies. We learned our lessons from the early monolithic WYSIWYG systems for documents: translations, rehosting and scrubbing timely information is an expensive nightmare. Because X3D/VRML really is a competitive market, I may target one browser such as BS Contact, but then I adjust the content to make it playable on competitors even if in a downlevel mode. I learn how to make it more interoperable and the vendors flush out some bugs. Everyone wins. That is how a competitive ecosystem with more symbiotes than parasites works.

Fortunately, the beginning steps of VRML ensured that despite its highs, lows and outright cat fights, the community culture is a real survivor and healthy because it remains open and cooperative. So almost a decade and a half later, the content is still working and has improved substantially. That'd pretty good for amateurs. :-)

Where should Intel be going? Away from the data center concepts and into the peer-to-peer standards, or at least into local hosting. The reasons for businesses are easy as I've said before: don’t do private business in public phone booths.


Jordi R Cardona said...

Hi Len

I used Google's Trend to compare the popularity of vrml against x3d, and it showed that x3d is the half famous than vrml, and going down.

I think that if more companies spent their money on x3d, the language will go good on their proyects like xj3d.

But what x3d needs now is promotion. People don't search for x3d as much as for vrml, because they don't know x3d exists.

This is obviously a problem.
If the same enterprises that put their money on x3d put their effort in promoting it as they did with second life, it may be a big impulse for x3d

rita turkowski said...

You are so correct Jordi overall, but note that google trends only look at the big "meta" keyword picture. Try icerocket.com; I think it is also a good keyword popularity metric site, and captures blog mentions, which can be very telling. The web3d.org site has a growing number of hits for X3D, more every year, esp, for downloading specs and queries on the forums. I agree promotion and marketing need to be seriously stepped up, but until we get companies to step off the proprietary 3d worlds carousel, we will not see big and medium size companies buying into and supporting open standards such as X3D. VRML has been around so much longer, which is why it's twice as "popular" key word search wise then X3D.

Jordi R Cardona said...

Hi Rita
I agree with most that you say.
I just have to add that I think that some companies can do a biger effort to promote what they are paying for belonging to the Web3d, and it goes in their own benefit if they do so.
I also don't like any solution to be the only one in the market. I wish x3d would be widely used, but not the ONLY one. I don't like monopolies at all, even if they are an open source tech.

Len Bullard said...

As a public standard, VRML/X3D is successful by staying alive. I think you will see a lot of talk about standards, but current VR/MU is a server technology first and that has easy capture-the-flag opportunities. It is much easier to build a tightly coupled client and make the customer download it. It is a tradeoff of long lifecycle content for short term high interactivity in a social system.

Intel's renewed interest means that either high end graphics acceleration will show up on commodity machines (sub $500) or there will be more focus on capturing server markets through embracing proprietary protocols. It's hard to say what they will do.

The X3D/VRML companies do try to promote X3D. What it really needs is more/better content and upgrades of some of the existing browsers. A realization that even where there are public standards competition in implementation and quality of content delivery is needed if anyone is serious about VR/MU for VRML. But you are right as is Rob Enderle: the big companies throw the big parties and that is all the industry pundits tend to notice or accredit.