Who Am I?

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

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Profit and Prophecy

Boris Kizelshteyn, CEO of Popcha says in yet another prognos blog trying to build brand by offering 'insight',

Everyone recognizes the green and cultural benefits of an entropic co-present virtual environment, but the implementation has been illusive.

Huh? Is that code for "if I jumble together words that don't belong in the same sentence people will believe I have insight"?

What is ahead? Another year of the same.

This is the generation of huckster worlds during which personna non make-a-difference invent new terms for old concepts and attempt to establish the credibility of retiring executives as consultants in industries in which they have played no significant role. The politics of change will be yoked to the politics of open source in an attempt to shore up failing companies who discovered too late that you cannot profit by giving away the gold and selling the purse it comes in.

Talks of virtual world standards continue to be just talk as the executives of the TLAs try to cover their reputations with their bosses by blaming the economy for their own overweaning ambition in the face of their lack of depth of expertise and technical knowledge. The next phase of the war on ISO led by IBM proxies will continue by simultaneously leveraging the favors they believe they are owed from the Obama White House and the illusions of bottom-up standards building in the wild supplemented by the mail lists harvested from the political campaigns.

IBM will keep trying to prop up Second Life by claiming it is innovative but ignoring the market that sustains it: porn. I've no objection to the content; I don't like the hypocrisy of IBM being the pimp while courting the White House.

Mobs don't build cities. They build shanty towns. Executives don't live in shanty towns. They skim them by taking a share of the crops while giving away the cardboard. A colorful street corner with a big reputation for selling sex is still just a red light district on or off the web.


Boris Kizelshteyn said...


Thank you for taking the time to read the interview and comment on it in your blog.

Let me clarify my statement:

Businesses interested in virtual world solutions already recognize the value of the heightened sense of immersion made possible by avatars controlled by geographically dispersed people being in the same space and time. They value the serendipitous conversation and back channel engagement this makes possible before, during and after a meeting/conference, something that traditionally has only been possible in real life meetings.

The problems with real life meetings however, are that they involve costly and polluting travel. Furthermore, in the case of short duration meetings between people of different cultures, who speak different primary languages, there is often a communication gap due to confidence issues. Both of these problems are mitigated by engagement in a virtual space mediated through an avatar.

Unfortunately, at this time, there is no satisfactory, fully realized, virtual world product that can deliver this experience without involving complicated installs, firewall manipulations and awkward interfaces that don't capitalize on a users existing computing skills. There are however many promising "trailheads" which will, hopefully, in 2009 yield a killer app.

I hope that this is a clearer explanation of my earlier, admittedly hurried, statement.

Your blog contains much interesting information, I will be looking it over in the coming days.

All the best!

Len Bullard said...

I fully appreciate the use of virtual worlds for conference applications. It is not a new idea but one of a handful of old ideas finally getting market traction in the blizzard of spending. However, it is hard to think of these as the basis for evolution in the product base that will address any of the problems you list.

The post-SL market has been one of proprietary platforms on server farms selling islands and accounts. Nothing I see suggests that is about to change except the failure of Lively. Google is very good at server farm based work but still could not make a quick success of Lively.

It is likely that 'quick success' is not a goal one should associate with a server farm world unless one is willing to promote it heavily and provide reasons to use it often. Also, as has been said repeatedly, a social network doesn't need a 3D avatar-laden app even if it adds to the fun.

What has been said about the virtual conference is that freedom of movement, spatial sound control (proximity filtering) and the ability to preselect destinations to gather is better than video conferencing and only cheaper than meatspace. Meatspace has a signficantly higher bandwidth of gestural subtleties that as of yet is not matched in a virtual world in either the graphical or the text medium although the use of voice is better. Tools associated with virtual meetings for presentation display are improving.

Improvements in the puppetry aspects and use of real standards for export and import of graphic assets are the most important changes needed. Avatar portability while a branding dream is a technical stunt. The virtual worlds technology has not improved as a result of the incursion of deep pocketed non-technical incursions such as those of IBM. They have only increased the FUD quotient and are holding back innovation based on cooperation.

Today, the virtual worlds market is the dumbest market on the web.

Damon said...

Great entry Len. Funny how the things I have heard those in the web3d industry talk about for years are the "innovative" ideas and insights of recent web3d converts. Agreed from personal experience, the virtual worlds market is the dumbest market on the web at the moment with some of the biggest names. Sad for the VW Industry watching the blind leading the blind.

Boris Kizelshteyn said...

76% of Enterprise Executives Predict Rise in Virtual Events for 2009