Second Life and the 3-D Web

I spent yesterday afternoon at the eBusiness Expo 2007 which was held on my home turf of Nottingham. Lunch was a buy-your-own sandwiches affair which I’m afraid doesn’t win any prizes for originality. The main talk of the afternoon was from Danny Meadows-Klue, from the Digital Training Academy, on how to use Web 2.0 technologies for marketing purposes. On the whole, the talk was a fairly reasonable trot through the different areas (social networking, RSS, podcasting, mash-ups etc).

There was one point, though, where Danny and I parted company. He doesn’t think Second Life is worth much attention and I’m afraid I have to disagree. If you look at what is likely to be the next step in the development of the Web it is in advanced, 3-D graphics. IBM are investing money in a project to take the visual ideas behind Second Life and transplant them to the Web and Tim Berners-Lee, speaking at last year’s WWW2006 conference, indicated that he thought advanced graphics were the next stage in the Web’s development. Second Life may only be a ‘dry-run’ for a more visually arresting Web, but if you’re interested in where the Web is going, then Second Life is currently the easiest way to explore the implications of 3-D at an early stage.


2 Responses to “Second Life and the 3-D Web”

  1. Danny Meadows-Klue Says:

    I better dive in on this one before a whole bunch of virtual communities start flaming me. Second Life is awesome: it’s a fantastic window into how community, social space, virtual reality and conversation all collide. It’s one of the first mass market deployments of the type of virtual world Gibson painted when he coined the phrase ‘cyberspace’ back in the days of Neoromancer.

    I love the model and the concept; but I struggle with the fact most people can’t divorce the notion of 3D environments from Second Life itself. SL is a great brand and it’s riding the crest of a wave right now, but there will be millions of virtual environments and just because they’ve one of the first to get the package cracked doesn’t mean they’ll maintain their unique market position.

    What excites me about all this is that we’ll have 3D virtual worlds acting as mirrors to many of our offline spaces, and when the audiences are there and the markets have moved, business logic will sweep firms along in the same way the Google effect has with search. But for the time being most of the SMEs in Nottingham won’t have much to gain from trying to harness SL. It’s a question of priorities and I can’t see it generating real business for them, particularly given that most are struggling to get their search strategies and their email working properly.

    Saying ‘no’ is one of the toughest things in digital marketing, because savvy digital marketers will find amazing ways to get value from the new tools, but marketing teams need to really invest in the basics first.

    Anyways, I hope that saves me from flame mails from the 3D developers who are churning out wonders 😉 …I’ll post this on as I suspect it might be one that comes back in debates!

  2. 3-D Web « Tech Lunch Says:

    […] A few weeks ago I mentioned the 3-D Web in a post about Second Life. Along these lines, an interesting press release arrived this morning from a company who are […]

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