Resistance Is Futile

Reading reviews like this nice summary at StartupSquad, or looking at the datasheet for Qwaq Forums, one starts to wonder what else one really needs in a computing environment. Working with Qwaq Forums, one gets a sense of what happens when browsers, applications and operating systems have been assimilated into the meshverse. As Dr. Dobbs’s points out, we’re either at the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning of operating systems and the Croquet site states that Croquet is designed to be an operating system for the post-browser Internet. Raph Koster puts it this way

Given the whimsical nature of the Croquet demos I saw, it’s a bit of a letdown to see a corporate office space as the first Qwaq product. But I suppose that it’s a bid to establish OpenCroquet as more of an operating system than a virtual world, which seems to be the emphasis among the project leaders.

Qwaq: commercializing OpenCroquet
(emphasis mine)

Raph and some people commenting on his post seem concerned about the practicality of 3D for business. In particular one person says

anything that is “3d enough” and important enough to merit the work involved in getting everyone setup with clients and whatnot at the same time to look at, would probably be something that would be better served with a “real” meatspace unveiling where you can back-slap and hand-shake.

Having had a chance to actually use Qwaq, I can say that the setup is pretty easy for people with reasonably recent machines and a broadband connection. You download the client, fire it up, select a location from a list of places accessible to you and you’re in world! You immediately see all the other people present along and relevant 2D 411(including video) is readily available and can be collaboratively edited. Things attendees “forgot” to bring can be easily dragged and dropped into the space. New information can be spontaneously created. If your meeting deals with tangible objects – products, facilities etc. , you can See What You Mean. Forums make it practical(time and cost-wise) for geographically dispersed teams to gather and key portions can be recorded for people who missed the meeting. Follow-up meetings can pick up literally right where things left off. Topics involving process/workflow or geographic location also provide other practical reasons Why 3D impacts the bottom line.

While there have been many failed attempts to leverage 3D, it hasn’t gone away because human beings are born with a set of rich media sensory systems which 2D information systems only scratch the surface of. Based on years of usability research, Microsoft put some limited 3D features into Vista and Sun has Project Looking Glass. Adobe’s Acrobat 3D page is a great place to find case studies on the business benefits of 3D although they have the cart before the horse. 3D is not contained in documents, but documents naturally fit into a 3D world. Last but not least are Google Earth and Microsoft’s Virtual Earth which are the tip of the iceberg that will revolutionize search. 3D in business is more than practical, it is inevitable.

Related links:

A Key To Business Success In Second Life

Virtual Events and Land Appreciation

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2 Comments »

  1. csven said

    I sometimes wonder if the people most resistant to 3D aren’t also the ones with some vested interest in “leaving things as they are”. Some of the concerns cited just make no sense to me.

  2. […] that this evolutionary process is inevitable, I hope we choose not to allow the machines to use us and realize that the machine is us in which […]

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