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Second Life Assimilates The Web

There’s a lot of buzz around the recent beta of the new Second Life viewer. Much  of the talk deals with playing Flash videos but the real impact is going to come from using interactive web sites in world. Things like Google apps come to mind but what will have the most impact IMO are web apps that control in-world objects while integrating the virtual currency system with traditional e-commerce and social networking. Check out this Scoble interview with Linden Labs CEO Mark Kingdon and stay tuned to the MJ.

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Wearing The Meshverse

MIT’s Sixth Sense project provides a $350 wearable device containing a smart phone, tracking camera and projector to provide a Minority Report-like interface to the meshverse using any surface. Siftables, a related MIT project has a music app near the end similar to the one I mentioned in Interface Mesh.

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IBM's Meshverse Mandate & the Coming Boom

IBM has been mentioned frequently here because they are broadly and deeply involved in meshverse technologies. Their recent Smarter Planet initiative is providing a much needed, practical focus on how meshverse technologies are key to dealing with critical problems the planet is facing. You may have seen the TV ads but if not YouTube has them. For the most part these ads do an excellent job of distilling very complex issues into comprehensible stories. For an insider perspective, see this interview with IBM execs. IBM is also connecting the technology with current needs for change. I am in full agreement with their idea that a mandate for change is a mandate for smart.  We clearly need  A Smarter(Virtual) World and the notion of an instrumented, intelligent planet is what I was getting at in Sensing the Coming Boom. A mandate for change is a mandate to upgrade.

Related Links:

Metaverses, Tribes, smarter planet and you can change the world

Smart Economy – Smart Intelligent Objects

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IBM’s Meshverse Mandate & the Coming Boom

IBM has been mentioned frequently here because they are broadly and deeply involved in meshverse technologies. Their recent Smarter Planet initiative is providing a much needed, practical focus on how meshverse technologies are key to dealing with critical problems the planet is facing. You may have seen the TV ads but if not YouTube has them. For the most part these ads do an excellent job of distilling very complex issues into comprehensible stories. For an insider perspective, see this interview with IBM execs. IBM is also connecting the technology with current needs for change. I am in full agreement with their idea that a mandate for change is a mandate for smart.  We clearly need  A Smarter(Virtual) World and the notion of an instrumented, intelligent planet is what I was getting at in Sensing the Coming Boom. A mandate for change is a mandate to upgrade.

Related Links:

Metaverses, Tribes, smarter planet and you can change the world

Smart Economy – Smart Intelligent Objects

Leave a Comment

Microsoft Mesh: Heading in the Right Direction*

In his keynote at Mix08 last week, Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie emphasized the growing importance of device and social meshes:

The second scenario we’re working on at Microsoft revolves around the notion of connected entertainment. Building upon this same vision of the device mesh, it’s our aspiration that individuals will only need to license their media once, to organize their subscriptions and collections once, and to use any of their devices to access and enjoy their media, whether on the Web, on the go, in the living room, on the desktop.

And building upon something else I talked about earlier, our vision of the social mesh, we envision each individual having a media-centric or gaming-centric Web presence through which they can express their tastes, interests and affinities. Through which they can interact with others by linking and sharing and ranking and tagging and messaging and notification.

As many of you are already well aware, this vision is being realized today through our progressive enhancements to Xbox live for gaming, through Zune.net and the Zune social for media. Moving forward, more and more and more of our media and entertainment services across Xbox, Zune, and MSN, and across experiences such as Microsoft TV, Media Room, and Media Center will be progressively transformed by this connected entertainment vision.

Ryan Storgaard’s Blog : Ray Ozzie’s Mix08 Keynote Speech Transcript

Listening to Ray really got Marc Canter excited(also, check out this audio interview where Marc describes his Chris Matthews moment). Ozzie is certainly pointing Microsoft in the right direction but falls short for a few reasons. The first is because places and events are missing. Your contact list is just the beginning of your social mesh. In fact, events and the places they form the heart of your social mesh.

Ultimately interoperability is only one part of the device mesh. Things get really interesting when people start making their own, integrating them into the physical world including the human body. Last but not least, server commoditization will push many key portions of the cloud Ozzie envisions off of large corporate servers. Microsoft will carve out a sizable niche but they won’t be a market leader – we’re approaching the end of a cycle. The large companies that thrive as grid utility providers will be more “pure-play” ones like IBM, Sun and even Amazon. As reported earlier, the Second Life Grid is expanding beyond Linden Lab and no matter what virtual world platforms, become most popular, they’re going to need grid resources and virtual goods will be a key component of their business model. Can Ray Ozzie do a Bill Gates and turn Microsoft into a virtual world focused entity?

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Boom Watch

While the summer olympics may put a spotlight on virtual goods because of China’s huge ambitions, signs of the coming boom are popping up everywhere. The most significant recent news concerns a virtual currency engine called Twofish Elements:

… users are looking for interactive experiences online that are too costly to be paid for by ads alone, so micro-transactions are the logical next step.

… That’s where Twofish Elements comes in, with an offer to help game companies optimize these transactions.

Its software is a plug-and-play platform, and is a sort of combination of web analytics and Paypal for games. Twofish watches what players do and helps create transaction steps to optimize revenue. It handles the micro-payments (even those from players overseas) and protects against the risk of fraud and chargebacks.

VentureBeat: TwoFish Elements launches for micro-transaction economies on the web and someday the web?

Twofish Elements, billed as a “turnkey solution” for companies with online worlds and game networks that want someone to handle in-game currency, micro-transactions and other features that comprise a virtual economy.

GigaOM: Virtual World Economy in a Box

It will be interesting to see how open this is and whether Linden Lab will enter this space any time soon. Technology News has a high level overview of virtual currency systems and I’ve rounded up some notable quotes dealing with virtual goods:

the business of selling virtual items that enable internet users to express themselves is booming. Over $2bn is spent on virtual items every year and I don’t think this is a trend to bet against. Disney certainly didn’t with its purchase of Club Penguin, which could be worth up to $700m.

And it was announced yesterday that Paramount has inked a deal with Habbo Hotel to create merchandise for one of Paramount’s upcoming movies.

e-Consultancy

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