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VWC Viewpoints October 2007

Virtual Worlds and Interoperability
Technology Analyst: Rob Edmonds

Areas to Monitor in the Technology Map describes open standards that provide interoperability between virtual worlds as a high-uncertainty, high-impact issue for virtual-worlds commercialization.  Without interoperability. virtual worlds will remain (as they are today) isolated "islands" on the Internet, and the vision of the 3-D Internet that IBM, Microsoft, and others espouse will never come to fruition.  But virtual worlds have a long way to go before they can achieve even basic interoperability, such as avatars that users can export from one virtual world and import into another.  This Viewpoints discusses the latest thinking on the standards issue from the recent Virtual Worlds conference in San Jose, California.

On Tuesday Ocxtober 9, 2007 the day of SRI Consulting Business Intelligence's first meeting of the Virtual-Worlds Consortium (VWC) for Innovation and Learning in Menlo Park, California, 23 companies and institutions gathered in a private meeting nearby to discuss interoperability for virtual worlds.  companies in attendance included IBM, Cisco Systems, Intel, Microsoft, Google, Sony, Phillips, Motorola, Linden Lab, Multiverse and Mindark.  So far, this group has no formal name or leader, though IBM and Cisco appear to be the companies pushing hardest for progress.  Two days later, at the Virtual Worlds conference in San Jose, Cisco's Chrisian Renaud (chief architect, Networked Virtual Environments) suggested the name "Virtual Worlds Interoperability Forum" or "VWIF", though this name has yet to receive any formal backing.  The Groups' main achievement so far seems to have been to begin the debate and bring so many key companies around the table.  Following the meeting, IBM and Linden Lab produced a press releas about plans to work with a "wide range of partners" to improve virtual-worlds interoperability - though this release was not a statement from the entire "VWIF" group, which so far has made no official statement about its aims or progress to date.

Download the report here:
Virtual Worlds and Interoperability