) has extended its presence in Second Life with the opening of a virtual, ‘green’, data center. Those who would like to visit the data center will need to log into Second Life, since the virtual world is the only place where the data center exists.
IBM officials said the company is aiming to use the data center as a demonstration area for its eco (News
)-friendly technologies and services and has said it is looking to Second Life as another platform for sharing its new products, as well as research concepts.
IBM noted 2006 that research into virtual worlds would get a share of a $100 million for new technology development.
In October 2007, IBM and Linden Labs (the company behind Second Life) announced they, along with other partners, would work for open standards and interoperability in order to enable avatars to move from one virtual world to another much like visitors can move from one Web site to another on the Internet.
With this, users would be able to maintain the same “avatar” name, appearance and other attributes such as digital assets and identity certificates and move seamlessly between multiple worlds.
Back in July, Linden Labs announced a successful experiment in transporting avatars from Second Life to a virtual world created by IBM.
IBM company sources said that the adoption of a universal “avatar” and associated services could be the first step towards the creation of a truly interoperable 3D Internet.
The companies see many applications of virtual world technology including security-rich exchange of assets in and across virtual worlds. This could allow users to purchase or trade with other people in virtual worlds for digital assets including 3D models, music, and media and more. The virtual world technology could also be used for collaboration, education and training.
IBM says adopting these universal standards will help push the use of virtual worlds beyond gaming and entertainment and make them more commerce oriented. IBM sources said the company envisions online malls where users can walk around, chat with "sales avatars," view product demonstrations, and make purchases.
Nitya Prashant is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Nitya's articles, please visit her columnist page