3D Tele-immersive Internet.
The 3D Tele- Immersive Internet is the term used to describe an evolving technology category. What we once called virtual worlds as a catch-all category now only describes one small piece of the picture. Other important elements are virtual campuses or 3D intranets, immersive simulations, 3D business applications, and serious or industrial games. What these all have in common is that they deeply engage the person who is using them. A combination of these technologies and an emerging culture with roots in gaming is opening up new dimensions in collaboration, engagement, and context.
While enterprise use of the 3D Tele-immersive Internet is still in the “seedling” stage of adoption in mid-2008, within five years it will have transformed the way people learn and train, participate in meetings and conferences, visualize and share complex data, recruit, and interview employees and contractors, design and prototype products, remotely manage systems and facilities, and even operate machinery and vehicles. Why so fast? A major factor is the prevalence of social networking. People all around the world who have Immersive Internet expertise and passion can easily find each other and share information and skills at a rate unheard of just a few years ago.
You’ll never “go to work” the same way again
What’s all the fuss about? Well, the Immersive Internet will have just as big an impact on the way work gets done as the World Wide Web has. Organizations are already starting to use the Immersive Internet to help meet important business objectives like:
• Minimizing costs. Early adopters are using virtual environments to reduce costs associated with business travel, phone and Web conferencing, and prototype development. How? By using virtual environments to teach and learn, rehearse business activities, create and share 3D models of physical and theoretical objects, network and meet, collaborate and communicate, and manage real-world systems.
• Going green. Managing facilities and data centers through 3D virtual control rooms can reduce real-world energy consumption. Eliminated commutes and reduced business travel means less fuel consumed and fewer carbon emissions from cars and airplanes. One of our own goals here is to replace unnecessary business travel with meetings in immersive environments not just to keep our sanity intact but to reduce our impact on this fragile planet
• Recruiting and retaining employees. Innovators are starting to use the inherent qualities of virtual environments, like interactivity and engagement, to appeal to the simple human need to have a good time. Organizations that focus on this aspect of the human experience in the work context have the potential to positively impact employee recruiting and retention. Also, by using virtual environments people can be productive who may not be able to work otherwise due to disability or illness.
• Creating a culture of bottom-up innovation. Serendipitous interactions — what people sometimes think of as “watercooler conversations” — can lead to ideas that no person would have come up with on their own. When people share great experiences, and are exposed to other people they don’t normally spend time with, amazing things can happen. Virtual environments can be used to create immersive spaces where people run into and communicate with others. This can have enormous value particularly for organizations that have a culture of bottom-up innovation.