In today’s ever-shifting media landscape, it can be a complex task to find effective ways to reach your desired audience. As traditional media such as television continue to lose audience share, one venue in particular stands out for its ability to attract highly motivated audiences and for its tremendous growth potential — the 3D Internet.
The concept of '3D Internet' has recently come into the spotlight in the R&D arena, catching the attention of many people, and leading to a lot of discussions. Basically, one can look into this matter from a few different perspectives: visualisation and representation of information, and creation and transportation of information, among others. All of them still constitute research challenges, as no products or services are yet available or foreseen for the near future. Nevertheless, one can try to envisage the directions that can be taken towards achieving this goal.
People who take part in virtual worlds stay online longer with a heightened level of interest. To take advantage of that interest, diverse businesses and organizations have claimed an early stake in this fast-growing market. They include technology leaders such as IBM, Microsoft, and Cisco, companies such as BMW, Toyota, Circuit City, Coca Cola, and Calvin Klein, and scores of universities, including Harvard, Stanford and Penn State.
The most well-known of the 40-some virtual world platforms today is Second Life. It’s “in-world” residents number in the millions. As residents, they can:
Remotely attend group meetings, training sessions, and educational classes
Engage in corporate or community events
View and manipulate statistical information and other data such as biological or chemical processes in three dimensions
Try out new products, electronic devices and gadgets
Take part in virtual commerce
Participate in brand experiences that carry over to the real world.
Indeed, practically anything than can be done in the real world can be reproduced in the 3D Internet — with the added benefit being that someone can experience it from the comfort of their home or office. The possibilities for the 3D Internet are such that Forrester Research expects that virtual worlds may approach the Web in popularity in as little as five years, while Gartner forecasts that within ten, the greatest impact on consumer purchases will come from virtual experiences.
One can easily foresee that the 3D Internet will constitute a revolution in information visualisation, representation, transportation, and delivery. The technologies mentioned above enable a myriad of novel services and applications. The implications are hard to quantify, given their extent, since a new world will be open to people and products.