From IBM press release
As more enterprises and consumers explore the 3D Internet, the ecosystem of virtual world hosts, application providers, and IT vendors need to offer a variety of standards-based solutions in order to meet end user requirements. To support this, IBM and Linden Lab, the operator of Second Life, are committed to exploring the interoperability of virtual world platforms and technologies, and plan to work with industry-wide efforts to further expand the capabilities of virtual worlds.
IBM and Linden Lab plan to work together on issues concerning the integration of virtual worlds with the current Web; driving security-rich transactions of virtual goods and services; working with the industry to enable interoperability between various virtual worlds; and building more stability and high quality of service into virtual world platforms. These are expected to be key characteristics facing organizations which want to take advantage of virtual worlds for commerce, collaboration, education and other business applications.
More specifically, IBM and Linden Lab plan to collaborate on:
- "Universal" Avatars: Exploring technology and standards for users of the 3D Internet to seamlessly travel between different virtual worlds. Users could maintain the same “avatar” name, appearance and other important attributes (digital assets, identity certificates, and more) for multiple worlds. The adoption of a universal “avatar” and associated services are a possible first step toward the creation of a truly interoperable 3D Internet.
- Security-rich Transactions: Collaborating on the requirements for standards-based software designed to enable the security-rich exchange of assets in and across virtual worlds. This could allow users to perform purchases or sales with other people in virtual worlds for digital assets including 3D models, music, and media, in an environment with robust security and reliability features.
- Platform stability: Making interfaces easier to use in order to accelerate user adoption, deliver faster response times for real-world interactions and provide for high-volume business use.
- Integration with existing Web and business processes: Allowing current business applications and data repositories – regardless of their source – to function in virtual worlds is anticipated to help enable widespread adoption and rapid dissemination of business capabilities for the 3D Internet.
This would be a giant step in virtual world, to my opinion, to have one avatar, and have the possibility to enter and travel with that same avatar other virtual worlds, without having the need to adjust the appearance.
The effort would first focus on studying situations where the ability to travel between virtual worlds is most in demand. The nuts and bolts of how to make different software work together will come later.
IBM and Linden announced the partnership ahead of a virtual worlds conference that starts in San Jose, California on Wednesday and is expected to discuss the formation of industry standards and other issues. Most participants are start-ups but the event has also attracted services and hardware heavyweights like IBM and Cisco , as well as software and entertainment giants Microsoft and Sony.
The event itself is seen as something of a coming-of-age milestone for an industry that is starting to be taken seriously as a provider of useful business tools and not just a quirky offshoot of the video game sector.