Friday morning, getting up after the Zanox Summer Party and heading straight to the Berlin Open Coffee Club in the Carras Café at Potsdamer Platz. The crowd was a little smaller than usual, due to the aforementioned party I think, but the networking was good. The idea is simple, existing more or less world wide, you arrive, grab a coffee and at some point the initiator introduces him/herself and then everybody else does the same. The aim is to meet at least three new people, because you know who is there you know, who you can talk to.
A lot of 3D and virtual world stuff was going on this weekend in Berlin, I missed the Second Life meetup, but since it immediately was followed by the bizzin3D meetup (organized by Tobias Neisecke from Youin3D), I got my fair share of what is going on in the 3D world. Roughly 80 people gathered and spent their whit sunday afternoon and evening together. I did not see many journalists, a shame since the who is who of virtual worlds was there and could have been interviewed: representatives from companies from the UK, Slovenia, France, Netherlands, Poland etc. The big worlds like Second Life (Linden Lab), Twinity (Metaversum), Habbo and others where on panels.
The first panel of the Bizzin3D meetup was titled “The Immersive Internet – Virtual Worlds and the Transformation of Business”. I enjoyed the honesty of the panel – the transformation has clearly just begun and it will take many years till there is a clear change due to virtual worlds (VWs). The change we see is due to new concepts in our digital age, a shrunken world (in distances), a bigger world (in possible experiences). However, having companies like Linden Lab and Metaversum in Berlin existing solely on Virtual Worlds and their service providers like Second Interest and Youin3D is already a change to the old world. The VWs user growth is now in children and youths, so a new generation is growing and using VWs, the real Digital Natives are born not longer than 3-5 years ago. I doubt that many users watched the events in Second Life and twinity, though I think it is absolutely necessary to do the streaming of course.
It’s all about monetisation in the end, so to the question why companies should move to a VW, Clare Rees basically pointed to “collaboration”, Michael Schumann stressed future advantages: “these are strategic moves today for a strategic advantage tomorrow” and Mirko Caspar showcased his Asian early adopter Singapur, who has great plans for their digital future. ..and I guess all three are legitimate answers and all true at the same time. The general agreement was that, if you are able to bring your own audience, you can start now.
But again, in my opinion it will take years till we are at a stage, where use of VW is widespread in the corporate world. I, however, believe VWs will be a major part of the future natural habitat of Digital Natives, since interaction there is much more natural than over mail etc. The question I wanted to ask Second Life, when they will allow the use of real names (since they have already real cities (newBerlin e.g.) could not be answered (“we are thinking about it”), I give them another 6 months max., till they do that, the need is clearly there.
If you are interested in a much more detailed view on this event, Mr.Topf a.k.a Tao Takashi was there and has published a review in his blog.