There is Life after Facebook – Why You should be Ready for the Web’s Next Revolution

By MarkBurhop


I stole this title from an internal publication that goes out to Siemens employees. We (Siemens) has a number of research activities going on related to what might be called “Immersive Internet”, Web 3.0, or simply Virtual Worlds. It was a good article discussing where some of these technologies might be taking us.

The subject came up again at the COFES conference last week. There was plenty of talk in the use of social media in the design process and some of that was on the 3D technologies above. (Note: I wasn’t there but thanks to the wonders of social media, I was able to follow a few of the threads – thanks to the folks that tweeted and live blogged during the conference! Check out the #COFES2009 twitter tag for more info and CAD folks you might want to follow.)

Now, this week, I’m tracking some discussions going on at the 3D training, Learning and Collaboration conference in Washington DC. Its an “…event for businesses seeking to understand and maximize business strategies using virtual worlds.” Of course, they have a twitter tag too so check out #3DTLC for comments and links to what was going on here.

Everyone is trying to figure out where and how social media fits in with their business. I don’t want to write yet another blog on Twitter and Facebook (Deelip Menezes has a good one) s but I do think those of us working in 3D are going to be increasingly interested in the 3D branch of this social media tree.

The video above takes a architectural design and recreates it using realXtend. You can stage it like a model home. You could get together with the builder before it is built for a quick meeting. Its not too hard to extrapolate these ideas out to product design. You may not be able to use Facebook to design a car but having a virtual meeting around a virtual model of the car is another story.

In terms of solutions, Second Life has received most of the hype the last few years. However, if you track the discussions above, most business and education experts are thinking beyond this. The open source OpenSim is the most interesting solution to me right now. Groups like the Reaction Grid and XRGrid are showing up which will host and support OpenSim. Of course, when you talk business and social media, there is always the guy in the back of the room saying, “what about security!” or “I don’t want some 3rd Party controlling my data”. You can bring in and support an OpenSim server behind your firewall just like you might do with a Web server.

Now I’m not saying to start loading up OpenSim with your CAD models and start inviting marketing, customers and third party suppliers to see them. Most of us haven’t caught up with Web 2.0 yet so Web 3.0 may be a few years off. I am saying social media will have role in product development and its more than using Twitter and Facebook (IMHO).

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at