Another Internet revolution is coming

Published: November 17th, 2008

I am a media man – that is to say, I live and depend on the media for aliving. I keep an eye daily on a number of technology as well asstraight news Web sites, and must start my day off with the morningradio news. Still, in many ways I’m a Luddite. I don’t have a FaceBookpage, don’t have a BlackBerry and don’t download podcasts. So I’mcasting a jaundiced eye at the latest report from an analyst firmcalled ThinkBalm, which touts something coming called The ImmersiveInternet.

The authors describe this futureincarnation as a collection ofemerging technologies combined with a social culture that has roots ingaming and virtual worlds. Among the things that will be created arethree-dimensional businessapplications that “deeply engross the user” and give people experiencesthat are perceived as real. After all, the report argues,we live in a video game culture, where social networking is a way oflife. What’s the payoff? “Properly implemented, this technology promises to uncoverpreviously unheard-of dimensions in engagement, which will in turnincrease workforce collaboration, effectiveness, and (staff) retention.When the Immersive Internet is used with the extended enterprise, itwill have similar positive impacts on customer, partner, and supplierrelationships.” In fact, it will become mainstream in fiveyears.

Wow. With a cheeringsection, how can the II miss? And the truth is, some big names see thisfuture as well. For example, Nortel is developing Web.Alive,sort of a Second Life for business (or it was while CTOJohn Roese was with the company). And ThinkBalm says it knowsof an unidentified number of Fortune 500 companies that view theImmersive Internet as strategic. So the report goes on about thepotential benefits and where it will work (think training, forone).

But before you go rushing to your supplier, remember thereport’s caution: “This is anemerging technology market populated primarily by small softwarevendors and open source projects, making technology selection difficultand risky.”

You can get a copy of the report yourselfhere.Read it and let me know what you think.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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