SOURCE: IBM

October 10, 2007 11:58 ET

IBM and Linden Lab Launch Collaboration to Further Advance the 3D Internet

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwire - October 10, 2007) - IBM (NYSE: IBM) and Linden Lab®, creator of the virtual world Second Life® (www.secondlife.com), today announced the intent to develop new technologies and methodologies based on open standards that will help advance the future of 3D virtual worlds.

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 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.

"As the 3D Internet becomes more integrated with the current Web, we see users demanding more from these environments and desiring virtual worlds that are fit for business," said Colin Parris, vice president, Digital Convergence, IBM. "IBM and Linden Lab's working together can help accelerate the use and further development of common standards and tools that will contribute to this new environment."

"We have built the Second Life Grid as part of the evolution of the Internet," said Ginsu Yoon, vice president, Business Affairs, Linden Lab. "Linden and IBM shares a vision that interoperability is key to the continued expansion of the 3D Internet, and that this tighter integration will benefit the entire industry. Our open source development of interoperable formats and protocols will accelerate the growth and adoption of all 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.
    
--  Open standards for interoperability with the current Web: Open source
    development of interoperable formats and protocols. Open standards in this
    area are expected to allow virtual worlds to connect together so that users
    can cross from one world to another, just like they can go from one web
    page to another on the Internet today.
    
    

IBM is actively working with a number of companies in the IT and virtual world community on the development of standards-based technologies. This week IBM hosted an industry wide meeting to discuss virtual world interoperability, the role of standards and the potential of forming an industry wide consortium open to all. This meeting is expected to also begin to address the technical challenges of interoperability and required and recommended standards.

Linden Lab has formed an Architecture Working Group that describes the roadmap for the development of the Second Life Grid. This open collaboration with the community allows users of Second Life to help define the direction of an interoperable, Internet-scale architecture.

For more information about the Second Life Grid visit http://secondlifegrid.net/. The Second Life community maintains information about the Architecture Working Group at http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Architecture_Working_Group.

About IBM

For more information about IBM, please visit www.ibm.com.

About Second Life

Second Life is a 3D online world with a rapidly growing population from 100 countries around the globe, in which the Residents themselves create and build the world, which includes homes, vehicles, nightclubs, stores, landscapes and clothing.

The Second Life Grid is a sophisticated development platform created by Linden Lab, a company founded in 1999 by Philip Rosedale, to create a revolutionary new form of shared 3D experience. The former CTO of RealNetworks, Rosedale pioneered the development of many of today's streaming media technologies, including RealVideo. In April 2003, noted software pioneer Mitch Kapor, founder of Lotus Development Corporation, was named Chairman. Based in San Francisco, Linden Lab employs a senior team bringing together deep expertise in physics, 3D graphics and networking.

Note to editors: Second Life® and Linden Lab® are registered trademarks of Linden Research, Inc.

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