Cisco Blogs

A Warm Welcome

August 15, 2007 - 8 Comments

Chambers' Avatar.jpgWelcome to the newest addition to the blog family at, Virtual Worlds!The term ‘Virtual Worlds’ can be a bit misleading, which is why you’ll see the term ‘Networked Virtual Environments’ in our blog description. We believe that these environments offer an excellent new tool in our collaboration toolbox, alongside established technologies like IP Telephony, Web Collaboration, and Telepresence. They also offer a number of new opportunities to collaborate in ways we haven’t had before, which is intuitively obvious to those who use them regularly, but we’ll work on enumerating in future blogposts.We encourage you to experiment with these environments, starting with Cisco’s virtual campus in Second Life, a virtual environment created by a San Francisco startup Linden Lab. Second Life uses geographic bookmarks, called ‘landmarks’, which can directly teleport you to a location in Second Life. If you have Second Life installed, click here to be taken to our virtual campus. Don’t be surprised if you see a number of other people there, as we have virtual events regularly such as our recent Networkers at Cisco Live! Be sure to check our upcoming event boards around the virtual campus and join us!You’ve probably noticed that we opted for a simple blog format as we get started, and will be adding more bling as we get going. We have already created a group that contains the links from our blogposts for easy reference.Last but not least, a note about the authors of the blog. We are the Networked Virtual Environments team within Cisco Technology Center, which is a group within Cisco chartered to look at new and emerging technologies as part of our Corporate Business Development organization. We are not a business unit shipping product, but rather a source of new technologies and ideas for Cisco. You’ll probably notice quickly that we wander far from the beaten path regularly, as is our charter.Having said that, we hope you enjoy the blog. Please don’t be shy in commenting and asking questions, as that’s part of this great conversation!Cheers, the Cisco Technology Center team

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  1. I am really looking forward to reading your insights; welcome to the blogosphere!

  2. Welcome to Second Life. I practice law in real life and on Second Life and find it to be endlessly fascinating. I am particularly interested in using virtual worlds to enhance the real life workplace. Think about in-person”” meetings, social events, trainings, team-building, among a real life global workforce in Second Life. I’ve set up a group in Second Life called “”Second Life Workplace”” to bring together interested avatars.”

  3. Christian, Randy, others, great to see your new blog. I fully agree with the use of the term ‘Networked Virtual Environments’, as we are effectively looking at a giant bowl of ‘soup’ with many ingredients to reach any modicum of connected ‘nirvana’ :-). Good luck.

  4. Great news! I look forward to reading your thoughts and input. Are congratulations in order? If not, congrats anyways!

  5. Thanks for the quick comments!@Suezanne (forgive my Twittereese), I love the idea. I’ve seen wall sized videoconferences for a number of years at the Media Lab at MIT that they used between their Cambridge and Ireland labs in a scenario such as the one you outline above, and we have the same in our breakrooms in our Technology Center offices in Raleigh and San Jose. It’s nice to bump into a colleague over coffee even when you are thousands of miles away.One improvement to this was something I saw implemented in the breakroom of Fuji-Xerox Palo Alto labs, where they used a touch-screen plasma monitor, in portrait mode, to show websites that were socially bookmarked by a percentage of the members of the local team. So, you grab your coffee, and do a little catching up on your reading at the same time. Great idea.One of the areas that we are constantly striving to improve is how you make an ‘over the network’ interaction as valuable and signal-rich as an ‘over the desk’ interaction. One of those variables, which is a key attribute of virtual worlds (or ‘verses, as I call them), is serendipity. I can’t very well bump into you on a telephone call, or (other than your example above) on a Telepresence call, however I can bump into your avatar in Second Life easily. How do we facilitate this serendipity, perhaps even nudge you in the direction of someone with shared interests? Food for thought.Thanks again for the comments folks. Christian

  6. Hello. Odd that I see a reference to this blog along with a reference to Cisco’s Telepresence technology just shortly after posting in my blog about my notion that it would be interesting to see Linden Lab link it’s San Francisco and Boston offices using Cisco’s Telepresence system.What I had in mind in my idea was creation of a permanently linked area, a distributed place in the Linden Lab offices where for example Philip Rosedale might walk past in San Francisco and John Lester in the Boston would see him walk by if he was in the shared location place in the Boston office. Instead of a desk or table physically located in both Linden Lab offices serving as the shared, co-mingled focal point of the distributed location meeting area, a Microsoft Surface unit could be used instead, synchronized so that the San Francisco and Boston Surface units functioned as if there was one Surface simultaneously. Hence John Lester could sit in shared presence area in Boston and see Robin Harper, for example, displayed life sized on the Cisco Telepresence system’s monitor, apparently sitting across the way a few feet on the other side of the of the Microsoft Surface table unit. By maintaining the telepresence link permanently, the nature of the shared location virtual place is changed from one that is created on demand in which to hold preplanned events to one that is more like just a normal part of the office, normal except that it has two widely separated physical locations. Why would Linden Lab have an interest in such a thing? Well, because it’s a metaverse idea and Linden Lab is a metaverse company. I’d like to see this shared location space extended to other companies that are working on the creation of the metaverse, so maybe Hui Xu would sit down in front of the Beijing metaverse room’s Surface and see Nicole Yankelovich sitting in Sun Lab’s metaverse room in Menlo Park. Philip Rosedale would sit down at the San Francisco site, and John Lester in the Boston area. Then the Friday night metaverse poker game would start.

  7. Don’t mind me. I’m just gonna speculate.

  8. Christian,I’m so delighted to see Cisco devoting a blog to the virtual worlds discussion! Having attended several of those events in Second Life you mentioned, I’d like to say that Cisco is providing great value to the growth, understanding and viability of virtual worlds – and those of us operating there appreciate your leadership.Welcome to the virtual worlds corner of the blogosphere – and I’ve already got your blog in my reader!