Visit to D|Lab, Institute of Digital Innovation

by Justin Souter on June 10, 2009

Last week I was lucky enough to visit Philip McClenaghan and Dan Riley at D|Lab:

a multi-disciplinary team of designers, researchers and digital specialists located within the Institute of Digital Innovation (IDI) which, in addition to developing product and service innovations for a range of industry clients, works extensively with business partners wishing to explore the potential of virtual worlds on the internet.

It was a very interesting meeting, and good to get reinvigorated about Virtual Worlds etc.! :-)

From my notes, & as I understand it:

  • D|Lab is a commercial venture, and it is developing a next generation VW platform which they plan to release later this year
  • They created Meta-Mole as a comparative database of virtual worlds platforms
  • I think Dan mentioned this Frost & Sullivan report which quoted a 465% rise in productivity [would be great to get a link to this]
  • D|Lab is interested in being able to import CAD & 3ds Max files / diagrams
  • They also mentioned the move to more commercial applications for VWs, e.g. Twinity
  • We discussed who’s doing what with VWS in the Region
  • In terms of how D|Lab differentiates itself:
    • Strong R&D activities
    • Developing applications & technology for VWs
    • As well as VW builds etc.
  • Re Machinima
    • Dan was able to confirm that D|Lab is able to produce Machinima
    • We discussed Pixel Palace – this is the link to the Tyneside Event, although I can’t remember the names of the presenters
    • UPDATE: Bill Thompson has tweeted:

@justingsouter Moviestorm crew – Hugh Hancock and Johnnie Ingram – are the machinima dudes you are looking for :-)

  • Working together
    • The potential business opportunity is for me / SCL to act as an informed & impartial recommender for those interested in Virtual Worlds to builders like D|Lab.
    • Clearly, being able to articulate what VWs, why people should care, what the benefits are etc. would be my stock-in-trade.

And that’s it really. :-D

  • interesting post justin, never been a big fan of virtual worlds myself but will keep an eye on this an see where it goes!

    For me the problem with virtual worlds is that i just don't see the point rebuilding an existing places, i can get a feel for the geography from something like google maps with sat images, maps and photos, if its to see a conference then a livestream with integrated twitter or chat is just as good, you see what i'm saying. As for meetings telepresence while expensive is fantastic.

    The only creative stuff i've seen is things like where the amazon guy, built a conceptual model of the way amazon cloud services works for thinking digital where you could explorer how virtual bits and pieces connected.

    I'm not saying that virtual isn't fun or doesn't have its place i just don't thing that its going to change the world. (maybe rebuild it in a virtual way).

    The other good virtual stuff i've seen isn't so much a hyper real virtual world as a navigatable virtual hotel room, with interactive features – designed by the orange panda guys.

  • David

    Thanks as ever for the comment. I would draw a distinction between Mirror Worlds, and more fantasy and / or game-like Virtual Worlds.

    I also think that bandwidth will catch up with computer power and make using VWs a more viable experience.

    On the other hand, I recall it took me a while to get used to the whole Second Life idiom, so for crumblies like me VWs could always be a touch proposition! However, for those comfortable with computer games, I think it’s a much easier ‘sell’.

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