Monday, October 22, 2012

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How an Offline OpenSim is a Better Tool for Real World Business Than an Online SL (Comment of the Week)

Sim on a Stick business sample

Last week I wrote about how Sim-on-a-Stick, a portable, offline version of OpenSim, was used to generate $300K in services for real world clients working on a contract for product placement in several dozen movie theaters. In Comments, Renee "Ener Hax" Miller, who led development on that project, explained why Sim-on-a-Stick (or SoaS) was better for this purpose (simulating these cinema spaces) than an online Second Life (or for that matter, I suppose an online OpenSim), for this application:

"Second Life would not have worked -- the customer used a selection of 100 cinema lobbies (saved as OAR files) and placed their client's products in those cinema lobbies (for example, like an Hewlett Packard launch where they have a display booth, etc), then the customer took images and video to include in their request for proposal response of their clients. No one needed to get in-world and that would have been a negative experience. The client only wants an idea of what their products look like in a specific lobby as part of a proposal (confidential, so you could have never have had them online, plus a proposal might be for 20 lobbies).

"Think of OpenSim as a 3D tool like SketchUp -- only faster and real-time for images and video. While $300k sounds like a lot, it's a small part of the company's annual revenue. For the end customer, we are talking about winning hundreds of thousands in business each year and using SoaS allowed them to set up lobbies in about 20 minutes to win that business (everyone else in this industry still uses plan views of the space and line drawings)."

Read more about this project on Ener's blog here (from whence I borrowed this image above).

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Pussycat Catnap

This makes logical sense.

If you want to demo a 3D mockup of something, you use a CAD program or a 3D animation render. And an Open Sim is somewhat like that - only much easier to put together and "move around in" than CAD software.

Second Life is best used as a social platform for contacting 'unanticipated others'.

Ie: meeting people and communicating with them.

For a 3D mockup, you want a machinima of an Open Sim.

For known contacts, you'd probably want an Open Sim. Ie: hosting a classroom through the 'SL technology' - through that kind of virtual world - would be better in Open Sim than in Second Life.

If I were the 'University of OnlinesVille', and I wanted to do my class in a 3D world rather than say... Adobe Connect chat rooms... I'd set up an Open Sim, for controlled access as well as controlled experience (nobody in class showing up with the wrong kind of avatar, not subject to a third party's ideas about when to restart my sims, etc...).

But if I wanted to host an open lecture, and invite in the public to attend... I'd go to Second Life and buy up a plot of land somewhere.

And accept my Gorean Furry Child Avatar griefers as they came, for the joys of what they might bring to the experience. :p

I would choose Second Life for the public, over Open Sims and Cloud Privacy-Invasion for access to the widest audience, that could come to my event on their terms (allowing me to encounter them in a manner that would reveal to me the most about their interests - I'd rather know what my customer's like than their birth certificate, this is why its easier to sell ads on Google than on Facebook. People will click on the 'enlarge my doo-hicky' ad on Google - which aggregates them by interests, regions, ages, etc, but not names, but they won't on Facebook, which reveals to me their entire ancestry.com DNA going back to the time of Christ).

Ps: This is also why I feel Cloud Party has no marketable future. Its tied to Facebook. And people get uptight about self expression when it comes back to bite them... I know -everybody- uses Facebook... but advertisers are pulling back from it for a reason... Everybody uses it... but they don't use it... Adverts there have insanely low ROI.

If you buy a 'sexbed' on Cloud Party, your Grandmother's going to know what color it was...

Winter Seale

@Pusscat Catnip: Yeah, I think the technology that Cloud Party has is absolutely nifty, but I can't quite imagine a use case that A) brings me to a shared virtual world and B) where I want my real name floating above my head.

I'd love to see a version that allowed for OpenID, or something like it, basically, bring cloud party to a niche community, rather then just building it around Facebook. I work for a niche but quite popular hookup site that I can imagine integrating Cloud Party with, if only it could federate with our psuedonymous auth system and not Facebook. (It's a hookup site, but we know that a good number of our customers don't actually spend money on our site to hook up, rather, we're essentially a form of user-generated-porn, with the *option* to hookup).

Joker

Same as it ever was... 3D computer visualization projects for clients 1995.

Pussycat Catnap

@Joker: Back then it was low poly and would have been a serious pain in the butt to set up.

Now, I assume any old IT person could figure out how to install this thing onto a USB stick. And anyone could just pop that into the side of a computer, double click the icon to run it, log in, and wander around.

And if its just a 'showcase' - pre-rendered and such... then you just need to do that while running something like iMovie (I suppose) and record yourself "playing" it, then send your client the resulting qucktime, flv, or mpeg file...

Kinda like how we had the internet in 1995, but its a lot easier to get to now and more content (/OMGtehSpam) rich.

Ezra

Display names other than one's real name have been available in Cloud Party for awhile now.

There's nothing from Facebook that Cloud Party uses except authentication.

The Cloud Party devs have already mentioned there'll be other ways to log in eventually. It's still in beta.

Pussycat Catnap

Oh, and the folks who want to say, vis-a-vis my Cloud Party comment... that SL is just for the freaks and real people want their IDs known...

http://www.nea.org/home/38324.htm

http://www.businessinsider.com/facebook-fired-2011-5?op=1
- This one... most of those are legit, some are not. Where do you draw the line?

Sometimes companies are -forced- into action when they don't want to be, because the place links up your private life to their image. Its not that they care about your private life, but that Facebook can force them to care the moment it links a person there to that person's employer...

Ciaran Laval

Shouldn't the headline be that sim on a stick can be a better better tool for RL business, rather than is a better option, in this particular use case, it was the better option.

Winter Seale

@Ezra: Display names, yes, but if you look at someone's profile, it goes straight to their Facebook. (Or it sure seemed to when I was last on, a couple days ago.)

Ezra

@Winter

Yeah that's still true. I was responding mostly to your comment about your name floating over your head, display names prevent that at least. Your Facebook profile is as private or public as you make it.

The important point is there will be alternate login methods eventually. It's fair to criticize Cloud Party now for using Facebook only for now (besides anonymous logins), but for all the future-tense talk it's worth acknowledging the fact the devs have said multiple times now there'll be other ways to login.

WhiteStar Magic

Will NOT ever use ANY piece of software, regardless of what it is, if it forces you to use FaceBook or any other such crapware. Even Google+ has gone too far as of late. Won't even use software that is produced that only has forums & support on FB (latest disturbing trend).

SoaS is a fine bit of simplification for many who are not technically oriented as it brings with it Diva's Web Interface (wifi) which uses Apache & PHP and sets up MySql to run when and as needed. This is generally beyond the normal capabilities of the average user population. If you consider Apache, Php, MySql, OpenSim are each fairly complex to install and setup, to have it all pre-packed in a sweet & simple "kit" which is portable via USB key/drive or installable on a local HDD this is a WIN, WIN & WIN situation for everyone wanting a taste and to have the ability to just "use it" instead of fighting with it.

Given that OpenSimulator is just as, if not more functional for prototyping & development than SL could be, it's a logical leap ahead to make use of it. OpenSim does Mesh (did it before SL) and has more extensions that benefit such work.

Lani Global

.
The number of Sim-On-A-Stick users is HUGE.

But since Sim-On-A-Stick users are not counted in "grid statistics", they don't fit neatly within the established metrics of traditional virtual world grids or MMOG mainframes.

Sim-On-A-Stick OpenSim software is also HyperGrid compatible, and part of the vast growing Metaverse.

LL execs decided they didn't want SL to be a part of the Metaverse anymore. In doing so, LL ironically gave up a huge business opportunity, in an industry they championed and popularized. LL also could have been the ubiquitous $L exchange for virtual world currency. This has the potential over the long term to be a bigger business than selling virtual land tiers in SL. Perhaps there is still a chance?

.


tyforsoas

I use sim on a stick to dabble with my mesh creations/ideas/learning. For this reason alone to me it is invaluable. Much thanks to the people who worked to get it out there for everyone.

Sarge Misfit

I adapted SoaS to run AuroraSim, which I used to build a 1024m x 1024m region, Excelsior Station. I currently have a 16SRE megaregion OpenSim SoaS running as my offline WorkShop, where I do all my building and script experimenting. The point of this is that, without SoaS, I would never have been able to do any of this.

As for names and verifications, well, That's been a long term experiment of mine. Go ahead and Google me. There's no doubting who I am or what my reputation is. If that isn't verification enough, then we have no need of doing business.

Furhtermore, I won't be used by the FaceBorg to generate their profits by giving them my RL info for free.

Desmond Shang

Add another quiet Sim on a Stick developer to the pile (me).

It's a great tool and has allowed me to preserve client intellectual property in the client's own hands without monthly charges.

For extra irony: I was working on a Sim on a Stick project even as the Solution Provider program was shut down.

Cincia Singh

The OP is comparing apples to oranges. The use of an SoaS in this application is like using a Power Point presentation with a 360 degree picture of a lobby. SoaS has many important and useful applications and this is one example of a perfect application for the SoaS, but it doesn't accomplish the same ends as a SL environment.

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