Even before it was trendy, I was a fan of 3D HD voice - In fact back in 2004 I featured DiamondWare onstage at ITEXPO in Miami as a killer app. Over the years DiamondWare began integrating its technology into a virtual world and eventually the company was sold to Nortel and became part of web.alive which I covered here.
My last visit to the Ottawa campus of Nortel consisted of meetings with the tech team who told me they eventually see avatars everywhere - on cell phones, computers, etc.
Since that conversation I have been looking for signs of avatar/communications integration and I did compile a list of vendors who had an avatar strategy.
But here is the reality - if we are going to start seeing more avatar integration in telecom it has to come from our kids - just like text messaging, Twitter, Facebook and lots of other interesting technologies we once considered oddities.
Recently I learned that Second Life - the popular consumer based avatar laden community generates 15 billion minutes of web voice - or VoIP calls. And this reminded me of the popularity in the early days of Twitter and Facebook.
It remains to be seen if avatars will become mainstream but I get the feeling that this technology may just follow Twitter as a hot new thing everyone jumps on in years to come.
If you are looking to take advantage of avatar/communications integration the question you need to ask is whether you want to get involved now, before it becomes hip and trendy or wait for Oprah and Ashton to jump in first.