Mobile Virtual Worlds Emerge

There are so many communications companies pushing products and services revolving around virtual worlds, one wonders if we are about to see a new subset of communications break out and achieve mass appeal like VoIP, the iPhone or Blackberry. Do you think we could see a time when we all have avatars — or even multiple avatars used when communicating with different people?

Think about it… A work avatar in a suit, a casually dressed avatar for hanging out with your friends and yet another more "elegantly dressed" avatar for communicating with members of the opposite sex.

I recently wrote that Nortel, Dialogic and NMS are in this space but I forgot to mention that IBM too is deploying a virtual world communications system for US intelligence agencies. (Credit goes to Tony Rybczynski for reminding me yesterday of this).

Nortel recently espoused how we will one day use avatars on our mobile phones and it seems they were right on — at least in theory. You see, Vollee will now provide streaming virtual world interactivity to a cell phone near you. NMS, Sonus and Dialogic too have pushed the concept but it seems their solutions are more carrier specific.

The Vollee news is truly huge as it shows that we can now take advantage of virtual worlds on the go — regardless of carrier. At first mention, I did have concerns about the speed of mobile virtual worlds as even laptops choke when in Second Life but then again if the processing is done on a  host and just the delta of the frames is sent to the devices, the concept has "legs." In fact, this is how the Skyfire browser works — it just sends graphics to a device and allows it to render simple bitmaps as opposed to having to deal with complex 3D graphics which would require substantial memory and processing power.

The unfortunate news is the service does not work with my HTC 6800 at the moment but it does work with the HTC Tilt 8925. Here is a video (bottom left) of the service working on a mobile phone at PC speed or better.

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