IBM to fund '3D Internet' project

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IBM to fund '3D Internet' project

3D world research part of $100m InnovationJam initiative.

IBM has announced plans to invest in a project to create a 3D internet.

A spokesman told that the US$100 million InnovationJam initiative will involve 10 projects including Web 2.0, enterprise tools and supercomputing visualisation to display supercomputing data graphically.

InnovationJam will also address console processors such as those in Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Sony's PlayStation 3.

A research and development project will create what IBM refers to as "a 3D Internet" of virtual worlds used by businesses and consumers.

IBM already has a presence in Second Life, the popular online 3D community. The company first began hosting meetings in Second Life last month, and IBM currently holds public and private events in the 3D world.

However, the IBM spokesman explained that Big Blue will not be investing in Second Life, or its maker Linden Lab, but will instead pursue an open source 3D world of its own.

"Our view is that, just as AOL and other internet services were early entry ways into the largely undeveloped World Wide Web, Second Life, other virtual worlds and massively multi-player game environments are the precursor to a 3D Internet," he said.

IBM is also planning an internal 3D intranet where employees can hold meetings to suggest confidential information.

The ultimate goal of the project is to create an environment where users can seamlessly navigate between 3D worlds of commercial areas, government and educational sites, and information services much in the same way that they currently view webpages.

"IBM hopes to help drive and build out the next generation Internet," said the spokesman. "One that is open, immersive and 3D."

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