--Jasmine Spearing, Marketing Associate
On Thursday October 21st, at 9 am UK time (GMT +1), OnLand will officially launch in Blue Mars. OnLand is the first Blue Mars City to provide 3D interactive collaborative spaces specifically designed to meet the needs of businesses.
It is the brain child of DLAB, part of the Institute for Digital Innovation at Teesside University in Middlesborough, UK.
Philip McClenaghan, the deputy director of DLAB, explains how the project began. “The development of OnLand started at the time we discovered Blue Mars in 2008 and realised what this technology could, potentially, deliver. Deciding to think big, we envisaged an immense, global, corporate landscape with thousands of business buying, selling, collaborating and innovating online.”
The OnLand launch event will take place at the Institute for Digital Innovation at Teesside University, featuring presenters from DLAB, and its tenants.
A simultaneous event will take place in Blue Mars from OnLands’s Northern Design Quarter, allowing online attendance, and an in-world presentation by Jim Sink, our Avatar Reality CEO.
The Northern Design Quarter (NDQ) www.northerndesignquarter.com, is an immersive innovation district and a tenant of OnLand, funded by a £1m EU grant to North East of England Creative Sector SMEs, from the European Regional Development Fund. McClenaghan explains the vision for The NDQ project.
“The quarter aims to ensure that North East (England) companies have the knowledge, skill and operational presence to support innovation and enterprise to become competitive pioneers of the 3D web. They could be business directors having a meeting with several sub-contractors in different parts of the world or an important overseas customer who hasn’t the time to come to England to discuss alterations to a product’s design,” he said.
Qualifying North East of England SMEs are granted a 20 square metre plot within the NDQ immersive innovation district for free until June 2012.
The NDQ aims to have 76 companies from across the North East region developing virtual business units on the site by June 2012. The virtual plots of land can be used in any way they wish to promote, exhibit and demonstrate their businesses on a global scale.
The significance of virtual spaces can’t be underestimated for the future of business, according to McClenaghan.
“In an era of ravaging travel cuts, the internet is becoming an increasingly valuable asset for companies seeking effective, inexpensive ways to meet and communicate. The capacity now to explore and interact with online photo-realistic 3D content enables entirely new modes of business interaction,” he said.
Although he understands the skepticism of some, McClenaghan believes that the recent shift toward virtual world use by a younger audience is significant.
“What we are seeing is the future of virtual worlds. These users, growing up with virtual worlds, are the workforce of tomorrow. This growing user acceptance of virtual worlds in a social context coupled with the undoubted benefits to business of 3D online collaboration lead one to believe that virtual worlds not only have a future but that this future will see virtual worlds becoming an essential part of collaboration between individuals, both socially and professionally,” he said.
The in-world event on Thursday October 21st is open to anyone interested in online collaborative spaces for business. Visitors are required to register for the event via the Northern Design Quarter portal: http://www.northerndesignquarter.com/events/onLand.aspx
For more information on DLAB, visit: http://DLABtees.com/.