Friday, October 31, 2008

Virtual Worlds SOS Q3-2008 State of Standards Slides

The slides from my talk in Virtual Worlds London about the State of Standards are here. I made some minor corrections based on the tons of feedback I got. Thank you. This is a journey ... and it will take time (about 3 years according to the MPEG-V plan).

See full 45 page presentation with active links in pdf" Virtual Worlds SOS (State of Standards) Oct-2008.

Here's some description mainly for search engines.

Goal of Talk –For you: Invite people to participate in the MPEG-V Process (A formal process)
–For me: Gain feedback and inputs

Assumptions 1.Virtual Worlds have immense potential which can ONLY be fulfilled with a global standard.
2.Currant state of the art will be enhanced much faster if we focus on establishing common stack (“innovation points”)
3.We are just starting; we do not have all the answers.

Standards are usually misunderstood. At best – people have a very limited knowhow about what they are, how they work, and their different dimensions.
And… they go against human nature.
A typical meeting is like Tom Lehrer song about “national brotherhood week”
So here is a Typical Standards meeting:

Define Virtual Worlds We define Virtual Worlds as a combination of
3D: controllable environment, one can both, zoom, change camera position, etc.
Community: it is with real people, people can create groups, there is a system that allow communities to blossom.
Creation: there is a way to build content, services, and stuff.
Commerce: there is an ability to connect real economic value (real money).
The goal of the definition allow us to focus our efforts.

About Metaverse1 Metaverse1is a consortia of about 35 firms (big, small, universities).
Working under the ITEA-2 program (for building industrial research)
Most (but not all) are partially funded by their government -- about 25%-60%.
Players from Netherland, France, Spain and others.
A lot of energy on action – not enough on standards 

MPEG-V Approch Time Driven Process
Why MPEG and not this or that group (SDO – Standard Development Organization)?
Because we have access to it; and it has worked in the past
Is MPEG open?
What is Open? What to do with Patents?
I have a good technology? What do I do?
NOTE: Personally – I’m not 100% clear about the process – but I’m clear that ISO/MPEG is very formal.

About standards: The diverse uses of “standards” define the goal of this work, namely, to develop a general framework of standards and to reflect on the process and outcome of the development of the framework. My intention is to devise a theoretical framework that may be translated into practice at some future point. The principle outcome is a framework of standards that includes five dimensions: Level, Purpose, Effect, Sponsor, and Stage, each of which contains five categories that together define the dimension. The dimensions show:
how standards can be produced and used by entities from different Levels individual, organizational, associational, national, and multinational);
how they can have one or more Purposes (simplification, communication, harmonization, protection, and valuation);
how they can cause diverse Effects (constructive, positive, unknown, negative, and destructive);
how they can be developed by different Sponsors (devoid, nonsponsored, unisponsored, multisponsored, and mandated); and
how they can be in different Stages (missing, emerging, existing, declining, and dying).
In presenting the framework, the chapter also touches on the roles of standards in the industrial age, their potential roles in the knowledge age, and the current turmoil in the standards community. It includes reflections on designing and judging the framework.

Key points:
For virtual worlds to success we must have standards.
OpenSL ecosystem (Linden+OpenSim) seems to be in a good position… (with some “buts” of a unsponsored standard).
Other players have lots to add.
MPEG-V is a formal process – gears to standards between worlds, and between virtual and real.
Ultimately standards is a political “give and take” process – where we have to find the best solution in a given time -- let’s work together.

Feedback Welcome.