3D Animation Workshop: Lesson 95: From Sci-Fi to E-Commerce
Lesson 95 - From Sci-Fi to E-Commerce - Part 3
Blaxxun would prefer to operate solely as a technological provider. But for the time being, it finds it necessary to jumpstart its clients with production work and guidance, provided by Blaxxun itself or by affiliated developers. A kid's site at www.jester.com is typical. Blaxxun helped get the project going until the client was able to develop an in-house staff.
Although Blaxxun's primary technology is the Community Platform server and the Blaxxun Contact plug-in client, there are other important initiatives. Blaxxun has developed a Java applet in the style of Shout3D to create a 3D client application that does not require a plug-in. This is obviously very promising, because it allows anyone to enter a multi-user community without downloading and installing an application. It will take some time before the applet version can offer all of the features of the plug-in version, but Blaxxun is moving in that direction. The Blaxxun3D applet is also being offered for the kind of general purpose Web 3D development that Shout3D is used for, but this is not a major focus of the company. For the present, its emphasis is on using the applet as a client for the Blaxxun multi-user server.
The Community Platform server is large-scale, flexible technology requiring custom implementation. To fill a niche at a lower-end, Blaxxun is offering Instant Community, which is literally a set of 3D chat tools in a shrink-wrapped box. A very inexpensive program named Avatar Creator allows users to create custom models for themselves. Blaxxun is therefore looking to make the science fiction VR vision of a decade ago into a commodity and a routine experience.
Steve Trier, a Blaxxun marketing manager, spoke of the value of "shared experiences." Members of an online community can do things together, like see a movie and converse about it as it's playing. Better yet, they will soon be able to shop together. As a guy who grew in the mall culture of the San Fernando Valley, this idea resonates with me as commercially viable, especially among young people. Virtual trade shows and job fairs also could make great sense. And the ability to share an interactive 3D model in common is perfect for collaborative engineering and design projects. It's worthwhile to look over the examples on the showcase page on the Blaxxun site.
The most interesting, and seemingly most revolutionary application I saw is a virtual office building inhabited by tax and business consulting professionals. Advopolis is a German site, and I wish I understood German so I could understand the business arrangements involved. Apparently, you can meet online in a virtual office and confer (and exchange documents) in a secure environment. This is pure virtual real estate and Rob Rothfarb acknowledged that this may seem a frivolous use of interactive 3D, but stressed that Europeans had different expectations about the use of 3D graphics than Americans did. Check out the link from the Blaxxun site, especially if you read German, and see what you think. It was as if the ultimate sci-fi VR fantasy had gone "button down." What a crazy world!
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Created: June 18, 2000
Revised: June 18, 2000