IBM creates the "virtual conference room"

Teleconference calls are so 2008.

IBM today announced a new software tool, Sametime 3D, which allows people to hold virtual business meetings in virtual conference rooms.

It has its origins in the worlds of Sim City and MMORPGs. Users will be able to create their own avatars to represent them in the "rooms," and will be able to talk, share presentations and, in a cute move, be able "to, literally, throw ideas on the wall" to "see what sticks." The 3D technology means that users will be able to view presentations from all sides - an architectural model or gadget design, for example.

The "reusable meeting spaces" can represent many different types of commonly used meeting rooms, including an amphitheater, a board room and a "collaboration space" where people can work together on a project. Suggested uses include "brainstorming sessions, status updates, town hall-style meetings, rehearsals, training classes" and can be used both on a scheduled and impromptu basis.

It seems the biggest deal is that people on opposite sides of the world would be able to come together in a group setting on a moment's notice and be able to do virtually everything but feel and smell what's going on. IBM put together a video to show the capabilities - the good stuff starts about 1:20.

The program can integrate software the companies already are using and promises to be as secure as the company's network. Documents, presentations and snapshots from the meetings will be available to those who can't attend. The software may be fully available later this year, and is being tested by some of IBM's clients now. It uses version 8.0 of IBM Lotus Sametime and eventually may be able to connect to existing virtual worlds, such as OpenSim and Second Life.

Tags:  IBM, virtual