There are still many start-ups (young and old) clearing the path towards virtual worlds. ”Portals” that allow us to dive into digital realms to inhabit new personae to slay dragons, get a date, or just IM with a sales rep.
More recently there has been a lot of work in blurring the boundary between the real and virtual in the opposite direction. Augmented Reality is easy to spot with applications like the iPhone app from Acrossair below - a very cool app launched last year.
Now there are companies that are taking or creating social data and transposing it onto the world around us through location. It’s all very, very new so the data is raw and many will just scratch their heads. But watch the video below that maps the activity at South by Southwest (SXSW) of users of Twitter, Foursquare, Gowalla, BrightKite, Flickr, Bump, and a couple of other social platforms and apps.
If you’re in an office of 5 people and you’re all using Yammer or Twitter, then it’s maybe not so interesting. But what if you’re working at a huge sprawling campus in HP, Kaiser, or Stanford University? Get’s interesting huh?
Imagine not only reaching out for help or information on a corporate wiki, but you could see where people are and walk over and ask as they walk down a corridor. Or you could join in on a “water cooler” discussion about a product roadmap item that your CTO just got into with a bright-eyed intern, or the VP Product Marketing.
You can see barriers start to be broken down in the physical as well as the virtual worlds. And that’s a good thing for productivity and creativity. It’s not just for selling Starbucks.
(Props to Robert Scoble for the video and inspiration.)
This post was written by James Colgan on March 26, 2010