I just attended a meeting in Second Life where SunMicrosystems’ Nicole Yankelovich described Sun’s Wonderland 0.5, which is planned to be released this summer. While a 0.5 version in any software program demonstrates that it is in its earliest stages, Wonderland is trying to address many of the concerns corporate training departments have expressed about Second Life.
Firewall Issues: While SL is planning to release a version that can exist “behind the firewall,” Wonderland has been built from the ground up with the intention of existing behind the firewall.
Remote Access: In SL, employees who do not have access to a computer are not able to participate in meetings. Sun has addressed this issue by creating an inworld phone system where people can call in and attend the meeting. While it is obviously more beneficial to have everyone inworld during the meeting, this dial in approach at least allows employees to participate at some level.
Business Tool Focus: Because Wonderland is focused on business and education, it includes tools built specifically for those purposes and therefore incorporates powerpoint slides, white boards, Web integration and data visualization.
Multiple Conversations: SL started with text chat communication and then integrated voice. Wonderland has been built with a focus on voice chat. Therefore they have developed tools such as a microphone that allows front of the room speakers to extend the reach of their voice, while attendees can reduce the extent of their voice projection so that they can essentially conduct IM Voice Chats.
While these are interesting developments, Wonderland has a long way to go before it overtakes Second Life. Tomorrow we will discuss some of the limitations of Wonderland that may prevent it from reaching a 1.0 level…