Saturday, May 17, 2008

Over 100 Federal agencies working on virtual worlds?

I'd missed this earlier from NextGov-- Agencies getting serious about virtual worlds:

The National Defense University is building a 600-seat auditorium above an island in a virtual world. Ten days ago, the Air Force put out a call to gauge companies’ interest in prototyping a virtual base. The Transportation Department has constructed a synthetic world with IBM. Last year, the State Department held an eight-hour jazz fest for 300 avatars and chatted in Second Life with 20 others from Canada and Poland about student visas.

It’s time to start getting real about the virtual work world. In less than nine months, the Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds has grown from a handful of agencies to more than 100.

It's a good read. It has some interesting things about how agencies are working to get around Federal regulations not prepared to handle something like this. For example, to get around the security issues of a .mil domain:

The Air Force training command created a .edu domain to get around the proscription, as did, reportedly, the Defense Acquisition University.

That's interesting. I thought that the .edu domain was reserved for accredited four year universities-- no exceptions? Guess that isn't true, or it depends on who is asking.

There's some other interesting things in the article about the difficulty of procuring space in digital worlds that I could relate to. When I first "purchased" an island in Second Life (for an educational project) I was surprised that it had been placed in our accounting system as a "land rental" fee. I laughed pretty hard at that until I had to suffer the pain of getting it fixed. After much effort we were able to get it categorized as a hosted service, and treated as an outsourced IT expense. But that wasn't the end of it. Just this week I was asked to explain to our granting source just what exactly it was we had purchased. Sigh! So it was nice to read in this article that there are others sharing in my pain.

1 comment:

Peg said...

Appear to be lots of degree-granting programs within the U.S. military to hang a .edu domain name on, Kevin.