Friday, 11 July 2008

Innovatie Eiland

Even my tenuous grasp of other European languages is good enough to spot Dutch when I see it, and that is indeed the case with tonight's sim: Innovatie Eiland. Furthermore, I will push the boat out with a bold attempt at translation. I could be wrong, but I'm plumping for Innovation Island. It seems like an age since I last posted a piece about Dutch sims. In early 2007 it seemed hard to move without stumbling on a new Dutch build, but latterly I cannot claim to have seen many. I do realise that this sim itself may go back a long way - it's just that I have only just stumbled on it. However, I have some reason to believe it is not that old - as you will see - but if I am wrong, then this sends a worrying message about the state of non-residential, RL business use of Second Life.

It's a bit difficult to figure this place out - so bear with me. As far as I can tell, it belongs to Syntens, though the website is about as much use as a chocolate teapot to a non-Dutch speaker. Fortunately another site has all the info I need - and it's in English. Here are the salient points: "Syntens focuses on helping medium and small sized enterprises to innovate quicker, better and sooner, by being a full partner to the management and R&D directors... Syntens is a not-for-profit organisation, which operates in and with companies that want to innovate. Syntens’ advice stretches to the first crucial phases of innovation: finding the challenge and the best path for its solution."

It seems quite natural that a company with strong innovation credentials should gravitate to an innovative innovation environment like Second Life. *Phew* That's a lot the 'i' word!

Their presence in Second Life has been constructed by DNBmedia (cool website by the way), a digital media and virtual worlds build and consulting company, like Syntens based in Amsterdam.

As for the island itself, it is a clever construction, built in 2 layers. The lower layer seems to be a rural scene in present day Holland, with a farmstead set amid fields, with old churches, traditional towns and a modern wind farm on the horizon. Clever use of shadowed textures and photo-quality road tesxtures give a wonderful sense of being there. All of this is enclosed in a megaprim hemisphere, who inner surface provides the sky view, and serves to block out some the "machinery" of the sim.

The second layer is a couple of hundred metres above sea level, and comprises the same rural scene, but this time at some unspecified time in the future - presumably after all this innovation stuff has been done. The farm, roadways and canals are pimped in a sci-fiwards direction.

Use the teleport in the barn (also acting as a seminar room) to teleport between the 2.

But where's the innovation? hmmm... not sure. One thing I failed to point out is the group of open-sided spheres, floating over this pastoral landscape. The are labelled with various business areas, such as Logistics or Health. But only a few of them have any contents - hence my earlier observation about the state of RL business in SL. If this sim has been here for a long time, then it is remarkably underutilised - a worrying sign. On the other hand, if relatively new, then it is providing room for growth. Maybe someone will tell me which is true!

In any event, the spheres that are occupied seem only to carry links to traditional websites. While this is fine, it is hardly at the cutting edge of innovation. Nevertheless, the build itself is rather good, and the split "now/future" concept is very neat indeed. Here's my snaps, which I hope give you a fair view of the place:


Arianne Bijma said...

Hi, being the person behind the Innovatie Eiland, I hope I can clear up a few things. The island is relatively new and mainly used for private meetings. We offer our partners (universities, industrial societies etc.) a platform in the spheres, but not many are interested. Target audience is Dutch companies who want to experiment with virtual worlds without the hassle of building their own sim.

VeeJay Burns said...

MMM.... I wonder what "Relatively New" means, as I blogged this island back in February at Syntens Innovation Island.

At that stage I think it was relatively new, and perhaps partly under construction. It seems not much has happened in the past 6 months.