Project Chainsaw is the code name for Nortel’s enterprise virtual collaboration product, web.alive. Web.alive allows people to interact with one another in a virtual business landscape in real time.
Unlike the popular virtual world software application Second Life, web.alive is browser-based. This is a significant improvement for enterprise use because instead of draining the end user’s computing resources, the server hosting web.alive’s software does all the heavy lifting. The server can be hosted by Nortel in the cloud or the web.alive software can be installed and managed on a corporate server behind a firewall. The end user, who sees the virtual world as a Web page, is only required to download a small browser plug-in.
A second advantage of web.alive over Second Life is that the primary mode of communication is voice. Just like in real life, when people in the web.alive virtual environment become closer in proximity, their voices become louder and more distinct. Nortel calls this “3D spatial audio.” It’s a helpful tool that allows end users to speak in small groups without picking up everyone else’s background chatter. For presentations and broadcast messages, web.alive includes a “microphone” tool called OmniVoice.
Web.alive has the potential to be a cost-effective and entertaining way to host conference calls, meetings, virtual seminars, virtual trade shows and training sessions. Navigation in web.alive’s virtual environment is simple and intuitive. This week, Lenovo is using web.alive to host a virtual store that’s being showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas. Visitors who come to the virtual store can view Lenovo products, talk to sales representatives, view specific product specifications and price lists or just explore the virtual environment.
Virtual World News has an excellent Q&A interview with Arn Hyndman, web.alive’s chief architect.
If you are viewing this on a PC, you may want to visit the virtual environment that Nortel built for Lenovo.