The Buzz

New World

Tech PR company goes virtual

Text 100, a public relations company that specializes in technology businesses, has opened its 31st office in Second Life, a virtual world that comes complete with an economy and intellectual property rights.

The office, which opened to the public Aug. 21, is designed as an experiment so Text 100 can "understand the next generation of audiences," said CEO Aedhmar Hynes, in San Francisco. Hynes said that at some point, the Second Life office will be considered a regular location on the companys home page, right between Seattle and Seoul, South Korea.

Text 100 isnt alone. In September, Starwood Hotels will open a hotel in Second Life to test out new concepts. Toss in newspapers, clothing stores and other entrepreneurial ventures, and this virtual worlds economy, which has its own currency, is booming.

So whats Text 100 going to do in Second Life? Hynes said that initially, the company will bridge the virtual and real world for clients. The idea is to get real-time feedback from more than 500,000 users. And as more companies set up islands in Second Life, Text 100 hopes to help them promote their outposts.

As Text 100 grows familiar with Second Life, Hynes said she expects a business model to emerge. In any case, Text 100 will be paid in Linden Dollars, the currency of Second Life named after the games creator, Linden Labs. Looks like the PR-free days for Second Life journalists are history.

Emerging Tech

Gartners hype cycle

On Aug. 9, Gartner rolled out its Emerging Technologies Hype Cycle, which "assesses the ma--turity, impact and adoption speed of 36 key technologies and trends during the next 10 years." The outline of the research can be found at gartner.com/it/page.jsp?id=495475.

Here are some key hyped technology categories and subsectors within them.

• Web 2.0: No surprise here, since folks have been yapping about Web 2.0 for years. Within that broad Web 2.0 category, Gartner said SNA (social network analysis) is rated as high impact and could mature in less than two years. SNA is the use of information and knowledge from many people and their personal networks. "It involves collecting massive amounts of data from multiple sources, analyzing the data to identify relationships and mining it for new information," Gartner said. Other hyped hotties in the Web 2.0 category include AJAX, competitive intelligence and mashups.

• Real World Web: Acronym alert! Here comes RWW. In the RWW, real-world objects will be able to interact with their surroundings through sensing and networking capabilities, Gartner said. Within the RWW, location-aware technologies will mature in less than two years. "Location-aware technology is the use of GPS, assisted GPS (A-GPS), Enhanced Observed Time Difference (EOTD), enhanced GPS (E-GPS) and other technologies in the cellular network and handset to locate a mobile user," Gartner said. Applications will ride shotgun with those technologies.

• Applications architecture: Thats a fancy way to say SOA (service-oriented architecture) will be hot. Gartner said the "modularity and agility offered by service-oriented architecture at the technology level and business process management at the business level will continue to evolve." In this category, EDA (event-driven architecture) will be hot, Gartner said. Under EDA, software will be put into compartments and activated based on certain events.

BlogWatch

Blogger not buying into latest research

The big question: Whats an IT manager going to make of Gartners aforementioned research? Paul Kedrosky, a venture investor with Ventures West, Canadas largest institutional venture capital firm, and author of the Infectious Greed blog, summed up the Gartner research this way:

"Im generally of the view that Gartners hype cycle releases, say, more about Gartner than about technology markets—they are really about hyping its upcoming publishing schedule," Kedrosky wrote.

—Compiled by Larry Dignan

By the Numbers

Parallel universe

514,090

Total users in Second Life as of Aug. 15

233,677

Number of active users logged in to Second Life in the last 60 days

Source: Text 100