When you think of virtual worlds, the first one that probably pops into your head is Second Life, but in reality, there are a number of different virtual worlds out there. There are worlds for socializing, worlds for gaming, even worlds for e-learning. But one thing that most virtual worlds have in common is that they are places for play, not practicality. (Yes, even the e-learning worlds are designed with elements of “fun” in mind). Outside of some reports that virtual worlds will replace web conferencing in the enterprise, we haven’t seen a lot of innovation in this space which would make businesses sit up and take notice. However, that may be about to change thanks to new software that lets you perform data visualization and manipulation techniques within the virtual world environment.
The software, Glasshouse by Green Phosphor, lets you take data from either a spreadsheet or database query and place a 3D representation of it into a virtual world environment where it can then be explored interactively. Users are inserted into the virtual world as an avatar which can then manipulate the visualization of the data by drilling down into it, re-sorting it, or even just spinning it around to see it from all angles.