Walking in an OpenESB Wonderland

Yesterday, Jason invited me to a meeting with fellow guinea pigs colleagues Mark and Sebastien on short notice to investigate an issue with OpenESB. Although we are located in different parts of Europe, within just a few minutes, we were all in a room together analysing and solving the problem collectively. This could, of course, only be achieved by joining a virtual world in Project Wonderland...

OpenESB running in Project Wonderland

I know what you're probably thinking; virtual world technologies are not reliable enough to have serious business implications, or run business applications or conferences / events. I would argue that virtual worlds like Wonderland encapsulates technologies that we already use and trust to conduct everyday business both with colleagues and customers. We no longer hesitate to conduct meetings and support remote IT systems using proven technologies such as VOIP, VNC and web conferencing, which normally provides additional application sharing options over VNC.

I've been to a few meetings of late which consisted of a conference call dial-in and a VNC session and a webex as well! The major benefit of Wonderland for me is that it brings all these technologies together intuitively, as opposed to having to manage them collectively ourselves. Additionally, Wonderland enables more possibilities than before by allowing parallel activities, private chats, video recording capabilities, the ability to conference in phone participants and a whole lot more. Sure, there may be teething issues while your applications are being optimised for use in this environment but the virtual world solves some common problems we normally face using alternatives. For example, have you ever hosted a conference call and wanted to keep the line open when you drop the call but can't remember the numeric code to punch in? Or have you wanted to conference someone into the call but accidentally dropped off the call. In Wonderland, you just walk over to the phone and dial!

It's actually incredibly simple and straightforward to set up a Wonderland server - see this Wonderblog entry on how to set up a shared Wonderland server if you're interested. It's also generally a lot of fun to use especially in an organisation where colleagues need to collaborate often but are perhaps remote or home-assigned and rarely get to 'see' each other.

It is interesting to see an open source ESB running in an open source virtual world. If you head over to Jason's blog you can view the video and read more about our meeting. As you will see, virtual worlds open up a number of new possibilities for conducting business and Wonderland features are improving all the time. The question, however, isn't what can an OpenESB Wonderland do for you, it's more a case of what you can do in an OpenESB Wonderland.

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Louis Polycarpou

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