RESEARCH PROPOSAL PAPER ON FUTURE OF 3D INTERNET TECHNOLOGY IN BUSINESS

FUTURE OF 3D INTERNET TECHNOLOGY IN BUSINESS

Abstract

The World Wide Web that was first established as a document storage area is fast transforming into a fully-fledged 3D virtual environment, which is intended to aid services, relations, and communication. The future of 3D internet technology in business is bright as it is designed to prevail over the present limitations and address emerging trends such as network architecture, content and service delivery across heterogeneous networks, team collaborations in virtual worlds, new forms of 3D user generated provisioning, mass digitization, content, interaction with enhanced security, trustworthiness and privacy among others (Boughzala et al. 2012, p.714). All these elements are essential in promoting businesses at different levels in the fields of entertainment and information assimilation, like virtual real estate, brand building and marketing. These applications will in time result to serious transformations in the business and economic environments. This paper investigates the future of the 3D internet in business by looking into the changing social systems through avatars, predictions of 3D internet business applications, and the consequent accountability and accounting implications, as well as consumer perceptions of product descriptions in the currently prevalent websites and 3D internet platform. It will also investigate particular organization levels and study challenges that ought to be tackled to realize the 3D Internet technology.

Introduction

The Internet has undergone far-reaching changes since the early days of its introduction and it has become quite a critical communication platform for the global social welfare and economical performance.

The development of technology has always promised a better future for the business, and the upgrading of the 2D internet to 3D internet has enabled many businesses to grow (Brown et al. 2011, p.546). This is because the future of business has always been pressured by the development of technology. The applications in the 3D internet technology are increasing in the fields of information assimilation and entertainment, with regards to virtual real estate, brand building and marketing. Improvement of the 3D internet in the future will create a more powerful way for which business customers, consumers, students, coworkers and other business partners will be reached by the business (Brown et al. 2011, p.546). This will improve the immediacy of television, the relationship-building power of social networking sites and further perk up the versatile content of the web, which will all improve the field of business development and interaction (Borner, K., and Penumarthy, S., 2003, p.182). 3D internet will improve the television technology by ruling out its passive nature, it has had in previous years and upgraded it to promote inherent interaction and engagement of the views. The virtual world has provided impressive effects that imitate real life situations and at times even exceed the real life.

Characters in the 3D internet technology, avatars, can be used to influence change in this unrelenting world. Businesses are already acknowledging the potential of the 3D internet technology in terms of marketing and collaborations with the customers (Boughzala et al. 2012, p.717). People that engage in virtual world stay for longer time on the Internet and with high levels of interest. Businesses have; therefore, taken advantage of these situations because of the grown interest of the public and have benefited heavily from their early stake in this fast-growing market. These businesses include technology masters such as Cisco, IBM, and Microsoft. These businesses gain from high viewership of their advertisements from those virtual world sites.

Even though the 3D internet is fast gaining recognition in the business world, there exists skepticism whether the idea will be adopted on a large scale by businesses. The reasons for concern are the technological problems associated with the present 3D platforms and the learning curve required for individuals to shift from websites to 3D platforms (Houliez & Gamble 2012, p. 31). However, with the increased production of cost effective and more efficient hardware that supports faster and richer 3D platforms, it is highly probable that technological problems will cease to be a concern. On the second concern, there is a steady transformation of the idea of representation of information from their basic forms to more intuitive forms that are rich in sound, video, animation and almost real structures.

Currently, the world seems pretty comfortable with the web in carrying out social interactions, education, business transactions, but with the required technological development to support and make these actions better, the world will definitely make a smooth shift (Levin 2010, p.17).

Research Aims and Objectives

  1. To establish why the difference between websites and the 3D internet platforms with regard to consumer perceptions
  2. To establish the current trends and the future perspectives of 3D internet technology in business
  3. To establish the strategies that businesses can employ when marketing products in the 3D internet technology
  4. To establish the challenges facing the 3D internet technology in business

Research Questions

  1. What is the difference between websites and the 3D internet platforms with regard to consumer perceptions?
  2. What are the current trends and the future perspectives of 3D internet technology in business?
  • What are the strategies that businesses can employ when marketing products in the 3D internet technology?
  1. What are the challenges facing the 3D internet technology in business?

Background

In the recent years, more attention has been given to documentation of business processes and design analysis of information systems in terms of modeling (Boughzala et al. 2012, p.714). The practice of process modeling has emerged as a fundamental instrument that facilitates decision making as far as the context of analysis and the design of process-aware information systems is aware information systems. The process modeling grammars are applied as part of the process modeling suite for the 2D graphical model and also for the complementary functions that enable simulation, reporting and analysis of process models that are stored (Houliez & Gamble 2012, p. 31). Currently, there are no commercial tools that can explicitly support collaborative process modeling, which are much more effective and could advance the business world to greater heights.

Literature Review

Consumer Perceptions

Some of the consumer factors that aid in leveraging the 3D opportunities for online businesses in order to or not form intentions to buy and even actual purchases include informativeness, trust, product diagnostic and product descriptions (Goel & Prokopec 2009, p. 117). Trust poses a major limiting factor that influences the outcomes of online transactions due to the perceived risks concerning legitimacy. Customers feel that physical establishment where they can return goods talk to someone or register complaints are more ideal, as they are also more often embedded in social networks (Boostrom 2010, n.p.). Through the 3D internet platform, the consumers can access virtual forums with social networks, where they can interact, exchange opinions and rate products and services (Goel & Prokopec 2009, p.117). Therefore, consumers have higher trust for 3D internet technology than the websites.

Business Strategy

The decision to engage in any business strategy is influenced by the ability to reduce costs, find value addition or probability of market extension (Goel & Prokopec 2009, p.120). The environment offered by the 3D internet presents unique opportunities for the representation of products and services. A virtual strategy depicts a firm without a physical address, while a parallel strategy depicts one whose virtual presence is not linked to the physical address. In the mirror strategy, a firm would have a web channel that completely resembles their physical channel, while in a synergy strategy, a firm links the virtual and physical worlds but still exploit the benefits of each of the strategies. It is highly likely that consumers will show more preference to a business that adopts the synergy strategy because their satisfaction will be higher for brands offered through that channel (Goel & Prokopec 2009, p.121).

Technology and Applications

The initial design of the internet was meant for networking research and the exchange of information amongst the scientists. However, due to the development of the World Wide Web and the web 2.0 produced by professional and amateur  users, the face of the internet has rapidly transformed and is headed to be a fully virtualized environment that enhances services, interaction and communication (Brown et al. 2011, p.546).. It is anticipated that the future of 3D internet technology will be interactive with autonomous characters, in terms of understanding its environment, having opinions and take decisions.

The 3D social communities are expected to permit individuals to utilize the three dimensional environment to communicate and interact with each other just like in the real interactions (Borner K., and Penumarthy, S., p.182). This will involve face to face meetings with accurate gestures, facial expressions, and correct sound direction. It is also expected to offer personalized entertainment that support interactivity, non-linear storytelling, the ability to capture and reproduce the real world in 3D through multi-viewership and the ability to have coexistence between the virtual and the real world.

The increasing use of 3D internet technology is added by advancements in computing that render graphical images, which are more realistic than they have ever been. One of the catalysts that drive the zeal for advancements in 3D internet technology is the video game industry (Brown et al. 2011, p.546).. The most comm0on applications for 3D internet technology are the 3D computer aided design, which allows businesses to develop an exact replica of the product before they manufacture it. This has helped many businesses to avoid unnecessary costs in production of materials or products that may be otherwise substandard, thereby sustaining the capital base and minimizes losses.

The 3D computer aided designs are currently increasing among small businesses too due to the affordability of the technology. It was not until recently that the cost of 3D products began to drop so that many businesses including the small ones could afford (Brown et al. 2011, p.546).. The falling prices have made 3D computing more accessible to a wide range of businesses, like jewelry, electronics, automobiles and household consumer products. It is estimated that3D computer aided design managed to generate approximately 3.4 billion.

The concept of 3D internet is quickly taking over in the fields of medicine and architecture, with the aim of advancing bio-engineering and facilitating model creations for constructions, respectively. In some other areas of business, like the fashion world, the 3D internet technology will enable the creation of fabric textures and 3D models with different shapes to determine the clothes that fit well, and will be made to walk down runways. Fashion designers will be able to create entire cloth lines virtually before taking a step to cut any piece of fabric. Using the 3D internet technology saves time that would be used in creating physical samples and the time interval in getting approval for selling, as the designers are waiting for particular fabrics to arrive.

The 3D internet technology will enable people to create virtual images of themselves in a world of second life, which will be made possible by body scanners (Wyld 2010, p. 529). This concept provides unique and intimate sense of co-presence and togetherness, which can be harnessed by the businesses in conferences and boardroom meetings.

Challenges

Accountability is a hotly contested topic both in the real world and the virtual, with the latter drawing more challenges. The challenge is in the view that if reality can be contested, then how can the virtual world be held accountable or trusted and what constitutes the “self” when avatars digitally represent individuals? (MacKenzie, Buckby & Irvine 2013, p.352).There is also a challenge in determining when the virtual world can be real in the context of social interactions and business and the point at which these boundaries cross. It gets difficult to verify accountability implications for the transition to the 3D internet, especially where moral and ethical domains of the real world are shadowed in the virtual world. Such issues reinforce the need to carry out research in the virtual world.

Secondly, many firms are embracing the internet functions such as internet accounting, which is reported to be causing financial reporting challenges. The accounting systems for “bricks” and “clicks” have been implemented but the appropriate “virtual world accounting systems” have not been created (MacKenzie, Buckby & Irvine 2013, p.352). Virtual businesses; therefore, draw attention to the need for accountability mechanisms and accounting systems, which will facilitate secure recording of financial dealings, the verification of inventory flow, the development of appropriate contracting laws, as well as ownership and control matters linked to intellectual property.

This paper; therefore, gives a proposition that research needs to be carried out in the above settings that greatly impact on the success of the 3D internet technology and the conduct of virtual businesses.

Research Significance and Innovation

The majority of internet users consider it as a familiar platform where they can communicate, get news or pay out bill and so much more. People have become accustomed to the system that they no longer think about its nature. A similar example to this scenario would be the case of Ohm’s law that many people no longer reflect on as they put on the lights. In this view, the 2D platform may be regarded as sufficient and the 3D seen as a mere fad (Cagnina & Poian 2009, p.49). However, if everyone gave a second thought of internet’s nature as a virtual environment that gives individuals and organizations an opportunity to interrelate and exchange information, then they would wonder why they have to stick to 2D platform with hyperlinks for these activities when there is a more viable option of the 3D version.

Navigations through hierarchical data structures are normally a tedious task when dealing with large sets of data. The organization of the internet is as a level concrete lattice of interconnected hierarchical documents, thus, the 2D platform is an abstract unit that is comprised of numerous documents and pictures (Cagnina & Poian 2009, p.49). This may explain why, within the website, the developers have to offer the immediate user navigational help because the user would go astray sooner. Given that the 2D version is very abstract, there is no navigation scheme that would be instantly recognizable to the humans.

Using the internet web today may be likened to reading a telephone directory, and thus the term web surfing because the users have no control over the areas the web will direct them with the next click (Cagnina & Poian 2009, p.49). This also explains why there is the “back button” in browsers to help the users get back to where they started or so wish; thus, the navigation over the web at present times may be likened to taking a random walk, constantly teleporting on one flat surface to the next, getting lost and every time asking for help or directions.

The 3D internet technology is a much better substitute for the 2D internet technology, as it will provide better platform for the organization of data. All human beings are already spending their lives in a 3D world, steering to places and people as well as categorizing objects spatially. It is common knowledge that human beings seldom require search engines for such purposes as finding what they are seeking and their brains are naturally adapted to remembering spatial relationships (Brown et al. 2011, p.546).. For instance, an individual can place their documents on a desk in one of the rooms in their home, which are virtual entities and 3D representations with spatial relationships. When the time comes that they need the documents, they would easily remember their location and retrieve them, without the need to utilize extra processes like search engines or even a “recent documents” folder.

The ease of use and the insights of the 3D GUIs are an instant outcome of the function of the human brain, which ensures that humans are adapted to their world. Even though the 3D internet technology may not be a single solution to all the problems that face humanity, it is essential in providing an HCl framework, which reduces mental load and opens a window of opportunities that are rich, innovative through spatial relationships (Brown et al. 2011, p.546).

The Webplace metaphor of the 3D internet facilitates the interactions of individuals in a natural way, and can be perceived as a natural successor of Web 2.0 (Brown et al. 2011, p.546). The metaverses like the SL can be seen as the revolutionary pioneer of the 3D Internet, which have significant business opportunities. The online businesses, including those in the fashion, real estate, tourism, and online gaming as well as television and movies, will immensely benefit from the inherent interactive nature and the spatial HCI frameworks of the 3D Internet (Levin 2010, p.17). The likelihood of offering realistic 3D demonstrations of products and services shall have a revolutionary impact on the virtual business relationships in terms of business to business and business to customers’ commercial activities. For instance, customers will be able to try out products, assess the suitability of products and services to their needs before buying. Individuals are continuously looking for a multi threaded action where they are driving the experience and there is no better way to provide this than through 3D internet technology.

Research Methods

The building of the 3D internet technology requires modeling and analysis, as well as the development of control, management, coordination and other algorithms, with the application of system and control theories. The computer vision involves the building of integrated vision systems and the application of vision to the real world objects and phenomena. The creation of the 3D models requires manual measurements of the camera positions through alignment of 3 dimensional perspectives of a real setting. Using algorithms, stereo-paired images of the scene will be collected and automatically produced to three dimensional models that are photo-realistic and geometrically accurate. The research design is a case study of participants from two different universities. It is an exploratory study that will be carried out using both qualitative and quantitative methods.

Qualitative Study

Preliminary qualitative data from customers in 3D virtual worlds will be collected for exploration. This data will be used to get initial impressions of themes and concepts for the research. The qualitative study will also aid in validating the theoretical sampling of the firms on the basis of the participant’s perceptions of the firm’s business strategies. The answers shall be obtained using open-ended questions, which will enable the researcher to obtain richer insights that may not be possible through the use of quantitative methods alone. The qualitative study will be carried out with twenty subjects, who have avatars in Second Life. Interviews will be conducted inside the second life, logged and stored in qualitative data analysis tool, which would later be used to analyze the data.

Quantitative Study

The quantitative study is aimed at testing the hypothesis concerning the differences that exist between the websites and 3D virtual internet worlds. Additionally, the researcher aims to investigate the overall effectiveness of the strategies used by a firm in the 3D platform.The participants include one hundred students from two large universities, one in North America and the other in South America. One group, which is comprised of 50 participants, is of undergraduate business class in the North, while the second group of participants is postgraduate business class students in the South. The participants will be randomly selected and assigned to one of the four conditions using a survey software, in a two dimensions (2D/3D) and two (strategy/synergy) between subjects design. Based on the condition one is assigned to, the participants will be shown screenshots of the firm brand’s (firm A and firm B) websites plus virtual versions and their descriptions. The participants will then be presented with a second screenshot that shows the product in each firm’s store (website/3D). They will also be presented with detailed descriptions about what each firm offers with regards to customization, customer care, product trial and interaction with the customer among others.

Conclusion

This paper has surveyed the present and the potential future trends that are associated with 3D internet technology applications. A summary of the 3D concept has been provided as well as the discussion of the motivating factors that propel specific research directions into the future of 3D internet technology in business in the areas such as networking, security and distributed computing. Research challenges will be highlighted and discussed with the aim of establishing the current trend and the future perspectives of research on the future of 3D internet technology in business. These challenges include the creation of embedded intelligence for search and retrieval in virtual worlds, the physical-based worlds, including behavior modeling and understanding, the compression, encoding, transmission and portability and adaptation;  as well as the media driven network. The challenge is in the view that if reality can be contested, then how can the virtual world be held accountable or trusted and what constitutes the “self” when avatars digitally represent individuals? (Wyld 2010, p. 529) There is also a challenge in determining when the virtual world can be real in the context of social interactions and business and the point at which these boundaries cross.

The world is has an opportunity for the advancement of the internet technology towards a more resourceful and interactive platform, which is the 3D internet technology. It is envisioned that the future of 3d internet technology is expected to be interactive/proactive with autonomous characters, to enable 3D social communities, to offer personalized entertainment, to provide capturing and reproduction of the real world in 3D and to sustain the coexistence of virtual and real worlds while maintaining perceptual coherence (Borner K., and Penumarthy, S., p.182). These functions provide unique business opportunities for startups as well as opportunities for advancement of the already existing companies.

These features ought to be supported with a network that is capable of handling higher bandwidth needs and also aid in the provision of content adaptation in the network and the terminals, new models of content distribution and new network management. The increasingly rising three dimension applications and display paradigms, extensive availability of powerful GPUs and the changing demographics of the internet users towards the youthful and computer literate generation, provide the base for both revolution and evolution of 3D Internet technology. The excitement that has come with the usability of the metaverses, more especially the SL, is an indication that individuals and businesses are conversant with the potential of 3D internet technology. However, in order to completely unlock this potential, continued multidisciplinary research needs to be carried out.

 

References

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