Via a press release datelined “Framingham, Massachusetts and Uvvy Island, Second Life” comes news from VoIP company Vivox about a transhumanist seminar to be held in the virtual world of Second Life tomorrow, June 7, at 11am SL time. The seminar, sponsored by FutureTAG, will feature James Hughes, Giulio Prisco, and Philippe Van Nedervelde. Fascinating ideas about the future of humans are sure to be kicked around, but one thing that’s notable is that they’ll be kicked around in voice. Vivox has a nice application, which I’ve seen demoed, that runs behind SL (or another MMO) and does more than just connect people in chat rooms a la Skype or TeamSpeak.
Vivox is a fairly sophisticated voice client along those lines, but it also has two features that make it especially interesting for Second Life and similar virtual worlds. First off, once the client is running, you can initiate a call from special Vivox phone boxes within the world; you don’t have to alt-tab out another application. Second, Vivox has created virtual microphones in SL that connect anyone who’s within a certain range and who has the application running. All you have to do is walk into a room and you’re part of the conversation. (Okay, so maybe you have to click something, I can’t remember. But you don’t have to alt-tab out.) That’s a pretty nice feature, one that adds to the immersiveness of a VW — for those that want voice.
Vivox has talked to Linden Lab about integrating its service into the SL client, but I don’t think those talks came to anything. In any case, that should be do-able at some point soon; word is that LL will soon start working on open-sourcing its client or make the client API open to a substantial extent. MMO EVE Online (I’m wearing my EVE t-shirt at the moment, by coincidence) is already working on integrating Vivox into its client, since voice is such an integral part of what goes on in EVE.
I’d like to give you a link to download the Vivox client, but I can’t for the life of me find it on their site. I’ll update the post when I have it for you. [UPDATE:] You get the link to the client once you register to attend the event.