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Photos: IBM lifts the lid on web 2.0 tech

A behind-the-scenes peek at Big Blue's UK R&D centre
By Tim Ferguson, Contributor on
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A behind-the-scenes peek at Big Blue's UK R&D centre

IBM has been showing off some of the tech at its research and development labs at Hursley near Winchester.

silicon.com went along to take a look at, among other things, a mash-up wiki, IBM's version of Second Life and a web 2.0 retail application.

Above is the Hursley House, the stately home in which IBM's UK R&D operations are based. The Spitfire engine was developed here by previous occupants, Vickers.

Photo credit: IBM

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This is the homepage for DIY Shopper - a concept retail website developed with retail group Kingfisher that uses web 2.0 concepts such as blogs and buddy lists.

The page shows a list of items for a DIY project as well as buddy lists of in-store advisors and people doing similar projects, who can share their experiences.

The system also interacts with Second Life and provides users with in-store mobile services.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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Here, a shopper's avatar is able to show how the materials from the website appear when used in Second Life.

The shopper can look at the different materials that they're considering for their project and decide what items will be most appropriate to buy.

During the selection process they can also talk to other shoppers or in-store staff using their avatars.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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The DIY Shopper system also works through customer mobiles and tablet PCs that can be used by shop staff.

For example, when a certain shopper walks into a store, they could receive a money-off voucher via a barcode sent to their mobile.

The shop staff could use the tablet PCs to access the DIY Shopper from anywhere in the store and communicate with shoppers to meet them to or give advice.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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DIY shopper can also work over mobile phone by using in-store Bluetooth connectivity.

This text message acknowledges that the user has made a request for advice on garden plants and informs the user where the shop assistant will meet them to offer futher help.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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A global team of IBM developers have created an internal virtual world called Metaverse, which is based on GarageGames' Torque Game Engine.

The idea is for IBM workers to use Metaverse to communicate with each other and share ideas. People can hold virtual meetings and areas are dedicated to individual departments and projects.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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This is QEDWiki, a browser based platform for developing mash-ups.

This particular demo shows how a shipping company could combine various applications to create a new mash-up.

By taking information from various databases, QEDWiki allows the freight company create a mash-up to locate ships, see what the weather is like in the vicinity of the different vessels and monitor pirate activity in the region.

The vessel shown is travelling just off the coast off Washington state in the US.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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This shows the same ship off the west coast of the US but this time, the map shows the weather conditions in the area surrounding the ship.

The mash-up can also access piracy reports in the local region and locate incidents on the map so ship crews can be vigilant for attacks.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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Back in Second Life, IBM shows off its Smart Bank system, on its company island.

The technology simulates a high volume banking environment which is designed to show how ATM banking channels could be used in Second Life.

The virtual ATM is linked to a real payments system running over IBM software being used to simulate withdrawals from a core banking system model.

Photo credit: Tim Ferguson

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