Ag Department Goes Virtual

Because the U.S. Agriculture Department is going virtual, employees may soon be able to conduct business through 3-D avatars rather than traditional teleconferencing, e-mail or staff meetings.

According to a posting on Federal Business Opportunities (fedbizops.gov), the department has sought a Second Life-like system that can be used behind a secure firewall rather than by the general public:

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (USDA OCIO) plans to issue a solicitation to procure virtual world (VW) software technology. While there are Government organizations currently utilizing virtual worlds (VW) technology, significant challenges remain related to cross-agency accessibility, security, scalability, and interoperability.”

The virtual world would allow several agencies to collaborate easily yet securely, integrate old and new technology and create a network for “collaboration, training, rehearsal, analysis, simulation, experimentation, and socialization.”

For virtual worlds to be a viable option for widespread use, the government is seeking vendors who can demonstrate that the virtual worlds solution(s) can satisfactorily resolve these and other cross-agency issues. A major objective is to create a multi-agency advisory committee with new and innovative government-wide solutions; the virtual worlds effort provides such a solution.

The government does not expect that any one vendor or product will satisfy all requirements.

Because the U.S. Agriculture Department is going virtual, employees may soon be able to conduct business through 3-D avatars rather than traditional teleconferencing, e-mail or staff meetings.

According to a posting on Federal Business Opportunities (fedbizops.gov), the department has sought a Second Life-like system that can be used behind a secure firewall rather than by the general public:

“The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Office of the Chief Information Officer (USDA OCIO) plans to issue a solicitation to procure virtual world (VW) software technology. While there are Government organizations currently utilizing virtual worlds (VW) technology, significant challenges remain related to cross-agency accessibility, security, scalability, and interoperability.”

The virtual world would allow several agencies to collaborate easily yet securely, integrate old and new technology and create a network for “collaboration, training, rehearsal, analysis, simulation, experimentation, and socialization.”

For virtual worlds to be a viable option for widespread use, the government is seeking vendors who can demonstrate that the virtual worlds solution(s) can satisfactorily resolve these and other cross-agency issues. A major objective is to create a multi-agency advisory committee with new and innovative government-wide solutions; the virtual worlds effort provides such a solution.

The government does not expect that any one vendor or product will satisfy all requirements.

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