Advisory Board

Michael Rowe, MBA

The MIT Technology Review article Moving Freely between Virtual Worlds said

Players hope to connect their separate domains to form a 3-D Internet.
Virtual worlds today are walled gardens, their 3-D landscapes divided in much the same way that AOL, Compuserve, and others divvied up the 2-D Internet in the 1990s. Now a group of more than 20 companies, including IBM, Linden Lab, Multiverse, and Forterra Systems, has begun talking about how to link together today’s virtual worlds to form a 3-D Internet by establishing a set of common standards. Although there are still many questions about what form that 3-D Internet might take, a major goal will be to make it possible for users to move from one world to another as easily as people today navigate between websites.
“We see this as the next logical step in the growth of the Internet as a whole,” says Michael Rowe, manager of 3-D Internet and intraverse (an in-house virtual world) for IBM. Rowe says that today’s walled-garden situation hinders the development of the Internet by making it exceedingly difficult to offer virtual goods and services in more than one location. For example, he says, someone who wants to create a virtual storefront in several virtual worlds now has to design and build the store separately for each world, using radically different processes. Standards for a 3-D Internet, on the other hand, might allow the shopkeeper to provide links that people could use to reach the store from any virtual world, in much the same way that people can now use a domain name, such as, to point to popular shopping sites.

Michael Rowe, MBA (AKA – Ultravox Freeman in Second Life) is Manager, 3D Internet and Intraverse Department, IBM Research Group. He has been a gamer since the days of Pong. As a member of IBM’s 3D internet and Virtual Worlds team, he is building the strategy for IBM’s growth in the 3D Internet. He has spent the last 3 years working in Virtual Worlds including Second Life, Activeworlds, and others, assessing how to best leverage this technology for business and collaboration. Importantly, he recently facilitated assessments on new technologies for IBM’s CEO and other members of the senior leadership team (IBM announced a multi-year plan for significant investment in 3D technologies and social networking last year).
Michael has 22 years of IT operations, Systems Integration, development, consulting, and global project management experience. His experience includes a wide range of business areas including Accounts Receivables, Fulfillment, Human Resources, and Payroll, as well as multiple industries including, Computer Technology, Healthcare, and Distribution. His projects have been global in nature, with technical and management responsibility for teams in North America and Europe.
He has successfully implemented the consolidation of the Entitled Software and Systems Technology Group’s fulfillment SAP systems into one Cross Brand Solutions system, laying the foundation for IBM’s future Multi-Brand Enablement. He has held both technical and business roles across various divisions in IBM including Global Services and the Integrated Supply Chain. He has managed significant projects in manufacturing, logistics, and fulfillment. He has professional certification in Project Management.

Ultravox Freeman
Prior to joining IBM, Michael has been a radio disc jockey, semi professional light opera singer, and the leader singer of a Blues Band. He graduated from the Grady School of Journalism with a degree in Telecommunications, focused on video Journalism and production. He spent 10 years working in healthcare, designing field data collection devices for home health nurses. He spent 7 years reengineering IBM’s supply chain. He records a podcast on new technology called Dogear-Nation (available on iTunes), and has been a champion of the 3D internet and virtual worlds for 3 years. He also earned a MBA from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business.
Read Second Life and Other Virtual Worlds: A Roadmap for Research. Listen to his podcast series Trippin’ The Verse.