Microsoft launched the beta version of Internet Explorer 9 (IE9
) which is a new browser that also long as you’re PC is running on Windows 7 or Vista (no XP), you might get excited about. Either way, if you are interested in the future of digital solution for events, meetings, learning and community, you will want to know something about it. I know, if you are using a corporate PC you might have just been given the ok to upgrade to IE 8 but I think the move to 9 might be pretty quick (comparatively speaking).
First, if you are going to try it and have a 64bit machine, you will probably have to install a new Flash player from Adobe and the beta version of that is code named “Square”. If you don’t want to do that, don’t use IE9 as none of the Flash videos will play. So what do you get besides the joy of downloading IE9 and uninstalling and reinstalling Flash?
So far, the IE9 browser is probably the most clean and uncluttered browser I have seen. It has been days and no additional tool bars have mysteriously shown up at the top of my browser--just my tabs, search box and three simple icons. I’m still not used to how much screen space I have left over to actually view the site I’m on. I have already gotten use to how fast the IE9 is. It seems pages load much quicker and Microsoft is utilizing something called a “hardware accelerator” which gets and opens pages much quicker.
What is interesting for the virtual space is that faster is of course better and this will make for a better user experience especially in video rich environments like virtual events. Then there is HTML 5 which IE9 supports (earlier versions did not). HTML5 is an open standard (unlike Flash and Silverlight) that developers can use to build new applications; especially applications that will be able to provide a much more seamless user experience in terms of how data is shared across desktop applications and cloud computing applications. Cloud computing will likely be the way to scale virtual events and environments in the future. And HTML 5 promises to do everything that Flash can from enabling cool user interfaces and delivering video to providing a platform to deliver downloadable apps. Oh and unlike Flash, there is no download or browser plug-in required so…once you are using a browser that supports HTML5, you’re done.
The one virtual environment platform that I have seen that has an HTML5 version of their solution is Expos2 (www.expos2.com
) though they probably won’t be launching anything until there is wider adoption by browsers that support it. Others are hot on the trail. An HTML5 front end would allow platforms to work on the iPad and other mobile devices much easier.
Meanwhile, don’t think Adobe is sitting around doing nothing, in October they may reveal a Flash Player 3D concept that will bring a whole new opportunity for events, meeting, training and learning.
So we welcome IE9 as a “next step” for browsers though have to caution that it is just a beta at this point and we’ll be watching for issues around security as we know hackers unfortunately for all of us, target anything Microsoft.
The Virtual Edge Summit
, January 12-13 will feature many sessions and speakers that will look at the future of technologies that are driving business engagement.