Visa International Inc has teamed up with Worlds Inc to offer Visa’s 20,000 member banks the software to create their own three-dimensional representation of one of their branches on the Internet. The idea is that customers should be able to roam the halls of an on-line branch and conduct such transactions as transferring funds and applying for loans – but the system doesn’t turn the home computer into a cash dispenser. Dubbed the Electronic Courtyard, the service also will give retailers the opportunity to display and sell their wares. The system uses Virtual Reality Modelling Language and enables users to adopt personas for themselves and chat with other personas on the Web, including those chosen by employees of the on-line bank. The new service will use security measures jointly developed by Visa and Microsoft Corp, and the latter will receive a small percentage of transaction fees for a limited period of time. Meantime IBM Corp and San Francisco-based Worlds Inc say they will give away VRML+ free over the Internet to encourage the widespread adoption of the language.
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