History of PanoramIX (1995 to 2000, R.I.P.)

The following account includes a few related events which involve Apple Computer, Inc., Shenchang Eric Chen, and Microsoft.

March 7, 1995 U.S. Patent Office grants Patent No. 5,396,583. "Cylindrical to planar image mapping using scanline coherence", Chen, S. E. and G. S. P. Miller, to Apple Computer, Inc.
May 1995 QT-VR is described in Byte magazine: "See you Around", by Tom R. Halfhill, pp.85-90. This article also has a passing reference to a putative Microsoft product called "Surround Video".
May 30, 1995 Based on information found in the Byte article, Bill Luken develops simple code implementing some basic elements of QT-VR. First version is implemented in Turbo Pascal on PC at home. This version creates AVI files that can be played as videos. This code was then ported to C language on RS-6000 workstation with AIX operating system. The effort (not yet even a project) is named "Surround VR", a unique combination of "Surround Video" and "Quicktime VR".
June 1995 Shenchang Eric Chen of Apple Computer, presents "QuickTime VR: an image-based approach to virtual environment navigation", at Siggraph 95.
June 1995 James Lipscomb becomes involved with Surround VR by creating X-11 user interface that enabled interactive browsing of panoramic scenes on AIX platforms.
June 28, 1995 Marcel Graf, IBM European Networking Center, reports: "Wow! It's amazing how good it looks on my slowww 320...".
[A "320" was a low-end RS/6000 model.]

This was one of many similar responses. Various parties began to clamor for more, especially a Windows version. The only version that existed at that time was for AIX/X11. Windows 95 would not be released until September and we had little or no Windows programming skills.

July 1995 Apple releases Quicktime VR products and SDK.
August 24, 1995 Project plan created for "Surround VR", managed by Bengt-Olaf Schneider. Plans call for support on AIX, Windows 95, and OS/2. Contractor Walter Heger is hired to port AIX/X-11 code to Windows 95 platform. Contractor Bill Gaddy is hired to produce the Apple MacOS version. IBM employee Craig Gwydir is assigned to develop the OS/2 version.
Sept. 1995 Microsoft releases Windows 95.
Sept. 1995 Spherorama version of Surround VR is available on multiple platforms. This allows user to look in any direction and to tilt head to any angle.
(late?) 1995 Eric Chen leaves Apple and starts RealSpace, Inc.
[Former Apple CEO John Sculley starts a new company, Live Pictures in 1996.
In 1997, RealSpace merges with Live Pictures, Inc.
Live Pictures was acquired by MGI Studios in 1999.]
March 1996 Keh-shin Cheng creates a Netscape plug-in for Surround VR. The first version may have been on AIX, then ported to Win32.
May 1996(?) Bengt-Olaf Schneider leaves IBM for new job with nVidia. Secons-line manager Jarek Rossignac selects Jai Menon to replace Bengt-Olaf. Jai Menon had never been involved with any prior work in the development of Surround VR and never made any technical contribution to the resulting products.
May 17, 1996 AIX version 4.2 is released, including Surround VR as part of the product "Welcome Center".
May 1996 Surround VR is selected to provide previews of the new IBM corporate headquarters in Armonk. Panoramic scenes are planned for the new building, including interior shots based on architectural CAD files for the building and exterior shots based on the architect's miniature model of the planned building.
July 1996 Microsoft licenses "Surround Video" from Black Diamond Consulting, Inc. of Portsmouth, NH. Announced at Microsoft Explorer '96 Conference and Exhibition, Boston, July 16-18, 1996.
July 1996 Surround VR is one of the first IBM projects featured on the new AlphaWorks web site.
August, 1996 Jarek Rossignac, second line manager for Surround VR, leaves IBM and moves to academic position at Georgia Tech.
See: Jarek Rossignac Bio
August 14, 1996 IBM legal "name police" report that we cannot use the name "Surround VR". "PanoramIX" is offered as an alternative, and this name is officially approved.

A web search at that time showed that the expression "Surround VR" was not used by anybody except IBM. A similar search showed that "panoramix" was used by many parties, including a wizard in the popular comic strip "Asterix" which was very popular in France.

September 30, 1996 PanoramIX recognized by IBM Academy, by the judges for the IBM Academy's Web Fair.
October 1996 PanoramIX is used to present virtual tours of the Galleries Lafayette, a department store in Paris.
November 14, 1996 "New Headquarters Day". PanoramIX is used to provide virtual tours of the new IBM corporate headquarters building, one year before its completion. PanoramIX is used in kiosks in the lobby of the old corporate headquarters building.
December 13, 1996 PanoramIX is shown on ABC World News as part of a report on the Internet World Trade Show in New York. This report includes scenes from the Galeries Lafayette.
December 1996 PanoramIX is selected as one of two IBM technologies to be presented as part of NBC-TV special on Lou Gerstner, as part of their "Best of '96" series. The resulting videos, including scenes from the Galeries Lafayette, are aired on NBC-TV in the first week of January 2007.
July 1997 PanoramIX is used on IBM VP John Patrick's home page.
August 1997 PanoramIX selected for FOAK projects involving Air Canada, a chain of nursing homes, Hilton Hotels, and Las Vegas casinos. IGS is engaged with the nursing home project. Jim Lipscomb travels to Toronto to take photos of interior of Air Canada planes and shoot video from a cockpit.
See Panoramic Association, December 1997
October 14, 1997 An IBM press release announces that PanoramIX will be used to provide virtual tours of the Riviera Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.
Sept.-Nov. 1997 William Luken and Walter Heger develop an ActiveX control for PanoramIX. The resulting ocx control does not use MFC.
December 1997 IBM Corporate awards are presented to William Luken (Outstanding Technical Achievement), Jim Lipscomb (OTA?), (Keh-shin Cheng? (OTA?)), and Jai Menon (Outstanding Innovation Award), in a closed (secret) meeting.
January 1998 Internet Media Group created in IBM Internet Division.

Armando Garcia is appointed to be the general manager reporting to Irving Wladawsky-Berger. This new organization was created to make products out of three technologies developed by IBM Research. These are PanoramIX (Bill Luken), Hot Audio (Jean Chen), and Merchandise VR (Keeranoor Kumar). Of these, only PanoramIX is "ready to ship". The organization relies entirely on PanoramIX for the first year which the other two parts are brought up to speed.

The business model for the Internet Media Group was based on giving away the software for free, and selling services based on the software.

Upon creation of the Internet Media Group, the Research Division department formerly managed by Jai Menon is disbanded. Jai Menon and Jim Lipscomb leave the Research Division and join the new Internet Media Group. Jai Menon is appointed to manage the PanoramIX segment of the Internet Media Group. Jean Chen is appointed to manage the Hot Audio portion, and Keeranoor Kumar is appointed to manage the Merchandise VR portion.

Bill Luken and Keh-shin Cheng stay with IBM Research. Bill Luken is initially assigned to report to Juerg von Kaenel. Subsequently, he is assigned to the MPEG-4 multimedia department managed by Michelle Kim under Martin Kienzle.

1998 Internet Media Group introduces "HotMedia" brand. Full media party at trendy bar in Manhattan, with logo-ed gizmos including fire-starter.
1998 Contractor Bill Gaddy develops a Java applet for PanoramIX.
1998-2000 PanoramIX is used for a number of contracts including US Open Golf, US Open Tennis, the 1998 Winter Olympic Games in Nagano, Japan, Wimbledon Tennis, the Gone With the Wind web site, and others.
Sept. 1998 PanoramIX is used to present scenes in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg. The Hermitage web site received the Russian Internet Academy’s Grand Prix award for best over-all Web site in Russia. It has been covered in the New York Times, the Financial Times, and National Geographic Traveler. IBM HotMedia panoramas were only part of the overall design of this web site.
See: Hermitage State Museum
See: Fred Mintzer, et alia
May 6, 1999 IBM introduces Hot Media 2.0
See: Internet News, 1999
Nov. 1999 IBM introduces HotMedia 2.5.
See: Primeur, December 1999
See: IBM Press Release, Nov. 1999
1999-2000 HotMedia becomes popular for banner ads, because of fast-loading property resulting from lightweight design and MVR data stream which requires very few client-server transactions.
1999 or 2000 IBM's Internet Media Group opens a satellite office in Cupertino, California. The number of persons employed by the Internet Media Group was around 50 at that time, and they had outgrown the facilities in Hawthorne. There was also an office in Southbury, CT.
June 16, 2000 IBM releases HotMedia 3.0.
See: Telecom World Wire, June 16, 2000
See: Spectrum, June 19, 2000
June 29, 2000 HotMedia 3.0 receives "Best of Show" award at PC Expo, Jacob Javits Center, Manhattan, NY.
See: IBM press release, June 29, 2000
Summer 2000 The Internet Division is disbanded.

The Internet Media Group, the last remaining part of the Internet Division, is transferred to SWG. Armando Garcia was promoted VP of Content Management Solutions, a position that did not include the future of HotMedia.

Jai Menon is appointed to the position of "Director of Web Content Management Solutions" in IBM's Software Group. This puts him in an executive level position. Soon after this appointment, Jai Menon leaves IBM to take executive position with Bell South in Atlanta.
See: Bloomberg News, Nov. 3, 2004
See: Bell South press release, December 7, 2001

Jean Chen left IBM and was hired by Kintera, Inc., San Diego, CA:
See Jean Chen resume

Keeranoor Kumar has remained in SWG and has not returned to the Research Division. He is currently based in Piscataway, NJ.

SWG could not recognize the business plan on which the Internet Media Group had been based. They had no means to deliver services, and they could not generate any revenue if they gave the software for free. SWG relegates HotMedia to part of Websphere Studio Home Page Builder, effectively killing it.
See: IBM Websphere Commerce Studio Installation Guide

October 31, 2000 (Halloween) IBM Software Group releases HotMedia 3.5, the final version.
December 3, 2001 John Patrick, former IBM VP, head of the former Internet Division, and pioneer PanoramIX promoter, retires from IBM.
See: John Patrick profile
Spring 2002 IBM CEO Lou Gerstner retires. He had been familiar with PanoramIX in 1996.

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William L. Luken, Jr..

Created February 15, 2007; revised August 8, 2007