This work explores the use of 3D interactive visualization to address problems of telecommunications service development and implementation. It is based on a belief that 3D visualization can offer insights into the complex behaviour of telecommunication systems for a variety of different stakeholders, and that a single integrated tool can be developed to support the rapid development of telecommunication systems.
The ideas are developed in a staged fashion, resulting in four prototype versions of a 3D Direct Manipulation Virtual Environment for a modular phone network. The two core features explored in this work are: Visual and functional metaphor development, for a range of concrete and abstract telecommunication concepts and; Integration of databases, so that the one integrated environment can represent multiple behaviours. The functions supported by this system include: Validating a new service; Describing a service at multiple levels of complexity to suit audiences of different levels of expertise; Prototyping, designing, marketing and training users of a service and; Using the programming environment itself as an authoritative service documentation record. The effectiveness of this approach is evaluated by testing with different types of users who have differing levels of technical, financial or marketing knowledge and computer experience.