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On this auspicious day for America, I’ve just realised that I have a larger (albeit somewhat tenuous) link to the US government than I’d previously thought. I’ve just realised that one of the pictures I took of our Virtual Business Center in Second Life appeared in Colin Parris’ submission to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet Hearing about Second Life.
Here’s the submission
Here’s the video of it – Colin comes in about halfway. It’s quite an interesting start with committee members quite amused that the whole thing is being simulcast into Second Life with the speaker noting that his avatar is more trim than he is
And here’s the original picture below. As helper to Sarah, my wife in her photography business it’s quite a one-up to note my pics (ok virtual photo) have been seen by such a group!
Quick summary of Virtual Worlds London conference day 1…
Firstly big thanks to Ron from Ambient Performance for supplying me with a full pass for the conference, when I realised at the last minute that IBM didn’t actually have a stand(!) Ron was demoing the olive platform during one of the breaks and had a team of people demonstrating how it could be used for sales training. The team were across the US logged in live. It was quite amusing as they had a mother and child and the mom was interrupting a sales assistant to say that her child needed the restroom and if she didn’t get help her daughter would go potty right there and then!
Mark Kindon opened the batting for Linden Labs with a 30min infomercial for Second Life, which was fine by me as a Second Life fan. It was interesting to see what Rivers Run Red are doing with LL on out of the box virtual spaces, and have largely dropped their agency work to focus on it. They still have a strong design ethos though from what I saw, with some lovely builds, which take the white label idea to an extreme (very white very Apple). I think that this and the IBM Sametime/opensim/forterra integration stuff are the most interesting stuff for mainstream business I’ve seen (apart from qwaq).
I was also interested in Mark’s comment about their mixed reality meeting room which carries the spatial sound from second life into the real world nicely. Perhaps I need to put in for a 7.1 surround sound system. Sound was the one thing I skimped on when speccing up my pc, settling for on-board sound.
As for take up by the enterprise of virtual worlds, one thing that came up a few times, was it will just take time. Takes time for large companies to evaluate, test and assimilate anything, especially something as left field as virtual worlds. Also, the people for whom this is natural will take time to grow up and become part of the workforce, but it will happen.
Lots of stats from Strategy Analytics, KZero and Gartner. Was interested in KZero’s assessment that growth areas are virtual worlds based around brands – e.g. watch out for lego (perhaps especially given their successful foray into games), also “vertical worlds” based around specific interest groups.
Steve Prentice from Gartner tried to simplify the whole stats issues. His rough assessment was that the ratio of software client downloads to real users is 10:1. Also was strong on the idea of Effort vs. Reward and that VWs are often high effort for low reward. Contrast this with say World of Warcraft – high effort, high reward and Facebook, low effort, high reward. His other soundbites were,
purpose not volume
value not numbers
people not physics – users don’t give a monkeys about technology, they want to meet people like them.
Moving on to Virtual Worlds in the Workplace session. Most interesting comment to me, was from Justin Bovington of Rivers Run Red who said that there most asked for feature was a “window on the virtual world” even if they were not logged in – i.e. live video feed from the virtual world. We’ve thought about doing that, so perhaps we should revisit it!
Some good stuff from the Virtual World Roadmap folk later on, who were encouraging folk to get involved. Ian Hughes and I went up to hand in business cards at the end and suggested that IBM’s Virtual Universe Community could be good contributers to this effort.
Another cool demo I saw, was the haptic device from Anarkik3D
At the end of the day, were 1 or 2 companies who shall remain nameless, but whose sole purpose seemed to be to provide amusement by pitching their ideas in a really poor way. One had some of the worst slidewear and presentation I’ve ever seen and was then asking for venture capital. I was still not really sure what the product was or what problem it solved!!!
I met up with the Metaverse Mod Squad folk afterwards and walked over
Aftwards we went to the Marriot County Hall for dinner in a private oak pannelled dining room.
Food was delicious!
Thank you Metaverse Mod Squad for the invite! I have been an advocate for their business model since coming across them at the NY VW show back in March. Land in virtual worlds is cheap for companies, people are expensive. Do the maths and that says that even popular places will often feel empty…. unless staffed by enthusistic affordable non-specialists, which is where MMS come in.
I’d better get some sleep as it’s 12:47am and in too short a time I have to get up, head into London and do it all over again.
This weeks Virtual Worlds Forum in London is now over. The event had started on an unexpected low with the the conference venue turning into a crime scene after an unrelated shooting at the weekend. During the first day, some folk regrouped to “The Hospital” – a private members club for creative types in Covent Garden.
As I knew many people would no longer be heading into London I offered to setup a virtual refugee camp at the IBM Business Center. As the afternoon progress more people arrived and after showing Jeff Barr and Giles Hogburn around the Virtual Green Data Center, Giles agreed to present his very interesting talk planned for the VWF on my virtual chat show Boris in Wonderland. You can see it by visiting my Boris in Wonderland show channel, and pressing “On Demand” and then VWF. Our comms team also picked up the story and sent out a press release about it.
In the evening, the planned South by Southwest mixer party continued as planned, and I quickly wrapped up Giles’ presentation so I could head in for it. I met up with some of the VWF team, did a quick vox pops (7.5mins in (bear in mind it was pretty loud and my hearing is not so good ) for the VWF podcast series, met Bruce from Vastpark (who’s pitch seemed to make a lot of sense to me), discussed IBM’s Lotus virtual worlds announcements with the Ambient team, and met lots of others. I hopefully snaffled a few people to appear on Boris in Wonderland in the future. Good evening and free drinks
The next day, the VWF arranged an “unconference” at the Hospital, where about 100 die-hards showed up to set the agenda, meet and greet. Ian Hughes, Rob Smart and I spread out and effectively setup an IBM track and input to other sessions too. Ian hosted a discussion on 3D printing, Rob ran on on inter-world messaging and I ran one how to communicate virtual worlds to business technophobes. I also attended a session on “when will corporates get virtual worlds”, to which my answer was basically, when their sales people understand it (that’s my experience in IBM!) and when they are all running Sametime 3D I got to see Klaus Hammermuller again and was hearing how his “Talkademy” (one of the best uses for virtual worlds I’ve seen) is going now he’s left IBM. Ian also introduced me to Mal Burns, an interesting character who is I understand a well known blogger and twitterer. Indeed, through talking to a few folk over the conference has inspired me to get back into blogging, twittering etc and basically get give myself a shotinthearm2.0 (running my own virtual chat show is clearly not enough, apparently I have to be web2.0 not just 3.0 ). That’s the problem with working from home and being busy it’s just too easy to stay focussed on core work, and spend time with your wife and kids and that’s not what the modern world is about
All in all a bit of a pheonix from the ashes. It’s hard to say whether there would’ve been lots of potential clients there originally, but there certainly wasn’t at the unconference. Time will tell whether the Virtual Worlds expo in 2 weeks will be any better…