Hello from the vwf, London. It’s lunchtime, I’ve eaten about 5 mini cheeseburgers and so am in a good frame of mind to blog on the excellent morning it’s been so far…

Firstly a quick word about last night. Rivers Run Red held a party at “The Hospital” – a private members club in Covent Garden for creative types – a really cool place. So after a couple of drinks and rubbing shoulders we were feeling like we were in a virtual world. )

On to today…. oh excuse me, someone is offering me some Peking duck…. On to today….

Session 1 was Jo Little from BP, who amazed me by describing how much BP have done in virtual worlds already. Having worked in the oil industry myself I was suprised to see the innovative uses they’d put it to – the strangest one being an employee councilling service!

He had some good tips for us in terms of evangelising virtual worlds, the most memorable of which was. “Remember that the guy you’re presenting to may be thinking ‘this is exactly what I want, but I could get fired for this!'”

He also mentioned that we have had to adapt from living in a 4D world to dealing with 2D documents etc. Adapting to a 3D world should be more about unlearning productive behaviours for more natural ones.

Session 2 was IBM’s very own Paul Ledak, VP for digital convergence. Clearly I’m biased, but this was a great presentation and a really good chance to hear the whole picture in one go about the potential for virtual worlds if we can get them to interoperate and also to focus on building on the web, rather than going off and creating a new model. His opening example was a demo of a real house (read mansion!) he is planning to build and how non of the 3D services around the design and outfitting, plumbing etc. talk to each other.

Later on in the morning it was the turn of ePredator – Ian Hughes as part of a panel talking about Harnessing the power of virtual worlds for corporate collaboration. The other panellists were Greg Huyens from Qwaq and Steve Prentice from Gartner. What came out for me was the importance of augmenting current processes rather than starting new ones and the need to work on the lowest common denominator hardware (a constant problem with SL).

Last session of the morning was another corporate one with Stefano Crosta from Cisco and Dele Atanda from Diageo. Dele’s presentation was amazing with a cool co-build from Rivers Run Red and IBM. I had been part of the initial discussions on this so was very pleased to see how far it had gone so quickly. The big question I didn’t get to ask was the old chestnut around visual queues. Cisco had experimented with less confining virtual spaces and specifically mentioned getting rid of chairs. Diageo however specifically mentioned that they’d kept chairs etc. to help provide a familiar space. He also demoed that they have a space that they can easily reconfigure for meetings automatically – deckchairs and a beach, hanging pod chairs for coolness and theatre style seating for a formal meeting!

Right… off we go for the afternoon sessions….