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.