Looks like the word is out on Cisco’s recent huge virtual event.  Michael Doyle over at Virtual Edge broke the story.  Here are some highlights:

“Cisco’s Global Sales Experience called “GSX” ran 24 hours a day for 4 days and educated, entertained and motivated some 19,000 employees in the Cisco global sales organization. Virtual Edge got a chance to visit the “war room” where Cisco, George P. Johnson, InXpo and jUXT Interactive teams worked together to produce this amazing event”

My favorite part is “The Threshold” the alternate reality game created for the event:

The Threshold

The Threshold

“Here is a little summary of some of the stats that Cisco shared with us:

  • 88 hours of consecutive sessions crossing 24 time zones
  • More than 13,000 active players of “The Threshold”, alternate reality game
  • More than 8,000 participants in group chat within the Chat Zone
  • More than 9,500 playing GSX mini games
  • 90% cost savings
  • Content satisfaction scores comparative to previous events”

As you can imagine I’m looking forward to seeing what happens in virtual and hybrid events in 2010!!  I think we’re just at the start of an incredible journey.


Yesterday, we repeated the EventUK presentations on Second Life, but this time IN Second Life as you can see.  It all went fairly well apart from my poor Dell laptop not quite coping with changing the viewing angle very well – Second Life kept crashing.  This actually underlined my point that Second Life still has it’s problems at the moment, with the reality of business laptops and networks.

EventUK seminar on Second Life IN Second Life

EventUK seminar on Second Life IN Second Life

ITM has posted up the presentations on their website.  You can see them here:

The Rise of Second Life – Ian Hughes

Second Lif e in the Real World – Justin Bovington

The Reality of Second Life – Kevin Aires (me!)

Please contact me if you would like to discuss any of the subjects raised or if you would like to understand how George P. Johnson can help you with your digital and physical events.

Yesterday I presented at the EventUK tradeshow at the NEC in Birmingham.  I had been invited by Eventia (the “trade body for the events and live marketing industry”),  who were co-hosting a discussion on Virtual Worlds with ITM (“the leading professional body for buyers, managers and suppliers of business travel in the UK and Ireland”).  My fellow speakers were Ian Hughes, Director of Feeding Edge, my fellow ex-IBMer colleague (of ePredator fame!) and Justin Bovington from Rivers Run Red, creators of the cool Immersive Workspaces TM platform.

It was great to catch up with Ian and Justin beforehand and the session itself seemed to go pretty well.  Ian kicked off with broader context-setting pitch explaining how Second Life is part of a wider set of societal trends.  I like his analogy comparing the web to cave paintings – in that they both generally exist to explain things to people who were not there when something happened.  Justin gave a case study of a successful event RRR ran with Intel and mentioned a number of other activties they were doing with a variety of companies.  Unusually I had been asked to take the skeptics role.  Having spent time working with a broader set of technologies since leaving IBM, this was easier than it might’ve been 6 months ago.  I suggested that Second Life is great for a particular type of organisation and for a particular type of meeting, but that, with the best will in the world is has not yet ‘crossed the chasm’ into the mainstream.

I went on to suggest that there are other technologies that have crossed the chasm – in particular the virtual exhibition platforms such as InXpo.  Whilst these are not as engaging as Second Life or real life meetings, they do scale to thousands of users.  There are also advantages to using these compared to real meetings – everything can be tracked and measured.  I explained that there are ways to increase the engagement during these online meetings by using mini-games, serious games or even Alternate Reality Games (ARG).  I showed how we at George P. Johnson had recently helped Cisco run their online Global Sales Experience – GSX with an invited audience of 20,000 across 80+ countries which included an ARG.  Last year it had been run as a physical event in Las Vegas.

I finished off by underlining that GPJ do not see this new world as Physical vs. Virtual, but that the real power comes when you combine these approaches to create a new form of marketing we call OnLIVE.  This approach can acheive things never possible before, that either approach by itself simply cannot do.  Perhaps the pinnacle of the OnLIVE philosophy is Augmented Reality – is it a physical experience or a digital experience.  There is no distinction.

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