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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…

Morning from the groovy virtual worlds forum, London. Let me paint the scene – urban regenerated warehouse type place with Ikea chandeliers, more apple laptops than you can shake a stick at and loads of journalists in quiet corners getting the latest soundbites from folk including IBM’s very own Roo Reynolds and Ian Hughes.

Last night was the SXSWi mixer event where I finally got to meet Lisa Smith, Paul Ledak and others.

The first two sessions of this morning were from Politicians: Lord Puttenham of Queensgate and Lord Triesman of Tottenham who emphasised that this industry needs to accomodate a significant education element and a responsible approach to young people and children. It will also need to tackle the major IP issues raised by virtual worlds.

We also heard from Paul Jackon from Forrester Research and Jessica Mulligan from Cyber Sports Ltd. who pointed out that some 50% of revenue in online gaming are from Asia – Japan, Korea, China etc. and there are some Chinese online games that dwarf Second Life.

Also, when we look at web2.0, about 10% of the user base are “creatives”. When we look at Second Life, some 60-70% can be considered as creatives, so this is a great community for businesses to get feedback from.

Also VERY INTERESTINGLY, some feedback that Google is definately creating a virtual world as Jessican mentioned that lots of his friends are being hired to design it!

Finaly comment was that in terms of buying digital stuff, anecdotally, people either spend nothing or get hooked and set their credit cards on fire, so I guess the challenge is how to get people to START parting with cash.

Further updates coming…. Watch this space.

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