Posts Tagged ‘Virtual Reality’

Virtual Conferencing is Coming

July 23, 2013

The Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education begins tomorrow.

There is a trend in conferencing coming that is unstoppable.  That trend is virtual conferencing.  I don’t mean virtual conferencing with Skype like services, where you see a video of someone talking and a set of Power Point presentations on some media board.  I mean the replacement of physical conferences.

We’ve talked about it for the last five years – virtual worlds are ever present and they are going to be replacing live events.  Well, we are being hit at a less transcendental level — our pocket book, and even more defining — policy. It’s simply too expensive to travel to conferences in Orlando, Washington DC, New York, San Diego.  It costs our companies far too much money to send several people.  It costs an enormous amount of money to house the folks who attend conferences and even more to feed them all.

If cost isn’t enough to not sign every requisition that passes your desk, the Department of Defense is simply telling people “you can’t go”.  You need papal dispensation to even go to a conference across the street from your facility.  And, you’ll likely be on a furlough anyway that day, so if you do go on your own, it’s now going to cost YOU money to go to the conference. The Department of Defense is a big employer in the USA.  Do you think that policy will extend to your organization?  Yup.

So, the solution that we’ve all been talking about is staring us right in the face.  We can recreate the physical experience of going to a conference in a virtual environment. In a virtual environment you can place all sorts of 3D objects in the environment.  If you can place a 3D object in the environment, chances are people are going to know what to do with it.  If they touch it, slide it, bounce it, move it around, it’ll likely do something that will make them think about why that is happening.  If they look at something, anyone in the environment standing by them can look at what they are looking at, and suddenly, you know what someone is paying attention to.

This kind of interaction is exactly what it’s like to attend a conference in a physical location.  Sure you can’t eat the local food, or meet a couple of new people in a bar to talk about the conference, but you can bring your own food to your computer, and still meet new people in a bar and talk to them about the conference.  There is no compromising here really.  The argument that face to face is extremely important just isn’t that important anymore.  1/3 of relationships have started on-line.  Virtual schooling is soaring.  Collaborative work across virtual environments is becoming the norm.

You can do lots of things in front of your computer that you can’t do in the physical world in a room full of people during a presentation.  You can’t watch a video, or chat rapidly (well, you can Tweet with your thumbs), or you can’t ALT TAB and open several windows at the same time and reference your little heart away, looking at things someone is talking about.  You can’t run a program demo, or group up with five other people to back chat.  But, you can do that in a virtual world. And even way more!

I guess, I’m going on about something everyone knows.  But, the point is virtual conferencing is coming, and innovation is going to be happening even more than we originally suggested.  The question becomes how do you now make a conferencing interesting.  How do you make it more than just sitting your avatar in a chair and listening to a Power Point presentation.

It is now incumbent upon the presenters and the conference organizations to  figure out how to engage the avatar, transform virtual world learning and begin to define, mold and support virtuality.  Here’s a start

I’m ready to dig in and take it way beyond our imagination.  How about you?  Attend the virtual worlds best practices in education and start thinking about it hard.

See you there.  And at your next conference too.  Call me!

Virtual Reality becomes Immersive Environments

June 27, 2013

Charles Jan Anders writes in Real Life how our visions of virtual reality have changed in the past 40 years. I read the article and thought to myself even before I began reading, “well, we’re not virtual anymore, we have incorporated the physical world into our virtual world, so the lines have blurred”, and my second thought is that it has always been reality. Yes, some of it has been fantasy, but the human experience is the same. We are immersed in information and we have to figure out how to adapt to the environment that we are immersed in. We learn to perceive the environment, ascertain what resources are needed, then which ones are available. Then we find a home base and collect resources until some sort of conflict happens in the environment. So now, let’s see what he says.

So I read it again and I walked away not seeing how virtual reality has changed, but how graphics have changed.  I saw cinema, not virtual reality.  I saw depictions of virtual reality, with me looking at a lot of 2D images that were used to show “otherly spaces”. I didn’t see places where people were interacting, making decisions, advancing their own story.

So I offer this.

Virtual worlds, virtual reality is about allowing individuals to transport themselves across time and space, and to interact with others to achieve goals, build things, combat things using digital technology – some of the environment may be graphical, some of it may be physical.  Graphical images can be manipulated.  Physical artifacts can be wired with sensors to produce information.  The key is to play with these things – to make them do something for you – to put them together – take them apart – share them – pile them up, anything that allows you to experiment and do some serious play.

If I were going to talk about how virtual reality has changed in the last 40 years, I would say we no longer watch virtual reality – we can actually build a part of our lives in it.

Virtual reality has evolved into immersive environments – places where people can interact and create a new culture.