Posts Tagged ‘virtual worlds’

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!

MOOCs – Another Reason for Virtual Worlds

November 13, 2012

Dr. Endicott-Popovksy at UW

This is Barbara Endicott-Popovsky.  She teaches Cybersecurity at the University of Washington.  She now teaches the same class to approximately 13,000 people using a MOOC (see 3rd paragraph regarding what’s a MOOC).

Barbara just invited me recently and three other professionals to participate in a filmed panel talking about emerging technologies and cybersecurity – this includes social media, virtual worlds, gaming, etc.

We spent two and a half hours in a studio with a score of professionals, taking and retaking one shot after another.  We immortalized our thinking about this relevant topic in November 2012.  But, the interactivity was practically non-existent.

What’s interactive about a MOOC?

Our interactivity was about as vivid as the graphic above.  There were no people, no faces, no one actually interacting.  We sat face front looking at the camera, Barbara a bit to the side, acted as talk show host for the video version of the class and the panel. She talked to a camera man, and an imaginary “class”.

We panelists didn’t talk among ourselves at all.  Well maybe between takes.  But, we didn’t see the class, we never had any contact with anyone consuming our ideas, it was like being filmed in a zoo.  I think the only person that really got something out of it was the producer who was making the video and writing notes furiously.  After this experience, I concluded MOOCs are a great idea, but their interactivity model is all wrong.

The Huffington Post just blogged today that MOOCS are Massive Open Online Courses, offered free as online college-level classes open to anyone, and everyone, who wants to take them.  The blog touts Coursera, edX and Udacity.  Huffington says MOOCs are a potential game changer. I’m wondering whose game they’re changing if the interactivity isn’t even as good as a real classroom.

I’m wondering how anyone is going to make money at this? Or better yet, how much money people are going to spend to be part of this  I saw a lot of money being spent.  But Barbara wasn’t getting anything, none of the panelists were getting anything, and even the three guys video taping are working off existing salaries at the UW. Why is this the “Year of the MOOC“?

Well, what a great time for a virtual world to step up and start offering some real interactive experiences. In fact, we put together a video to show how this could be done.  We used the occasion of How to Conduct Government Conferences in Virtual Worlds with our co-conspirators: ASTD, the Technology and Telehealth group of the DoD, and the National Defense University.    Conferences in Virtual Worlds.

Well, there is something to be said about moving conferences and real interactivity inside a virtual world. And we asked that question five years ago, do you want to be 3D.  We are betting on — you do.

How to run a conference in 3D by 2b3d, ASTD, T2 and NDU.

We’ll be happy to do that for you.  Visit us at

2012-2022. Where are we going from here?

October 23, 2012

Wearable Technology:  Nokia patents a tattoo that vibrates when you get a call.  This is a wearable that is even more deeply embedded in you and provides added value. Google predicts wearable goggles, enabling augmented reality seen only in cyberspace science fiction.  Yet, it’s a work in progress.

Augmented reality in subways with smart phones are already in your hand, and is a smart phone not a wearable?  Do you put yours down very much?


Any Object is Digital:  Corning produced “A Day Made of Glass” to show some of the most amazing visions of the future on glass.

Imagine everyone creating 3D objects that can be access over the Internet and access and integrated into any object.  The image below paints that vision.


Work-Life Balance Technology.  Imagine every object with an IP address.  This could happen on glass surfaces, as Microsoft envisions in their recent video, and could happen on other surfaces as new materials are constructed as envisioned in the Engineer of 2020:Visions of Engineering the New Century report suggests.

Such access to information could easily add to the quality of life, creating work life balance.  The picture below says it all.


Compute on Any Surface:  As surface glass becomes available and high speed fiber reaches out everywhere, computing will occur on walls, mirrors, counters, real desktops, billboards, store windows, anywhere there is a surface.

And if you want access to “How To” and “Help Me” or “Show Me” or “Tell Me” services and you want either virtual worlds, or human avatars to come in and help, you will be getting them everywhere.

Transworld Communication..  So speaking across distances and sharing objects will be the norm.

A FoxNews 1:1 between one journalist and one interview is extraordinary in video conferencing in 2012.  By 2022, meeting walls with anyone present in the environment, waving 3D objects between users will be the norm, I bet.

Holograms.  And if you haven’t seen Tupac performing Coachella with Dr. Dre, you might not see that holograms are right around the corner.

Couple this technology, with recent Microsoft Research technology, and you can see our bodies making movement on the screen without using a mouse or a keyboard.


And, then when we can do that and access 3D images directly, we can move data in 3D without grabbing a mouse.


Avatar Realism:  Technology is advancing the digitization of our bodies fairly quickly.  Our avatars are becoming more real.

Look at the differences between an avatar in Second Life, and the digitization of John Noble.


When all of this convergence is brought together: Technology, People, Materials, Processes, Investment and Vision, we can imagine a world in 2022 when we might be able to have it all.

  • Abundance
  • Ubiquity
  • Realism
  • Natural Interfaces
  • Timeless Memories
  • Healing Computing
  • Economic Equality
  • Energy Efficiency

here is great promise in our advancement, and the next 10 years will not look the the world we are experiencing now.

Mentor Networks

October 23, 2012

With virtual worlds, come real people.  Imagine a world in which you can call in experts to drop in from your LinkedIn List, or your internal SharePoint Lync list.  Imagine virtual conferences in which users can interact with each other while an expert is talking in the environment.  Imagine facial gestures reflecting your feelings, and body gestures indicating your next move.  Imagine augmenting the environment and providing not only individual feedback to the speaker, but group feedback to everyone.  In a mentor network in a virtual world, individuals can engage with each as well as they do in the physical world – and because of the tools available to all users, providing content, signalling reaction, offering feedback, polling opinion, crowd sourcing a solution – interaction is value add.

Mentor networks show amazing potential for enabling virtual world and virtual education.

Basic Theory about Virtual Media in Virtual Worlds

October 23, 2012

* Virtual worlds are a place where humans wander to shed their feelings of isolation. 

* Virtual worlds are a place where people tell their stories on walls and in 3D objects.

* Virtual worlds are a place to find heroes, pioneers, risk takers, and people as avatars.

* Virtual worlds are a place where technology scales our knowing through visualization and experience.

* Virtual worlds are a place where we can imagine.

Where is Virtuality?

October 23, 2012

If you have a device, you are virtual.
If you use twitter, you are virtual.
If you play games, you are virtual.
If you use augmented reality, you are virtual.
If you text constantly, you are virtual.
If you have a Facebook page, you are virtual.
If you Google your facts, you are virtual.
If you upload your creativity, you are virtual.
If you use a virtual world, you are virtual.
If you have an avatar, you are virtual.
And all of this is reality.

Predictions, 1995-2012

October 23, 2012

Ran looks at a trajectory of ground breaking ideas.

In 1995, Web Page Design was a different multimedia. Everyone wanted one, everyone was trying to figure out what made a good website, and how did you get others to see your URL.

In 1997, Intranets focused attention on internal business processes. The advise was, if you are going to go public, make sure you get it right, inside your organization first. Like Peter Senge suggested, become a learning organization. Knowledge management was born.

In 2002, the Secretary of Commerce published a 2020 Visions document in which ten of the top leaders came together to discuss what is going to happen with all this technology. This launched a Visions 2020.2 from the student perspective. Let’s look at their visions: make it small, I don’t want to type, make it part of the desktop, make it multifunctional, make it for everyone, make it speedy, wireless, safe, with 24-7 access, and make it work for me. Make sure I can get help all the time, and make the software intelligent, so I can ask questions and get good feedback. And finally, make it a game, take me there, let me learn on-line, and let me work digitally. Plus I want a different kind of teacher, a different kind of book, a personalized world, and give it to me straight.

How close did we make that one. Here we are ten years later, and what part of this list isn’t here?

In 2004, the National Academy of Sciences publishes The Engineer of 2020: Visions of Engineering in the New Century. Technology changes underscore the prediction. Medical breakthroughs, new energy devices, new materials, remarkable light sources and next generation computers are seen as where the innovations will come. Societal patterns will impact these technologies. The youth will bulge, the baby-boomers will retire, the demographics will equalize, but water, housing, and healthcare will challenge the areas of focus. The marketplace will be global and customerization will be dominant. Education is the game changer, and technology in education can change it. Not only do new skills need to be taught, but new ways of teaching have to be invented. And, key areas of growth must include: strong analytic skills, creativity, ingenuity, professionalism, and leadership. With Coursera on the rise, e-learning a standard offering in any university, and organizations like Google offering courses and meeting places, access to quality content and rich interaction with peers is within reach. With virtual conferencing and virtual worlds, the new workplace and learning place are more accessible to everyone everywhere. The society of engineers continues to build creativity and professionalism in every new venue. Our predictions are coming true.

In 2011, empirical evidence shapes how to design virtual world learning in Transforming Virtual World Learning, Cutting-Edge Technologies in Higher Education and in 2012, Engaging the Avatar is seen as providing leadership in the new digital economy.

2b3d teaches “How to Use Virtual Worlds to Teach”

May 8, 2012

2b3d has experienced many years of formally creating learning experiences in virtual worlds. We have created simulations for accounting firms in which users use a Kiosk based system to follow course ware, learning the terminology of Inventory Audits. Then, the user enters into a warehouse and begins to learn how to conduct an inventory audit. 2b3d has taught retail sellers to identify what the pain points are of their end users in a large retail store like a Target or Costco and figure out their communication needs, and choose the right communications platform to ease those pain points. 2b3d has engaged in healthy living courses in which studies have indicated that users loose more weight in world, than they do in the physical health club. We have been instrumental in education and outreach in post traumatic stress disorder. We have been responsible for creating and teaching a Certificate in Virtual Worlds at a major university in the U.S. We meet in world, we learn in world, we teach, we co-create, we develop long term strategies for creating learner centric environments.

So, we are going to begin a set of training events in world to show people how to use the virtual environment in the 21st century of virtuality. This is a combination of when reality, the instructors, mentors, content, and place come together with a virtual environment, the construct of Second Life. We will be able to teach our course in any virtual environment – the content stays the same, we simply transport our context from virtual world to virtual world.

Our idea is to teach you the theory behind why virtual worlds work – what is it in the psychology of the avatar that works to make a user feel as if they are present in the environment and responsible for their learning. What is it about the sociology of the avatar group that makes users collaborate, feel the tension of time and other constraints to push them further in their learning as a consequence of being in a group. How is culture handled, differences in diversity, and motivation. How does architecture work in the environment, so users feel comfortable. What are the interaction models that work. What are the methods and techniques that work in virtual worlds?

We then move on to discuss design, and use the archetypes of peregrination, “touring”, and virtual critique to evaluate the environments of the virtual world. We insist everyone design a presentation and present a design. What works in terms of Gagne’s principles of learning?

How do you use virtual worlds to

1. Gain Attention
2. Inform learner of objective
3. Stimulate prerequisite recall
4. Present stimulus material
5. Provide learning guidance
6 Elicit performance
7. Provide feedback
8. Assess performance
9. Enhance retention and transfer

We are going to begin classes in June, and invite you to visit to learn more about our program.

Video Conferencing and Virtual Worlds

May 7, 2012

Altadyn – 3DXplorer boasts a new Facebook application to get into their virtual world. Further, they state that they are creating a new U.S. Embassy in their space. See them on the BBC.

One has to wonder about the uses of video conferencing versus virtual worlds. The eyeballing that is referred to is important – looking at someone in the eye stimulates a flight or fight response, that is inevitable. But, that must fire off neurons in the brain and release chemicals that make the body respond rapidly. So, no amount of camera and waist to head body shots is going to stimulate the need to get away, or to dig it. Video conferencing will consume lots of bandwidth for Cisco, and they’ll be able to sell lots of hardware to run that video. But, what I’m hoping to see here is something more profound. Is it possible to represent the body more significantly, and watch every reaction of the other avatar? It is possible to watch avatars as they move about in virtual worlds – they stand in front of certain exhibits, their bodies move about to tell you which direction they are facing. Their heads move and their lips move – much like in video conferencing, but they do so with respect to the environment they are in, not just a bland room in which people are sitting and moving. What I’m suggesting here is that we can all do much better than that. We can drive some new applications for interaction using a combination of virtual, 3D technology, which provide context, and video conferencing applications which supplies a certain amount of realism. We are going to have to get much more interesting and realistic, if we are going to take on communication wholeheartedly in the virtual space.

Winners the Virtual World App.

March 27, 2012

Virtual Worlds are edging in and it can’t be denied. Why, because virtual worlds have evolved into something called the 3D Web. Whether gamification is used – avatars working on goals in competition is pointless. Whether augmented reality is used to describe pointing your camera at the physical world and calling it AR is quaint. The whole point is – virtual worlds are technologies that extend the human experience between the physical world and the digital world. If you feel like you’re “in it” – it’s a virtual world. If you feel like you are swimming in the data – it’s a virtual world. Whether the avatar is human, an iphone app, or a cursor, it’s all you being represented and deeply immersed in a virtual world.

Look at the Federal Challenge of Virtual Worlds, you have a weight loss program in which avatars and meeting with other avatars in a world where they have to smash fast food into oblivion. They are creepily followed by a chicken leg until they so “no, no, and I mean hell no”. They flip coins to flip (or reframe) their thinking. This is a virtual world that works. The point is – the winners are those that are creating virtual world apps that are converging the technologies to help people. I’ve been around computers since the early 80s, in and out of institutions like Unisys, Sun, Microsoft. The marketing departments work like James Brown on stage – they keep singing Turing soul songs, convincing you this is a computer that you can relate to. And, every instance is. I’m so impressed with let’s keep building more apps. Let’s call them phone apps, VW apps, Droid apps, whatever, Let’s just keep pressing on to see if we can use technology to serve us in being better humans, better societies, and using the enormous potential for solving world problems together, and entertaining ourselves when we do it.