The Whole Web Has Become Social, How About Your Own Website?

The Whole Web Has Become Social

How About Your Own Website?

Are the logos of Facebook and Twitter (and more recently Google’s +1 button) familiar to you as seen on almost any home page? How about links to the blog? Or other community and social initiatives? Everybody wants their company or website to be “social” these days.

social media goes 3d

But adding a Facebook button on your homepage will not make your web strategy more social. It shows you understand the need for creating a community with a rich level of engagement and interaction with your customers and partners, but have you been able to truly measure the results?

What if your visitors could actually engage and communicate with you ON your own website? What if instead of sending your traffic to Facebook, you actually took your own visitors to the next level of interaction? or to the next step in your sales process?

This is exactly what you can do with an Avatar-based 3D website. You transform anonymous visitors into qualified prospects.

Meet in 3D

Don’t let your web visitors walk away from your website. Engage with them in 3D to do more business. Let them walk into your virtual office to instantly engage so you can communicate with your website visitors. Within a fully customized 3D Online virtual space with avatars the immersive experience provides a humanized and entertaining first impression that will improve communication channels and increase conversion rates. A link to the 3D space is placed directly on your website and is accessible to all your visitors and is a great way to establish real relationships with your customers!

3DXplorer Meet-in-3D Features include:

  • Access to your 3D Virtual Lobby right from your home page
  • Bell emails can be turned on to alert your reps when a visitor walks into your site
  • Interact with your visitors and talk to them live in an immersive space (VoIP).
  • Instant messaging function allows site reps to chat with visitors instantly
  • Your space is customized using your logo and other graphic assets
  • Video links and embedded slide shows can be displayed on wall-mounted screens
  • Embed hyperlinks, taking visitors to purchase pages, contact pages, etc.
  • Scalable architecture enables interconnected spaces without limits
  • Free personalized avatars for all your visitors
  • Analyze statistics and see your space daily traffic
  • No software to install, multi-platform, multi-browser, all hosted by Altadyn, included.

Avatars are not just for Hollywood any more! Until June 24, 2011, subscribers to one year 3DXplorer/Meet-in-3D and get free customization. (total costs $990 instead of $1990). That’s 50% off. So hurry up. Stand out of the crowd and go 3D.

See the promotional offer here: http://www.3dxplorer.com/product_comparison_pricing.html

Subscribe here: http://www.3dxplorer.com/subscribe-now.html.

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Avon Uses 3D Conferencing For National Sales Meetings

In an article published this week by Network World, and relayed by the Association of Virtual Worlds, two 3DXplorer customers talk about their experience with the platform used for web conferencing. Here is one of them, through an excerpt from the mentioned article:

… Global cosmetics giant Avon Products had a problem. The teenage girls who were the primary salesforce for its “mark” brand of youth-oriented cosmetic products had a hard time sitting through Web conferences composed mostly of PowerPoint presentations. But the need for online meetings was unavoidable – the girls were located all over the country, and needed to participate in training and attend sales meetings.

Avon goes 3D for conferencing
“When you’re sitting in a Web conference, it’s easy to be distracted, check your email, watch TV,” says Natalie Wood, assistant director for the Center of Consumer Research at Philadelphia’s St. Joseph’s University, which was asked by Avon to help solve this problem.
The Center for Consumer Research had experience working in various environments that were more engaging than watching slides on the Web while on a conference call. The most popular of these was Second Life, but this platform wasn’t appropriate for Avon, chiefly because of its steep learning curve and technical requirements.
The platform the Center for Consumer Research decided on, 3DXplorer from Altadyn, is a Java-based online meeting space where companies can fully customize the virtual environment and hold meetings similar to the ones they would have in Second Life.
“It’s Web-enabled,” Wood says. “You don’t need a fancy computer, and you don’t have many firewall problems. And you do not need to be highly competent to use 3DXplorer. Second Life definitely has a steep learning curve.”
The Center for Consumer Research has already begun holding virtual meetings for Avon’s young sales agents in the 3DXplorer environment, and the feedback has been positive.
“One of the things we’re finding is that the girls no longer feel anonymous,” she says. “Girls are commenting to each other, ‘It’s wonderful to finally meet you!’ – even though they’re not actually meeting, they’re meeting the avatar.”
They also felt that the meetings were more serious and legitimate, she adds.
Avon’s virtual meeting space in 3DXplorer is modeled after its headquarters in New York City, and visitors can actually see the New York skyline when they look out of the virtual windows.
“It gives them the feeling that they’re really in the ‘mark’ offices in New York,” Wood says….

Saint Joseph University - Center of Consumer Research - 3D Conferencing

Read more here.
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The Museum of Me – Interactive or Not ?

You may have already noticed the new Facebook app that Intel released a few days ago, called “The Museum of Me”. There are right now 374,732 fans of the app. The Museum of Me is ultimately an ad for Intel’s Core i5 processors, but it’s a very interesting small app, well designed, accompanied by a nice music to which you can’t be indifferent. Some people dislike it. For instance, Ben Rooner, a Wall Street Journal blogger considers it as the greatest gift to narcissists, (well, you better get over it or the majority of the population is composed of narcissists, given the popularity of social networks) , while some other bloggers consider it as a must to try, or an education in data privacy. Here’s a sample video of what facebookers have been doing with it in the past few days:

Intel’s Museum of Me, invites the users to tour their Facebook life in a visually developed virtual museum to explore who you are. The app pulls up photos of friends, nicely placed on a wall, your own photos taken from your uploaded pictures in the next room, your videos in another room (didn’t work for me) , whatever you have liked in another room (another feature not working for me), and finally a room where a few robotic arms catch some flying pictures of your friends to build your own picture (mosaic style) by assembling pictures of your life/friends, and showing your network of friends (once again very visually). I really enjoyed the experience. Seeing flying pictures of some friends being caught by a robotic arm and put into a frame to compose my picture, showing how friends or connections are part of our lives, touched me. So thumbs up Intel, for having used the same type of emotions created by other 3D environments and virtual worlds in a simple video.

However, to avoid being a disposable app, for only a one-time use, this app is missing just a few features (summarized as INTERACTIVITY ) to become a more permanent space for hanging out with friends, chatting, talking (Voice/IP), sharing pictures live and commenting them, sharing souvenirs from the past, or simply sharing some moments from a recent event. To illustrate my point, i spent 15 minutes building my museum in 3DXplorer, and here’s the result of a tour inside my INTERACTIVE 3D space called: The Museum of Me – Interactive. Click on the links below:

The Museum Of Me - Interactive

The Museum Of Me

If interested in experiencing the simple quickly built “The Museum Of Me” – Interactive in 3DXplorer, built from one of the free templates, enter here.

So let us know how you like it? Interactive or Not ?

-Darius Lahoutifard

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http://polls.linkedin.com/vote/137900/twejk

Tech Alert: Firefox 4 on Mac and Java issue.

Firefox 4 was general released last week on all platforms including Mac OS, but several FF4 issues have been reported since. Some of them are fatal for Java applets (and consequently for 3DXplorer users on Mac). See this or this.

Mozilla will soon be releasing a corrective version.

In the meantime, we discourage Mac users to upgrade to FF4.

In case you have already upgraded to FF4, uninstall Firefox and reinstall an older version (3.6.17) from below:

Download Firefox 3.6

Thank you.

FCVW CONFERENCE 2011 – GOVERNMENT POSTER SESSION on 3DXplorer

Hybrid Conference (multi platform) and Poster Session (exclusively on 3DXplorer) .
May 12 & May 13, 2011

Virtual Events are free of charge. Please register here.

Presenting FCVW Conference 2011, Dr. Paulette Robinson, PhD, Associate Dean for Teaching, Learning &Technology at the National Defense University, iCollege wrote: “Federal Consortium for Virtual World Conference (FCVW): Headed for the Future at the National Defense University in Washington DC, May 12-13 with a great lineup of pre-conference workshops, May 11. We have four incredible keynotes and a wonderful lineup of panels on the program. The government poster sessions are even better than last year (if that is possible). In addition, the vendor fair will offer some interesting surprises this year…”

More information about FCVW conference.

Program details here.

ENTER THE EXPO HALL – GOVERNMENT POSTER SESSION

Government Poster Session - FCVW 2011 Virtual - 3DXplorer

Government Poster Session - FCVW 2011 Virtual - 3DXplorer

Please make sure you have an updated java installation. Mac’s are OK too. If needed, install the latest java from http://www.java.com .
Chat is activated in both halls.
Audio is activated in both halls but talking is disabled in the conference room: In the exhibit hall, for quality audio, please make sure you have a headset with a microphone if you need to talk and engage conversations with other attendees. If no microphone, then chat is the preferred way for networking.

If needed, a 2 minute Quick Guide Video is available here : “How to attend a Virtual conference in 3DXplorer”

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ENTER THE CONFERENCE ROOM

FCVW 2011 Virtual Conference on 3DXplore - National Defense University

Enjoy your 3D experience.

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Old Dominion University & Opportunity Inc. Use 3DXplorer To Launch New Virtual Youth Career Center

On Feb. 14, the Youth Career Center of Hampton Roads unveiled the Virtual Youth Career Center (VYCC), a three-dimensional, avatar-based virtual location accessible to youth via the Internet. Built on the 3DXplorer platform, The new virtual center allows youth to interact with peer mentors and YCCHR outreach assistants to explore career options, plan educational endeavors and prepare themselves for employment.

3DXplorer Youth Career Center immersive 3D virtual event platform

Valentine’s Day was extra sweet this year ...

Valentine’s Day was extra sweet this year for Opportunity Inc. as the workforce development organization introduced its newest venture to assist area youth: the Virtual Youth Career Center. The new center allows youth to interact with peer mentors and Youth Career Center outreach assistants from any computer where there is Internet access.
“The idea of the Virtual Youth Career Center is wonderful,” says 16-year-old Xavier Debrough, president of the Youth Career Center Peer Council. “The avatar is a good tool in making it less formal.” Plus, he adds, “VYCC will help users find what career(s) best interest them, what college(s) they are interested in and what skills they have.”

The VYCC was developed in collaboration with Old Dominion University and will be jointly managed. Student peer mentors from ODU along with AmeriCorps volunteers from the Youth Career Center will hold virtual “walk-in” hours in the virtual world. They will use avatars to help youth explore career fields and prepare for the job search. The system allows for communication via two-way audio and chat.

“Although the physical Youth Career Center of Hampton Roads is centrally located in Pembroke Mall, not all of our clients can make it to the center,” says Christina Brooks, YCCHR coordinator. “By adding the virtual center, we can serve any youth aged 14-21 in Hampton Roads who has access to the Internet.”

The Virtual Youth Career Center allows youth to access career-related assistance in a venue that is common to the technologically savvy youth today and is in itself a career immersion activity. “The Virtual Youth Career Center is another avenue to continue our mission to entice students to delve into career fields of the future in the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM),” says Andrea Harrell, director of youth initiatives for Opportunity Inc.
To check out the new virtual center, visit www.myyouthcareercenter.org/virtualcareercenter.html

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Ten Challenges 3D Virtual Meeting Platforms Face in Corporations?

Corporations are used to Webex-like solutions (and even somewhat to Virtual Event platforms) for their Virtual meetings. The top 4 platforms in traditional virtual meetings are: Cisco’s WebexGotoMeeting from Citrix Online, Microsoft Netmeeting and Adobe Connect.  When they need more sense of presence and more interaction and more humanized meetings then they usually used to go for a face-to-face, even though some have been interested in pseudo-3D Virtual Events platforms for large virtual conferences and virtual trade-shows.

3D immersive solutions are filling in the gap by offering an in-between solution, where you can save time and money by keeping it virtual, while increasing engagement and interactivity, thanks to 3D immersion, avatar based platforms.

 

A Virtual Conference on 3DXplorer

A Virtual Conference on 3DXplorer

Those who have successfully experienced this alternative, report the following benefits:

  • 3D immersive spaces create a Sense of Presence,
  • They create Feelings closer to face-to-face than to traditional virtual meetings of the Space
  • Avatars lead to more “Human” Interactions, more engagement and more networking among attendees
  • Avatars and 3D immersive lead to stronger Visual Memory of the Meeting
  • Importing 3D objects improves communication and collaboration on 3D virtual products

This is an ideal solution for corporations as they have the best of both worlds; reduced cost/saved time (as the platform is running from the users’ computers), and increased engagement and more human interaction, VoIP, avatars interactions similar to face-to-face meetings.

So, given these huge benefits,  how can this adoption of 3D immersive spaces for meetings get accelerated?

What are the real challenges and obstacles to overcome when adopting 3D immersive platforms in the Enterprise?

We, at Altadyn, have been in business since 2002. We pioneered browser-based and download-free virtual spaces; 3DXplorer multi-user avatar based platform was introduced 2 years ago and VoIP was added last year. Now, the adoption is taking off; with thousands of virtual attendees in our platform each week, and growing, we are seeing a clear acceleration in the adoption. We are getting closer to mainstream adoption every month, but what have been the issues?  Here are some of the most common requests from the corporate users, that we have resolved in the past few years.

  1. Software Download or Installation: IT managers in enterprise can’t let users install ANY software without their involvement, tests, approvals or certifications. It doesn’t matter how small is the download. As far as the platform requires IT approval, then it becomes a problem. This has been forever the problem for Second-Life’s adoption in Enterprise until Linden Lab decided last year to refocus on the entertainment markets. Obviously being Browser-based helps, but it’s not enough. If your browser-based system requires a plug-in which is not pre-installed on corporate computers , it’s going to prevent users to attend meetings,  even a tiny active-x installation is an issue.
  2. Enterprise Firewalls:  the platform should not require open ports other than port 80, otherwise similar accessibility issues will need to be addressed.
  3. Bandwidth: Most 3D immersive platforms require large bandwidth for smooth animation and for VoIP. This not an issue in most corporate offices, but is sometimes a real issue in remote offices, and obviously one of the main reasons for these meetings or for getting remote offices people closer to large branches or to corporate offices.
  4. Mac Support / Multi-OS / Multi-browser: Although Windows is the main platform in Enterprise, almost 10% of Enterprise users are not running Windows. As far as the browsers are concerned, users are starting to have their own preferences, so supporting all browsers helps for a faster adoption.
  5. User generated content: As soon as the corporate users discovers the 3D immersion, they want to replicate their key strategic places: their Executive Briefing Center, their Show room, their Command Center, etc. Didn’t we mention the sense of presence as a key advantage? Well once they get it, they want it all. The 3D platform should allow easy import of 3D models. Moreover, corporate users are asking for open architecture to embed hyperlinks, documents, videos, audio, and even more recently, twitter feeds and more.
  6. Scalability: Meetings become conferences and customer days become global users group meetings.  Corporate users attend meetings from a few participants up to thousands. 3D platforms should be able to handle small meetings as well as large corporate events with thousands of attendees. This means cloud computing support with off-the-shelf pre-configured instances with major cloud computing platforms such as those of AMAZON-EC2 and MICROSOFT.
  7. Learning curve: Users won’t spend too much time in learning the environment; chat, VoIP, sitting, laser pointing and desktop sharing should all be one-click features.
  8. Simple avatars: Long and complex processes to create an avatar are not welcome for most business users. They want to select an avatar quickly and get in the room.
  9. Walking & turning: For most business users who have never played a 3D game, this is not an easy reflex, even though the software only requires pressing on the keyboard’s arrow button to walk. They are not used to walk in Webex! Interestingly, unless they have not gone through this change, they’ll not notice the benefit of 3D immersive, as the immersion will only be felt after walking and turning around.
  10. Virtual behavior: Unlike in Webex, your gesture, movements and virtual body language is visible to others.  And of course, walking over a table or into another avatar is not appropriate, just like in the real world. Those situations, which bring some fun and ice-breaking moments, can also appear silly or contribute to the “non-serious” or “game” aspect of the meeting thus becoming fatal for its adoption in the Enterprise. They need to be used responsibly.

3DXplorer has left most of the above challenges behind, especially those which are technology-related. We are still assisting users in their move towards more sophisticated applications for virtual meetings and working with them on better setting their expectations.

 

They need to be used responsibly

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