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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New Release: 3DXplorer V 5.4.08 is released today!

Eight months after pre-announcing V5.4, and with an intensive and long set of tests and real meeting experiences, a new version of 3DXplorer V5.4 is released. As of today, the ‘Last Release” status is attached to V5.4.08.

The most important feature is a more robust and higher quality VOIP, which uses a dedicated port if the user’s firewall authorizes it (if not, the standard port 80 is used).

Among other new features:

  • “Mute audience” button is replaced by a moderator’s control panel allowing a moderator to control separately voice, Desktop Sharing, lasers, chat moderation and video broadcast
  • “Voice” button is replaced by “Mic” and “Speakers” buttons to increase users control on audio settings
  • Presentation features (ie: Desktop Sharing, laser, video broadcast), voice and chat moderation can now be activated/blocked individually for each avatar
  • Skinning import improved for max 2010 COLLADA exports
  • Faster and more reliable network synchronization
  • The size of a video overlay/popup can be set in the material editor
  • New meeting planner with invitation text supporting 8 different languages for 3DX/Online Meeting and 3DX/Conferencing, and customizable invitation templates.
  • And many bugs fixed.

Many of you have set your version to a test release to use VOIP, so please make sure you reset your space to LAST RELEASE status.

Enjoy the new features and please feedback.

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quidexpat.com Likes Meeting Website Visitors Live !

QuidExpat.com is a leading website where the French-speaking population around the world finds useful information on expatriation.

The website features a network of French-speaking professionals whose mission is to respond quickly and efficiently to questions of many individuals and businesses in different categories, such as expatriation, real estate, legal, employment, health, technology, etc …, over the phone. The provided services have been focused on the USA, so far. Other countries are about to be added.

Since a few weeks, their home page has a new amazing feature: an awesome 3D space to meet and greet visitors.

 

quidexpat 3D space built with 3DXplorer

quidexpat 3D space built with 3DXplorer

Commenting on their use of 3DXplorer, Biba Pedron and Laurent Millour, co-founders of QuidExpat.com said:

“The 3DXplorer room is a great asset to our company. After seeing the whole potential of this new technology during the demo, we decided to acquire our own space to greet our visitors, show our customers the full extent of our services, and organize seminars on different topics related to expatriation.

Here are the reasons why we like our 3D room:

• It allows us to interact with customers all around the world in real time
• It sets us apart from the competition
• It gives us the opportunity to organize virtual seminars with attendees from all over the world
• It creates a buzz in the French-speaking community since QuidExpat is the pioneer in using this technology ”

Biba Pedron and Laurent Millour who successfully ran their first seminar, are now looking forward to even broader use of their 3D space: “No doubt that our 3D room will bring a lot of interest to our company, improve our customer service, and will make it easier to convey our message and services to our customers”.

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Tennaxia Demos Its Software Products Inside Virtual 3D Spaces.

Tennaxia provides a leading SaaS platform for Sustainable Development reducing manufacturers risks and enabling EH&S compliance. It’s a European technology leader, expanding its products and services on international markets.

In the past few months, the company’s challenge was to increase outreach to international customers, for sales and marketing, without spending millions of dollars in new offices and new hires. –A long time user of standard (2D) web conferencing solutions, Tennaxia looked for an advanced collaborative platform for presenting its solutions to oversea customers, with a higher sense of presence and interaction, in a warmer and closer context than traditional web conferencing tools.

After a 3DXplorer demo to the executive management team, the company’s leadership decided to build a virtual demo room, in an open green environment, designed in line with its corporate culture. The 3D space was used successfully for demonstrations and virtual sales meetings.

In a second phase, after a successful series of demos, the company started expanding the use of 3DXplorer to all its sales force, as well as the support and training team.

Benefits from the use of 3DXplorer are:

  • Appearing “close” to those geographically distant customers
  • Reducing travel costs
  • Increasing efficiency of web presentations
  • Increasing sales

Commenting the use of 3DXplorer at Tennaxia, the company’s Chief Executive , Bernard Fort declared: ” In a competitive market like the one we see now, it’s very important to differentiate ourselves and be “close” to our customers. Delivering our software demos in a 3D room is interesting as we can be close to our customers while controlling our costs. Also the fact that we don’t need anything else than JAVA is clearly an advantage.”

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Built-in Web-native Browser-based VOIP in 3DXplorer: You asked for it, you got it!

As a customer-driven company, Altadyn has constantly been listening to users demands and Voice over Internet Protocol commonly called VOIP, was on top of the list since a while.  To satisfy our customers, we evaluated several VOIP technologies on the market, but noticed that they all require that the end-users download a client software. We believe that 3D web conferencing and virtual events markets will become mainstream only if they are easy to use, and accessible to all. That’s why we developed our own java based VOIP technology which works seamlessly in the browser.  With what we have come up with, in order to attend a meeting, a user just presses on the invitation link received by e-mail and enters the space; he/she immediately hears the attendees voice; nothing to install, no other action required.

The VOIP enabled version is available to all users as of this week, under “Test”. To use it, login to your account, then open your 3D space settings page, under tab “Version” you usually see “LastRelease”. Change it to “Test”. As soon as you do this change, any visitor entering this space will be using the test release, which has Voice enabled.

When a new user walks into your voice-enabled space, he/she will hear whatever is going on in the room, but he/she is not heard, until the “Voice” button is activated. This button appears on the upper left corner of the screen.

A voice icon appears over the head of the avatar who talks, so that everyone can notice who’s talking.

Moderators can cut voice by pressing the  “Mute Audience” button at any time.

Beside the cutting edge VOIP feature, new functionalities have been released:

–          2 weeks free trial for all 3DXplorer products,

–          New meeting planner with invitation text supporting 8 different languages for 3DX/Online Meeting and 3DX/Conferencing

–          Customized invitation templates for 3DX/Online Meeting and 3DX/Conferencing

–          Drastically enhanced features for software developers using 3DX/API

Enjoy the new features, and give feedback to us. Your opinion matters!

The easiest way to attend Virtual Edge on Feb 22 & 23, and to network there, from your desk.

Those of you who are interested in the Virtual Events Market, but are not planning to go to Santa Clara on Feb 22 & 23 are cordially  invited to experience Virtual Edge on 3DXplorer virtual events platform.

We are offering the easiest way to participate, with no download, no installation, not even any additional registration required for the 3DXplorer platform. Despite all the simplicity, you can still walk in with your avatar, feel the space and the event, meet and network with other participants through chat and take away the best  of networking and conferencing.

Just be there on time, number of seats is limited.

Here’s the precious link to use and to keep

http://www.3dxplorer.com/static-v3/virtual_summit.php

Google expects 3D Live collaboration becoming mainstream

In today’s Google blog article,  the company’s representatives announced their intention to build a x 100 faster network:

“We’re planning to build and test ultra high-speed broadband networks in a small number of trial locations across the United States. We’ll deliver Internet speeds more than 100 times faster than what most Americans have access to today with 1 gigabit per second, fiber-to-the-home connections. We plan to offer service at a competitive price to at least 50,000 and potentially up to 500,000 people.”

But what are the key drivers for this initiative?

According to the same blog article, they expect 3D Live Collaboration becoming as mainstream feature as the video:

“… collaborating with classmates around the world while watching live 3-D video of a university lecture…”

Also read:

“Imagine sitting in a rural health clinic, streaming three-dimensional medical imaging over the web and discussing a unique condition with a specialist in New York. Or downloading a high-definition, full-length feature film in less than five minutes.”

We at Altadyn, developers of 3DXplorer, the first and the only Browser-based plug-in-less 3D Live Collaboration platform for events, conferences, trades shows, meetings, virtual classrooms, are obviously looking forward to seeing faster networks for improved immersive experiences.

We love this type of initiatives.

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