Virtual Worlds Person Of The Year Award, 2011

I would like to dedicate my Person Of The Year 2011 Award by the Association of Virtual Worlds to:

  • All the Altadyn team members and especially to my partner Guillaume, without whom our technology would not be the one we have today and to Jeff who submitted my nomination for this award,
  • All our customers who are key contributors to our success especially to Tom from Old Dominion University,  John and Kara from APTIMA Inc,  Bernard from Tennaxia, Lionel from Walraven Law Firm and Laurent from Framlink who took the time to comment their vote,
  • Our shareholders without whom our business could not be developed the way it is today,
  • and to all my friends and my family for their continued and life-time support.

I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Edita Kaye, the founder of the Association of Virtual Worlds, for running the largest, the most popular and the most successful association in our industry.

Thank you!

Darius Lahoutifard

Darius Lahoutifard
CEO
Altadyn Corp.

More on this here.

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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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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How Did 2010 Turn Out For The 3D Internet Market and For ALTADYN / 3DXplorer?

Virtual Worlds, web 3D, “Live 3D collaboration” or “Full 3D Virtual Events” represent different angles of vision for the same group of 3D immersive Internet technologies. As 2010 was clearly the year of emergence of 3D for consumers, I would like to discuss the evolution of this part of 3D internet technologies.

During 2010, AVATAR, the movie , 3D TV screens in the shops, controller-free gaming consoles such as Wii and Kinect, and glasses-free 3D TV, all played a key role to massively introduce 3D environments to all generations and not just to the younger generations , as games did in the past 15 years. This created a new dynamic wave for the 3D Internet in general.

As a testimony to this new 3D wave, Altadyn, now in its ninth year of business, accelerated its growth in 2010, with over 117% revenue increase compared to 2009  :

ALTADYN 3DXplorer revenue 2010

ALTADYN revenue growth 2009 - 2011

In the past 25 years in the 3D technologies and businesses, we have seen years which left their marks more than other years. For instance;

  • 1982 was the year of foundation of Silicon Graphics, Sun Microsystems, Adobe and Autodesk, as well as the year TRON was released by Disney,
  • 1987 was the year when 3D design and modeling applications became affordable to most 3D animators and engineers when  Sun introduced the first non proprietary OS on affordable workstations ,  and 1988 when PTC introduced the first parametric modeling technology ,
  • 1995 when Hollywood started using the first realistic special effects in its productions or just the use of full 3D productions such as Toy Story by Pixar.
  • 2010 was the year of Emergence of accessible virtual 3D environments for all, including consumers.

This general trend of emerging accessible 3D virtual environments strongly impacted technology providers, especially those offering 3D immersive software. Let’s have a look at a few lessons learned in 2010:

1) “Virtual Worlds , a la Second Life” are not meant to be for business, but for entertainment.

The Virtual Worlds market leader, Linden Lab, severely downsized it’s team, during 2010, stopped the Enterprise or B-to-B  Business, and focused on its core business which is entertainment and gaming. The company even hired a new CEO with a clear gaming background. Forterra Inc., a pioneer in this space went out of business, as well as it’s “half sister” company THERE, a leading virtual world. We learned that a virtual world needs to have a purpose. If it’s for entertainment, then it needs to follow the rules of a game business model and the consequences. If it is for business, it has to follow business requirements, be enterprise-friendly, available in SaaS mode (hosted, on-demand), compliant with corporate firewalls, with no software download, etc…

2) Virtual Events are taking off but customers need more engaging Virtual Events.

Within 2010, the tough economy and budgetary restrictions, corporations and event firms produced even more events virtually than in the past, using mostly non 3D web-ex type technologies or pseudo-3D applications, while starting to use full 3D immersive platforms as well. Although some cost reduction goals were fully achieved, they didn’t meet their goals in terms of direct customer interaction, lead generation, new business relationships (see the TSNN report, tables 9 and 10).  In another study, ROI of engagement, it apparent that customers need more engaging virtual events which facilitate networking and encourage active participation.

3) Perpetual Virtual Events or Permanent 3D Websites are needed more

Those clients, who experienced virtual events, notice that it’s much easier to setup a virtual event than a real event, and the cost of maintaining a virtual event space is a fraction of the cost of building it. Consequently, they are interested in more frequent virtual events  or even perpetual  trade-shows or show rooms where visitors can interact with company’s representatives, at any time. That’s the reason why 3DXplorer’s Meet-in-3D service is becoming more and more popular. This service saw a fast growth in 2010 and the trend for 2011 is continued. As a reminder, 3DXplorer/Meet-in-3D enables the transformation of anonymous visitors of a website into real prospects.

4) Other 3D Immersive  Applications are emerging, or continue their development

Among other applications of 3D internet which gained a lot of customer attentions, we noticed:

  • Replicating strategic corporate facilities and enabling accessible virtual visits
  • Simulation and training
  • eLearning and virtual classrooms
  • On-boarding and other HR applications
  • Virtual Showrooms and Art galleries

The trend in 2011 is in the continuity of 2010, with the market getting shaped in a more determined manner as per the above orientations, and we all look forward to it.

Darius Lahoutifard
CEO

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3DXplorer at the University of Washington

University of Washington is one of the most active universities in the field of Virtual Worlds and one of the rare ones delivering a certificate in Virtual Worlds, under Randy Hinrichs’ leadership.

Like last year, 3DXplorer is one of the few platforms being studied during this course, in 2010. Last week, I was pleased to speak to this group of very motivated and skillful students, and share with them some elements of our vision, at Altadyn. The evolution of the 3D and especially the web 3D technologies in the past 20 years, different generations of web3D, the corporation requirements for live collaboration technologies based on virtual worlds , other market requirements , as well as the future trends, were among the subjects we covered.


The above are pictures of last week’s virtual classroom in one of the 3DXplorer conference rooms.

I enjoyed the event and look forward to seeing all the 2010 students playing an active role in this market soon, if not already.

Darius Lahoutifard

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Some New Avatars Now Available as Guest (mid-resolution 300)

You can see the new avatars if you enter the Altaworld (our 3D lobby accessible from the Meet-in-3D button on our home page) as a guest.

3DXplorer new female avatars

If you have a customized list of avatars in your space, please keep in mind that your list will not be updated automatically. You need to go to the settings’ page of your space and decide if you want your visitors to choose the new avatars or not, and allow them in your space.

The new avatars have been created upon suggestions of two of our most recent customers, both interested in younger avatars.

Enjoy using them!

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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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