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.

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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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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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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Why Virtual Events Look Like In-Person Events?

Since we launched ALTADYN 9 years ago, we regularly hear the above question. Why Virtual Events Look Like In-Person Events? Why Meeting in a 3D space ? Why using AVATARS? Why not having Virtual Events user-interface as simple as buying a book on AMAZON or renting a movie on NETFLIX ? Etc…

A few consultants who covered this space have done a decent work answering to these questions, including FROST & SULLIVAN (who predicts more “presence” will be required in Virtual Events), and THINKBALM (who has published several reports on this matter).

We see a few reasons why Virtual Events NEED to look like in-person events if they want to become mainstream:

  • 3D immersive creates the Sense of Presence, and the Feeling of the Space
  • Avatars lead to more « Human » Interactions, more engaging, 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
Virtual Events: 3D avatar based Tradeshow with 3DXplorer

Virtual Events: 3D avatar based Tradeshow with 3DXplorer

Have you ever questioned why corporations have always spent so much time and money in building well designed and greatly architect-ed headquarters, and reception areas? Do you have the same feeling when you walk in an underground dark railway station hallway, compared to when walking in a bright glass bridge with a green landscape around your meeting room? Are you familiar with the emotions that environments create in you?

The 3D immersive environment and its design by itself creates feelings in each attendee. Now add the fact that you see another avatar in front of you talking and/or chatting. Is it the same sense of communication compared to trying to visualize someone just by their name, in text, in the lower right corner of the screen?

Connecting attendees into a virtual event, so that they can see slides, hear a presenter, watch a video (live streamed or not), or even chat to each other, is a resolved problem since 10-15 years ago ( by Webex and webex like platforms). The same way netflix has done with movie watchers  or Amazon has done with book readers or Facebook has done for friends… a simple easy way to accomplish the needed tasks mentioned above. But why do people still go massively to in-person events?

The demand is now for more HUMAN Interaction, more ENGAGEMENT and for virtual events which are closer to the in-person events. So that the attendee “FEELS” like he/she is “THERE”, and interacts with the exhibitors and with other attendees.

Some book buyers, those who miss the human interaction and the seller’s advice, continue to drive a car and go to Barnes & Noble to buy a book where they spend a lot more time and money than just ordering online. Why do they do that? Because they miss something AMAZON is not offering today.

Now for Virtual Events, the HUMAN aspect is even much more crucial than for AMAZON. The goal of Virtual Events vendors should be to enable attendees participate to more events, get more content, be more engaged, connect more to each other, enjoy the experience and even have fun. All this in less time and at a lower cost than the in-person event. That’s why everyone tries to create that SENSE of PRESENCE. Some do it with background images(full-size 3D generated), and some go further with 3D immersive, avatar based solutions. In a platform like 3DXplorer, you can virtually “walk” on the same floor as other attendees, shake hand with each other, use your laser pointer to point out something on a slide or show an object to someone, see where each person is looking at, etc…you FEEL being in the same place. PRESENCE makes sense this way.

Now, are ALL Virtual Events going to look like in-person events? No. But unlike AMAZON for books, here we have the larger market who has not yet gone virtual, despite solutions being available since 10-15 years. because most virtual event platforms can’t provide that feeling of presence, and they simply don’t facilitate networking and engagement that is effective or fun.

If the Virtual Events market wants to deliver on its growth promises, it needs to develop something fundamentally different than Webex which will capture those in-person events.

Register for one of our upcoming webinars and give it a try, and Feel free to react…

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