Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Avatars vs. video and what IBM's Chuck Hamilton thinks of ProtoSphere's SharePoint integration

The interview was a case of big software vendor vs. little software vendor, but they seemed to be on a level playing field when it came to their thoughts on virtual worlds. Chuck Hamilton, Program Manager of the Learning and New Media Program at IBM, spent a few minutes talking with Ron at 3D TLC about what he's seeing in the virtual worlds industry and the promise the technology holds for the enterprise.

Ron also asked Chuck point blank what he thinks of ProtoSphere's integration with Microsoft SharePoint. (But you've got to watch the video to see his answer. I know, sneaky, sneaky. :)) The conversation turned to the topic of human factors in a virtual environment, and the idea of using an avatar vs. video while in world. And if that leaves you hanckering for more, Ron is actually in the midst of working on a post about human factors now, and we'll have that for you on the blog soon.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Dusan Writer's Metaverse breaks down and stacks up 3-D virtual worlds

Doug Thompson, blogger for Dusan Writer's Metaverse, took a look at the various feature sets of several 3-D virtual worlds platforms. Click over to his post for more on how he sees platforms including ProtoSphere stack up.

Transcript of Ron Burns' interview with ThinkBalm's Erica Driver

If you missed anything Erica Driver talked about in her interview with Ron at 3D TLC, you can catch the transcript here.

Ron Burns goes one on one with ThinkBalm's Erica Driver

Although Ron and Erica Driver could talk shop for hours (and have -- exhibit A being at one of the lunch tables at 3D TLC ;)), I caught a snippet of their conversations from the show in the video below. Ron and Erica sync up on the latest research out of ThinkBalm, "Crossing the Chasm, One Implementation at a Time," which she and Sam presented during their keynote earlier that day.

(P.S. -- Like I said before with Ron's presentation video, I didn't realize the blog link was displaying throughout the whole video. Didn't mean to have that in your face the whole time! :P Our future videos will just display it for a few seconds ...)

Ron Burns demos ProtoSphere's SharePoint integration during 3D TLC address

Now that we're back at our desks in our humble East Coast home, we're going through all of the footage and content we gathered from the 3D TLC Conference in San Jose, and rolling it out on the blog. ProtonMedia's big splash at the show was unveiling ProtoSphere's new SharePoint integration capabilities. So the first item we're posting is that very moment recorded on video.

Below is Ron Burns' presentation at the show, which followed Erica and Sam Drivers' keynote (video of that to come). He covered the state of 3-D virtual worlds technology, and what needs to happen to increase enterprise uptake. That includes SharePoint, and, well, I'll let Ron and his honorary guest, Craig Lieboff (Technology Strategist at Microsoft) take it away.

(P.S. -- I didn't realize the blog link was displaying throughout the whole video. Didn't mean to have that in your face the whole time! :P Our future videos will just display it for a few seconds ...)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

ProtoSphere now integrated with Microsoft SharePoint

A few hours ago, Erica and Sam Driver, Principals of ThinkBalm, wrapped up their presentation here at 3D TLC, where they talked about the biggest barriers preventing immersive environments from reaching early majority adoption. Some of the challenges they cited included security issues, lack of proven metrics and benefits from real case studies, and lack of integration with mainstream enterprise platforms. While Sam and Erica provided recommendations for overcoming these barriers, it was still a rather grim picture of the state of 3-D virtual world technology.

But then Ron stepped up to the mic for his presentation, and announced ProtonMedia's big news: ProtoSphere now integrates with Microsoft SharePoint. This is the first time SharePoint services and content have been combined with a 3-D virtual collaboration platform.

Although no one knew the details of Sam and Erica's presentation, Ron's news turned out to be a fitting, and uplifting, follow up. The ProtoSphere-SharePoint integration addresses one of Sam and Erica's major adoption barriers.

The audience was all ears, and it felt like a collective feeling of relief and hope washed over the room. But if you weren't there, I video taped the entire session, and I'll be posting on the blog shortly. We'll also have demos of the ProtoSphere-SharePoint technology coming out soon too.

Just after Ron's presentation, we issued a press release announcing the SharePoint integration. It's pasted below, where you can read more about how the two platforms work together and the value it can bring to the enterprise.

And now, it's on to the show floor to talk to some attendees!

Unified Communications: A Solution in Search of a Problem?

I'm driving on the New Jersey Turnpike, in a downpour, heading back to our Lansdale, Pa. offices from a meeting. I'm running the meeting through my mind, analyzing the conversation, and thinking about next steps. It was with a potential client who is interested in virtual worlds as a way to improve the productivity of their teams.

During the meeting, one of the guys at the table mentions unified communications (UC), and asks who really needs it? And that got me thinking. Unified communications is almost always presented by vendors and understood by businesses as a technical telephony solution.

But there's a real disconnect (no pun intended) between focusing on telephony technology as a means unto itself, as opposed to helping businesses improve collaboration within and between teams--which is the real requirement I see businesses wanting to achieve.

Enter: ProtonMedia's blog

Even though we've been writing for ProtonMedia's blog for a little while now, we officially debuted it to the public at the 3D TLC conference. ;) We announced it in a press release today, which I'm pasting below for all interested!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

PDF case study of top pharma company's experience using virtual worlds

I told you yesterday about the case study we did covering a top five global pharmaceutical company's implementation of ProtoSphere. We received the layout from our designer today. Here's the PDF, which you can download, print, and share.

UPDATE 3/9/10: We've also designed the PDF into single-page layout, so it's easier to read online.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Top five global pharmaceutical company conducts industry's first virtual poster session in ProtoSphere

One of the challenges the industry is facing is taking 3D virtual worlds from early adopters to mainstream acceptance. A crucial way we'll do that is through research, studying early adopters' strategies, and identifying core metrics that businesses can use to drive decision making.

Some analysts and researchers are doing good work in this area, and we hope to highlight and fund projects like these in the future. But there are also things we can do now.

One initiative Proton is doing is working with our customers to bring their research to the forefront. Recently, we did this with a top five global pharmaceutical company. We're waiting for approval to use their name, but in the meantime, here's our draft of a case study that omits their name and any other identifying elements. (Our designer is working on laying out the case study in a spiffy PDF, which we hope to have ready to post in the next day or so.)

With the exception of making the source anonymous, all of the data is real. I find the results compelling, and I think you will too. If you understand the power virtual worlds can bring to teaming and collaboration, feel free to use this information to spark interest and initiate adoption.

We're confident our customer will let us use their name, and we'll post an updated version of the case study soon with those identifying elements included. We also have several other case studies in development, which we'll be posting here as well, so watch this space.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Roundabout ProtoSphere's 3-D Media Carousel

If there's one feature of ProtoSphere that always generates excitement during presentations and demos, it's the Media Carousel. The Media Carousel makes it easy for teams to share information, without having to navigate complex folder hierarchies or decipher obtuse file/folder names. Instead, all of the documents a team is working on and which are relevant to their mission are within arm's reach in the 3-D virtual environment.

If you've ever pondered the question, "Why 3-D?" (and who hasn't?), or if you're a 3-D evangelist trying to educate a colleague on the benefits of 3-D worlds for business, hand them a copy of our Media Carousel User Guide. While there's no substitute for experiencing virtual collaboration first hand, I think the User Guide quickly communicates the stark difference between content sharing in the traditional way (files and folders, attachments, screen sharing, etc.) versus with context in a 3-D world.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Your people are your best asset

"The desire, and the ability, of an organization to continuously learn from any source, anywhere, and to rapidly convert this learning into action, is its ultimate competitive advantage."

That's a quote from GE's former CEO and Chairman, Jack Welch. You might have seen it before, and it was recently brought to my attention when I saw it in this IVCi Newsletter article. I was struck by how succinctly it captured our value proposition.

What we offer in ProtoSphere is not about 3D technology. It's about connecting people in a meaningful way and overcoming the challenges of distance and time. For instance, when it comes to learning and training in ProtoSphere, we create environments that emulate the classroom experience. Voice over IP (VoIP), text chat, and video broadcasting facilities let trainers and learners communicate.

Built-in blogs and wikis let employees create teams, projects, and workgroups around the business’ activities and challenges. Employees can post documents and files for peer review and modification. The environment is always on so that employees have on-demand access to knowledge, which enables continuous learning.

Your competitor might be able copy your product, but they can't copy your people. Tapping into their wisdom and capabilties can be a sustainable competitive advantage.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Look for me at 3D TLC

The other week, we wrote about our exhibition at 3D TLC and my speaking engagement at the show. We issued a press release today to "officially" announce the news. Check it out below for more details on what you can expect from us at conference. See you in San Jose!

UPDATE: My address is 10 a.m. on the 23rd, not 10:30.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

ProtoSphere demo video, new and improved

As they say, there's always room for improvement. Well, we tweaked our original ProtoSphere demo video to clarify some features and benefits. You can watch the updated version below. If you're unable to watch YouTube videos at your current locale, you can also download a high-res copy from our Web site.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

3D TLC, here we come!

We'll be packing our bags for San Jose, Calif., in a few weeks where the 3D TLC @ Engage! Expo awaits. The show covers all things virtual worlds, and how businesses can maximize business strategies using them.

We're a Gold Sponsor and will be exhibiting ProtoSphere at booth #36. I'm going to enjoy 30 minutes of fame at the show too, when I present right after the opening keynote on the first day. My time slot is 10:30 a.m. on Sept. 23. UPDATE: My address is 10 a.m.

If you're able to stop by, you'll be privy to a very exciting announcement from us. And unfortunately, that's all I can say for now. I have to leave you on the edge of your seats because we don't want to spill beans before my presentation! If you can't make it, fret not, because we will be putting a press release on the wire announcing the news.

Our blogging team will be on hand covering the show and capturing the sights, sounds, and people of 3D TLC. We'll have podcasts with attendees, video of my presentation and expo floor happenings, pictures and more, direct from the ground. We'll be rolling it all out on the blog in the days following the show.

So lots of things going on for us at 3D TLC. If you've registered, see you there! If you haven't registered, you can do so online. The show runs Sept. 23-24 at the San Jose Convention Center.
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