Monday, June 28, 2010

Video of Merck and ProtonMedia accepting Microsoft Life Sciences Innovation Award 2010

Mike Naimoli, U.S. Life Sciences Industry Solutions Director for Microsoft, had some nice words to say when he gave Merck and ProtonMedia the Microsoft Life Sciences Innovation Award 2010 the other week. You can catch them below as Mike Bevil, Manager of IT Innovation at Merck Research Laboratory, and I accept our awards.

For more information on the awards, you can read our coverage and also hit Microsoft's life sciences site where you can find its press release.

Thank you again!

Friday, June 25, 2010

ProtoSphere Feature Peek: Poll users in the polling theater

We recently updated our public demo build of ProtoSphere with a new feature, the polling theater. It's a zone within the environment where you can take a poll of users, and then see the results displayed by headcount and user. Watch our video to see how it works, and then give it a whirl by logging into ProtoSphere.

As with all of our feature peeks, we welcome any feedback you have to help us improve the functionality to suit your needs better. You could say we're "polling" our readers on the polling theater. Depending on the feedback we get, we might include it, or a modified version of what you see here, in our upcoming 1.5 release. So cast your vote and let us know what you think in the comments!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

New ProtoSphere user? Grab our ProtoSphere tutorial video

If you've just downloaded ProtoSphere or if your organization has recently rolled out ProtoSphere, keep this tutorial video handy. It gives you a basic overview of how to use the platform, including how to navigate, communicate with others, and share and view content. If you have questions about something you see here, you can check out the online help in ProtoSphere, or drop our support team a line.

Photos from the Microsoft Life Sciences Innovation Awards 2010

For your viewing pleasure ...

Here are some great shots from last week's Microsoft Life Sciences Innovations Awards 2010. Ignore the guy in the tan sport coat and jeans. I don't know how he got in there. :P

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Dr. Karl Kapp: "the tipping point for 3D will be in the healthcare industry"

My bud Dr. Karl Kapp hit the nail on the head in his blog post on Monday. He looked at the meaning and implication behind Microsoft giving Merck and ProtonMedia its Life Sciences Innovation Award last week.

I thought it was a spot-on analysis of the life sciences industry and why it's leading the adoption of 3-D virtual collaboration environments. As Karl wrote, "the tipping point for 3D will be in the healthcare industry."

I won't steal Karl's thunder here, so swing over to his post for his full analysis. Thanks for the thoughtful evaluation, Karl.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Green IT goes beyond UC and telepresence

Two new studies have come out that point to the benefits of using unified communications (UC) and telepresence to conserve energy and cut costs. The findings aren't very surprising, but there are some notable data points.

First, a Frost and Sullivan report found
  • Web conferencing services market in Europe grew by 19.3 percent in 2009.
  • Researchers also predict that the green movement will drive growth in the unified communications and collaboration (UCC) market.
Mike Dolan covered the report on FierceVoIP, and you can flip over to his article for more details on the findings.

Next, a Verdantix study commissioned by AT&T determined
  • Telepresence can cut 5.5 metric tons of CO2 emissions through 2020 if U.S. and U.K. companies substitute travel for telepresence.
  • That's the greenhouse gas equivalent of removing over 1 million passenger vehicles from the road for one year.
  • This would provide financial benefits of almost $19 billion by 2020 for the U.S. and U.K. economies.
Larry Dignan covered this study on ZDNet. I'd encourage you take a look at his article too, and the analysis he included about the TCO (total cost of ownership) of telepresence.

While these findings are encouraging, I believe UC and telepresence are just part of what we need to be doing to conserve energy, cut costs, and protect the planet. We have to establish next-generation virtual workplaces that combine these and other communication and collaboration technologies together into a single environment that lets employees work together just as they do in the real world.

I laid out my viewpoints in the comments sections under the FierceVoIP and ZDNet articles, so while you're over there, scroll down and read the rest of my thoughts. What do you say? Would you agree or disagree?

Friday, June 18, 2010

What our LiquidHub partnership means for life sciences

I had the opportunity to spend some time with Rob Kelley, COO of LiquidHub, our newest partner, at the Microsoft Life Sciences reception at the DIA conference. I took out my camera, hit record, and asked Rob:
  • What he's seeing in his life sciences practice around next generation collaboration
  • If SharePoint 2010 is being widely adopted in life sciences
  • And why collaboration has moved to the strategic forefront in larger enterprises
Get his answers by watching the video.

Microsoft gives Merck and ProtonMedia Life Sciences Innovation Award 2010

Virtual model of our Microsoft award
So Tuesday night at the Microsoft Life Sciences reception at the DIA conference ended up being a whole lot more exciting -- and rewarding -- than I think anyone at ProtonMedia expected. Microsoft gave out its Life Sciences Innovation Awards, and Merck and ProtonMedia were joint winners.

Microsoft recognized the 3-D virtual scientific poster session we developed together, which has continued to garner attention among the industry and media. (You might remember that Bio-IT World gave Merck its Best Practice Award earlier this year for the project.)

Microsoft gave us a Life Sciences Innovation award statue at the reception, which we had to virtualize. ;) There's our Creative Team's handy work on the right.

The Microsoft Life Sciences Innovation Awards honor companies that demonstrate new solutions, software, and devices to revolutionize medicine, bring therapeutic breakthroughs to market faster, fight serious ailments, improve health, and enhance people’s quality of life.

You can read about Microsoft's coverage of its awards by flipping to its press release. And you can also catch our press release below for more information about why we were recognized.

Thank you to Microsoft, on behalf of us and Merck, for recognizing us!!

Merck and ProtonMedia Win Microsoft Life Sciences Innovation Award 2010

Microsoft Recognizes Merck’s Industry-First Scientific Poster Session Held in ProtonMedia’s ProtoSphere 3-D Virtual Environment

Drug Information Association 46th Annual Meeting

LANSDALE, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Microsoft Corp. has named Merck and Company, Inc. and ProtonMedia winners of the company’s Life Sciences Innovation Awards 2010. The awards, announced at the Drug Information Association’s (DIA) 46th annual meeting in Washington, D.C., were given in recognition of innovative solutions in the pharmaceutical and life sciences industry. The awards honor companies that have demonstrated the successful application of available software and devices to revolutionize medicine, bring therapeutic breakthroughs to market faster, fight serious ailments, improve health, and enhance people’s quality of life. Microsoft recognized Merck’s innovative use of ProtonMedia’s ProtoSphere 3-D virtual environment to hold the pharmaceutical industry’s first virtual scientific poster session.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Dread collaborating? It's about the technology you're using, not collaboration.

If you're concerned your employees would waste more time using collaboration tools than they'd gain in increased productivity, you're not alone. One in four C-level executives dread collaborating "because of the amount of time it can waste." That's according to a new study by Kelton Research on behalf of the IT services firm Avanade.

I agree certain tools such as e-mail and telephone are time wasters, because the emphasis with these tools is on sharing information, not on true collaboration that occurs in the real world. As we've written before on the blog, this requires a platform that integrates the communication and collaboration tools we use in the real world, including VoIP, document sharing, text chat, etc.

I left some other thoughts on this in the comments on IT Business Edge's coverage of the Kelton Research study. Swing over to read more about the study's findings and then scroll down to my comment.

This integration notion is playing out similarly in the unified business communications (UBC) space. CIO Update covered it well the other week. "... more people, in more places, have to work together and the result is the proliferation of mobile tech tools ranging from voice to VM, IM, videoconferencing, and more. Traditionally these tools have been siloed, disconnected, and difficult to piece into one inbox. Enter the UBC tools that are supposed to tie all the disparate threads into a neat package," writes Robert McGarvey.

As our own Reggie Best said in the comments on the article, UBC tools that get it right tie the disparate threads together into one effective platform, giving end users the flexibility to chose which one(s) will help them achieve the objective at hand. I'll let Reg finish out his thoughts by referring you to his comment. (Just scroll down to read it.)

What are your thoughts?

UPDATE 9/21/10: Rob Preston posted some more food for thought regarding enterprise collaboration in InformationWeek recently. I thought his analysis was thought-provoking, and I left some feedback in the comments.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

ProtonMedia-IBM partnership buzz

A couple of thank yous are in order for Technically Philly and Virtual Worlds News, which recently featured our new partnership with IBM on their websites. Technically Philly also rounded up other tech news from around the region in its article, so click over to see what else they're following in the industry.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

ProtonMedia and LiquidHub partner to combine ProtoSphere with SharePoint and OCS

The DIA 2010 conference kicked off this week from Washington, D.C. And this morning we made our big announcement from the show: our new partnership with LiquidHub.

LiquidHub is a global technology consulting and systems integration firm that focuses on health care, life sciences, financial services, and other major sectors. We're working together to combine ProtoSphere with Microsoft SharePoint and OCS (Office Communications Server) at life sciences organizations worldwide.

The solutions we jointly develop will give life sciences companies a virtual workplace that is based in ProtoSphere and integrates with SharePoint and OCS. More details on that to come, but in the meantime, you can read our press release announcing our partnership for some other info.

Speaking of Microsoft, tonight is the Microsoft Life Sciences reception at DIA. I'm looking forward to attending -- and not just for the beer and food. ;) It promises to bring together a great group of folks from Microsoft and across many areas of life sciences, including drug discovery, medical devices, clinical trials, and others.

If you're planning on coming and want to say hi, keep an eye out for a guy that looks like this avatar. And if that doesn't help, just look for an old hippy guitarist. ;)

ProtonMedia and LiquidHub Form Technology and Services Partnership

Companies team to provide life sciences organizations 3-D virtual collaboration and communication solutions integrated with Microsoft SharePoint and OCS

LANSDALE, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ProtonMedia, the developer of the ProtoSphere virtual collaboration environment for the high-performance workplace, and LiquidHub, a global technology consulting and systems integration firm, have formed a technology and services partnership. Under the terms of the agreement, ProtonMedia’s ProtoSphere technology will be the basis for 3-D virtual collaboration environments. LiquidHub will provide consultancy, integration, and deployment services to combine ProtoSphere with SharePoint and OCS at life sciences organizations around the world. The result will give life sciences companies an integrated, high-performance workplace that lets them collaborate and accelerate decision-making across their product lifecycles.

Friday, June 11, 2010

IBM's Cindy Skirvin on what the convergence of learning and collaboration means for the enterprise

I've been spending time down here at the SPBT 2010 Conference with our new advisory board member, Cindy Skirvin of IBM. She hopped on the other side of my handy dandy camera to talk about where she thinks virtual environments for business are going. I asked her about what the convergence between learning and collaboration means for the enterprise in general, and IBM customers in particular. Find out her answers by playing our video below.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Swimming with the sharks at SPBT 2010

I didn't literally swim the sharks here at the SPBT 2010 conference, but I did get a "high fin," er five, from the Brainshark shark.

My presentation with Cindy Skirvin of IBM starts in t-minus 90 minutes, so I'm off to do some final prep. By the way, you can bookmark our SPBT 2010 tag to follow all our coverage of the show.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

ProtonMedia and IBM partner to develop virtual workplaces for life sciences

Our partnership network continues to grow (see our recent Kaplan EduNeering and RWD partnership announcements), and I'm very excited to let you know about the latest partner we've linked up with: IBM Global Business Services.

We'll be working together to create virtual business environments for life sciences organizations, based on our ProtoSphere platform. IBM will be providing its consultancy, integration, deployment, and installation services to help companies create high-performance virtual workplaces.

We're looking forward to getting the ball rolling with IBM. I think there are great opportunities for both companies to help life sciences organizations cut costs, improve team productivity, and speed knowledge transfer using the solutions we develop.

One of our first orders of business will be me taking the stage with Cindy Skirvin, Partner of Strategy and Transformation Workforce and Talent Solutions for IBM Global Business Services, tomorrow at the SPBT Conference. We'll be presenting how life sciences enterprises are using 3-D virtual environments to foster collaboration and learning among employees. We start at 2 p.m.

I'm here now at the show, and I'm already hearing buzz about our partnership with IBM. We'll be sharing video footage and other coverage from SPBT on the blog, so look for that!

And if you're interested in more details on our partnership with IBM, give our press release a read below.

IBM and ProtonMedia Form Joint Development Partnership

Companies Team to Build New Technology and Services That Will Deliver Enterprise 3-D Virtual Collaboration and Communication Solutions to the Life Sciences Sector

LANSDALE, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--IBM (NYSE: IBM) and ProtonMedia have entered into a teaming agreement that will result in the delivery of innovative, 3-D virtual collaboration and communication solutions engineered specifically for global life sciences organizations. Under the terms of the agreement, ProtonMedia's ProtoSphere technology will be the basis for customized, 3-D virtual collaboration environments to create high-performance workplaces. IBM's Global Business Services division will provide consultancy, integration, deployment, and installation services to life science customers around the world, leveraging the ProtoSphere platform. The companies are also in discussions for cross-marketing initiatives for their solutions.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Look for us at the SPBT and DIA 2010 conferences

It's been a busy quarter for us as far as industry conferences go. ShareFEST, the Kaplan EduNeering Knowledge Summit, and ASTD 2010 are in the books, and next on tap are the Society of Pharmaceutical and Biotech Trainers (SPBT) Annual Conference and the Drug Information Association (DIA) Annual Meeting.

SPBT 2010 kicked off today in Orlando, Fla. If you're unfamiliar with the organization, SPBT is a worldwide nonprofit that supports trainers at pharmaceutical, biotech, medical device, and diagnostic companies. Its annual conference is packed with workshops and sessions covering new strategies and technologies for employee training, leadership development, and team development.

If you're going to be at the show on Wednesday, I highly recommend attending the "Utilizing 3D Virtual Worlds and Informal Learning in Employee Training and Collaboration" session. I'll be presenting (shameless plug!! :P), but that's not the only reason to sit in.

I'll be joined on stage by Cindy Skirvin, our newest board member and Partner of Strategy and Transformation Workforce and Talent Solutions for IBM Global Business Services. We'll be discussing how 3-D virtual worlds are being used by life sciences enterprises to foster collaboration and learning among employees.

We'll talk about how trainers and learners can interact and collaborate with one another in a virtual environment, and how that environment allows for persistence of knowledge beyond an actual scheduled event.

We'll also review a case study of a pharmaceutical company that held a scientific poster session in a virtual world, and the outcomes and feedback from the event. Our workshop is slated for Wednesday, June 9 from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., so mark your schedules! :)

Next week is the DIA conference in the nation's capital. I won't be speaking at DIA, but ProtonMedia is co-sponsoring the Microsoft Life Sciences reception on Tuesday, June 15. We have a limited number of slots open if you'd like to join us. Just let Lisa Yablonski know if you'd like a spot.

If you're involved in the discovery, development, and lifecycle management of pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and similar products, I'd recommend putting the DIA meeting on your list. It's the premiere event for global drug discovery and development, and attracts about 500 exhibiting companies and 8,000 attendees every year.

Registration for SPBT is closed, but you can still sign up online for DIA. Hope to see you at SPBT or DIA, or both!!

Inside Sony's SharePoint 2010 roll out

Case studies about SharePoint 2010 are already surfacing. This one from Sony is worth a read. It details the communication and collaboration challenges Sony faces as a global organization -- including some employees' struggle to get their arms around 300 inbound e-mails a day. (Or, as I like to say, how they lead lives of quiet desperation out of their inboxes.)

The case study goes into how Sony was using SharePoint 2007, why it decided to upgrade to 2010, and the results of the deployment.

"By deploying a collaboration solution based on SharePoint Server 2010 and FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint, Sony Electronics is promoting innovation and building a stronger sense of community. Employees have better access to information and in-house expertise, increasing productivity and lowering costs, and the company speeds through application development," states the case study.

After reading through the story, my reaction was this: While many tech analysts have predicted 2010 to be the year of collaboration, Sony is showing that 2010 could be the year of *virtual* collaboration. I left my thoughts in a comment under the case study, so flip over to catch them. What do you think? Feel free to leave your comments here, or better yet, at the end of the case study.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

ProtoSphere will support Microsoft SharePoint 2010

As you probably know, ProtoSphere integrates with Microsoft SharePoint 2007. Our SharePoint Media Carousel lets users bring documents and other media from SharePoint into their ProtoSphere environment, where they can share and collaborate on them.

This support will be extended to include SharePoint 2010. So no worries if you're a ProtoSphere user and your company is upgrading to the new version of SharePoint. All of the integration capabilities you're using now will be available in a future ProtoSphere release.

If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact us. More details on the support are also in the press release we issued yesterday, which you can read below.

ProtonMedia Announces Support for Microsoft SharePoint 2010

Existing support for SharePoint 2007 will be extended to include SharePoint 2010

LANSDALE, Pa.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--ProtonMedia today announced its ProtoSphere virtual collaboration environment for the high-performance workplace will support the new Microsoft SharePoint 2010. ProtonMedia first introduced support for SharePoint 2007 in September 2009, becoming the first and only 3-D virtual collaboration environment to integrate with SharePoint. By adding ProtonMedia’s SharePoint Media Carousel to their ProtoSphere environment, companies extend their SharePoint investment and processes while they improve product life cycle management (PLM) and speed collaborative decision-making in ProtoSphere.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

ProtoSphere 1.5 Feature Peek: Add Web links to Presentation Boards

Our developers have been busy working on new functionality for ProtoSphere 1.5. One feature that's just about ready is the new Web link function. Users will now have the ability to hyperlink content on Presentation Boards.

Up until now, this has been something our developers had to handle for our customers. For more on how the new Web link function works, watch the video I created below.

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