Monday, August 15, 2011

Telepresence or virtual collaboration environments: Will the real immersive experience please stand up?

One of the most interesting results we've seen in our clients' use of ProtoSphere is what I call the "social lubricant" phenomenon. A number of our customers have found that junior and mid-level employees are more comfortable striking up a conversation with senior managers and executives in ProtoSphere than they are in the real world.

They ask questions they might not have the courage to ask in person, and can interact with managers and executives they don't have easy access to due to their remote work locations and travel and appointment schedules.

When I talked to Processor's Jean Thilmany recently about this, she highlighted my point in an article the other week. However, the focus of her article was on business benefits of telepresence technology, and how some industry experts say it can provide a "high-end immersive experience."

Our readers are probably very familiar with our view on telepresence technology. For a refresher: Telepresence tools, like Web conferencing, simply don't support the level of human-to-human interaction necessary to get work done efficiently when holding meetings and other events virtually.

An avatar-based, virtual collaboration environment, however, provides this human-to-human interaction, and lets you connect the right people to the right information at the right time to make optimal business decisions.

I wanted to make that distinction if you read the viewpoints of the sources Jean used in her article. ProtoSphere is not a telepresence technology, but rather goes beyond what telepresence technology can provide organizations. And one of those additional value-adds is a social lubricant or a "social leveling," in which there's a flattening of organizational hierarchies that allows people to engage on equal footing.

Your avatar is fundamental to achieving common presence and equality. It lets you enter a common space with your team members, peers, or whomever you're meeting with, enabling a sense of togetherness. That, I'd argue, is what we're really talking about when we say a "high-end immersive experience."

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...