I recently attended the Engage Expo 09 at San Jose on Sept 23-24 and met up with a number of leading lights in the fields of 3D Training Learning and Collaboration ( 3DTLC) and Virtual Worlds in general. It’s a testament to the growth of Virtual Worlds or our understanding of them – that a convention organised around them has to have 4 different tracks to address the issues surrounding their use and development.
Overall the main ideas that emerged for me from the conference were :
- Enterprise use of 3D immersive interactive environments is picking up but not at the pace desired by the VW community and industry. We are ‘Crossing the Chasm’ on this.
- Use of immersive environments for training in Defense and National Security .
- Mainstream adoption is at least 3 to 5 years away for Enterprise use.
- Need to create unique learning methodologies for 3DTLC.
- Growth of Virtual Goods as an industry.
- Casual social games are kings of 09 ( think Zynga and Farmville etc.)
- The Metaverse will probably not be the Universal Set but rather a sub set of the Web ( a very important paradigm shift in thought here – hopefully will write a more detailed post on this later).
- Need for formulating open standards and protocol to better integrate different virtual environments.
- Need for standardized laws to govern virtual worlds and transactions there in.
I think these are the main thoughts I took away from the conference. There was some degree of skepticism and fatalism in some of the early adopters but there was also a growing sense of having to deliver on fundamentals like ROI etc. Overall the mood was serious but optimistic – I personally think that 2010 is going to be a make or break year for many early players in the Industry.
I think the growing awareness of these 3D immersive interactive environments for work and the growing recognition of their utility is a very positive development. I think in 2009 – Virtual Worlds ( I like calling them immersive interactive envionments) have definitely moved beyond the exotic to be more utilitarian and this is greatly encouraging for early movers like Indusgeeks.