We've been hanging out at the Virtual Edge Summit 2009 since yesterday, which is physically located in Santa Clara, California.
Regardless of having a conference pass to attend physically, we've opted to attend the event virtually using the VirtualU universe option. Live streams from speakers representing Cisco, Linden Labs, and others have been talking quite a lot about Social Media this year - so you can imagine we've had to endure hearing the words "Twitter", "Second Life", and "Facebook" so many times that we feel the urge to jump across the table and smack people.
It's not all boring and mundane (just mostly), as there was an excellent speaker from Cisco who was on target talking about integration of technologies, and also the real world cross over and ROI. Stuff like AR (Alternate Reality/Augmented Reality) games that create long term relationships with a brand, as well as a number of other things.
Day One of this Summit was more or less boring with the exception of Zain from Microsoft who was talking about virtual worlds and their usage, but even him we give marginal kudos for acknowledging (ever so briefly) that real world cross over in a virtual event and vice versa is something to look into when creating virtual events.
Sadly, it was a topic which was glossed over and not addressed in detail.
Starting on Day 2, we've heard a panel from Linden Labs, VirtualU, and a couple of others talking about virtual worlds and how business can participate. While some of the questions were answered live by these people, there are still a number of questions which these experts are deftly dodging, such as what happens if your evangelizing of these technologies actually works and you convince businesses to use them in orders of magnitude higher capacity than we currently see?
The problem is that the virtual event today is drawing about 80 simultaneous people to attend, but what happens if business really latches onto this going forward and we start seeing 800 or 8,000 people showing up at the same time? How do we deal with scaling the technology in a cost effective manner for the business?
Right now, SecondLife would not scale upward in a cost effective manner, nor would most 3D virtual environments. The cost to user factor becomes prohibitive at a certain point, and we at Andromeda Media Group would like this to be answered by these industry executives.
Of course, they actually don't have an answer for this, and that is the point we're making right now. Scalability while providing acceptable individual user experiences is not cost effective in a full capacity for attendance. So we're left with the proverbial Elephant in the room.
We all know the Elephant is there in the corner, but nobody wants to acknowledge it.
If you're interested in jumping in during today's events, you can check out http://www.virtualbeginnings.com/start to get an account and the software for logging in. At the very least, you get to hang around people from Microsoft, Motorola, Sprint, Cisco, and many other fortune 500 companies.
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