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Best Virtual World Ever: Innovation in Organizing Meetings

I’ve been organizing scientific events and medical conferences in the virtual realm of Second Life for years. Though it has some serious limitations.

  • If you don’t have IT experience, it will be quite hard to download and install it.
  • Costs a lot if you want to upload content.
  • Creating slideshows is a complicated and long process.

In the last couple of months, I’ve been a consultant for a Hungarian team that developed Visuland which should be a perfect alternative for Second Life:

  • Takes about 20-30 seconds to enter: You come up with the idea to organize an event and send the specific links to the potential attendants. They click on the link and get into your conference room in 20-30 seconds.
  • No need of installation and registration
  • Real-time voice communication
  • Real time video-streaming on virtual screens (you can stream your presentation plus your face via webcam at the same time)
  • Efficient presentation tool -> conferences, workshops, meetings
  • Editable posters and textures -> personalized rooms, advertisements
  • Any website, blog, forum can easily create its own virtual place
  • Public and private chat, transcript can be saved
  • Zero cost for not commercial users

Take a look at it yourself and see how fast you can enter Visuland. It has one major limitation, it only runs on Windows but will run on Macintosh as well in a few months.

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7 Comments Post a comment
  1. I’m a mac user so I can’t try out visuland but I did watch the video. Looks interesting and I look forward to investigating this product when it’s ready for macs.

    I’m a little confused by some of your statements above in reference to Second Life (which I do not think is perfect but the problems I see are in other areas and in my experience not in those you mentioned).

    * “If you don’t have IT experience, it will be quite hard to download and install it.” – I have new graduate students (older, non-techie types) regularly create accounts and install Second Life (SL) and have never heard of it being hard to download and install. There are other tech challenges including the steep learning curve involved with SL once you do get started. But downloading and installing is the same as for any other program I’ve installed on my computer.

    * “Costs a lot if you want to upload content.” – I upload content regularly and the cost is $10 Linden dollars per texture, (which in U.S. currency is less than 4 cents – slides for powerpoint or images to place on signs would be a texture. Not sure I’d call that costing a lot).

    * “Creating slideshows is a complicated and long process.” – This was the case a couple of years ago and some are not aware of the newer free tools for this purpose. It takes me less than 5 min. to create a 20 slide powerpoint in SL, I don’t think that’s too bad.

    There are those who entered SL years ago before real time voice was created in SL who still think it’s text chat only as well.

    I’ve been in SL for 3.5 years now and there are still limitations/challenges which can be frustrating but, in my opinion, those you listed are not amongst them. I’m a little surprised by this. I understand you’re a consultant for the Hungarian team that developed Visuland, which I’m glad you state.

    If Visuland is much easier for users with lower bandwidth to run, if it will work on any computer regardless of hardware and still allows for the types of rich immersive interactions that SL and other virtual worlds provide, then it could be a real winner.

    I am excited to learn of something that may be easier and quicker to get new users involved with in virtual worlds. Visuland looks like it has potential but I won’t know until it works on macs and hopefully on the iPhone and other handhelds as well.

    I’ve been expecting SL Linden Labs to come out with a lighter browser based version that perhaps does not allow for as much in the way of content creation but can at least get people quickly together in a place where they can meet with others to explore, learn and present for conferences in a system that offers more than web conferencing. I’m wondering if Visuland has done just that. Hurry with the mac version please :)
    -Robin

    December 20, 2009
  2. Thank you very much, Robin, for the long comment!

    You’re right, but let me share some more details.

    If you want to upload a slideshow in Visuland, you just upload the pdf and it will work. In SL, I had to upload the jpeg files of slides and add those to a script.

    Visuland costs nothing.

    When I organized events in SL, professors and other doctors found it very hard to get into the virtual realm. It might be an easy process for graduate students, but believe me, certainly not for professionals. On Visuland, you just click and get inside the new environment.

    I really hope the Mac version will be ready soon so you can try it yourself and share your opinion. :)

    Best regards,

    Berci Mesko, MD

    December 20, 2009
  3. Thanks for the details, Berci. The grad students I work with would fall into the same category as professors and doctors. They struggle with learning how to navigate and communicate once inside the SL environment. It simply is not intuitive enough for most people to quickly learn. The cost of time must be worth the benefits gained and many professionals simply do not have the time.

    I may be able to give Visuland a try on a PC at work. I’ll definitely share my opinion once I can give it a test run.
    Best, -Robin

    December 20, 2009
  4. Bill Perry #

    # Editable posters and textures -> personalized rooms, advertisements
    # Any website, blog, forum can easily create its own virtual place

    Hello Berci,
    I’ve taken a look around and am quite impressed. How does one create a personalized room/virtual place?

    Been following your blog for quite a while at the recommendation of Peter Murray. Outstanding site.

    Bill

    December 23, 2009
  5. Thank you for the article. Me as well I am working a lot with Second Life and also OpenSim. However, I developed a tool that makes it possible to upload PDF and Powerpoint Presentations directly. It is currently in advanced Beta and working very well. It will be freely available.

    If someone is interested please send me an IM to my avatar Eric Gaibov and I will pass you a copy of the presenter.

    Cheers

    Volker

    December 31, 2009
  6. aditya452010 #

    All great ideas but I would also add another item to it: consider doing a virtual event/meeting. Virtual events and meetings are a great way to stay in front of customers, generate new leads and help close business already in the pipeline. These solutions are being deployed so rapidly by companies that the market is projected to exceed $18 billion by 2015. If you are interested in how you can use virtual environments attend the Virtual Edge Summit Feb. 22-23 (virtually or in-person if you are in/near Silicon Valley). There is no registration fee if you take a short survey.

    Virtual Edge Summit 2010 is the only event that focuses exclusively on providing education, training and solutions for planning and producing virtual events, meetings and communities. Over 2 days, 80 experts will share their experience with you, and be available for one-on-ones. The event also offers a rich program for featuring experts from Cisco, Stanford, IBM, Disney SAP, Oracle, Intel as well as top virtual technology and service providers like InXpo, ON24, 6Connex, Stream57, CGS VirtualEvents365, George P. Johnson, Unisfair and Digitell.

    When: February 22-23, 2010 8am until 6pm

    Where: At the Santa Clara Convention Center in California and virtually in browser based virtual environments offering 2D and 3D experiences.

    Register at http://www.VirtualEdgeSummit.com

    February 17, 2010

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