collaboration & virtual worlds

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Presentation at the Serious Games Institute October 27, 2009 by Ron Edwards on the nature of work, drivers of collaboration and need for better tools, and how virtual worlds are an optimum fit for enterprise collaboration. Ron is the CEO of Ambient Performance in London.


  • 1. Digital Collaboration Drivers and Opportunities Ron EdwardsAmbient Performance

2. Agenda 1. Collaboration: The Issues 2. Current Solutions 3. Virtual World Solutions 4. Implementing Digital Collaboration Tools 3. Trends: Transitioning to Knowledge Work 4. The Context The World of Work has Changed Widely distributed teams: co-located people in offices acting as though they are remote workers Recruitment and retention: the demographic profile - digital natives & digital immigrants Diversity and Inclusion: its contribution that matters Current methods of team collaboration e.g. mail, IM, videoconferencing, are only very partial solutions Travel is an environmental issue 5. Trends: Knowledge Work: Where? 6. Mobile Broadband Use Will Double in 12 Months 7. The Issues1.Business1. Efficiency & Effectiveness: resulting from poor distributed co- ordination due to inadequate collaboration tools2. Engagement for Innovation: high trust, close proximity teams perform. Distributed collaboration over distance with poor communication tools often leads to low trust and poor performance. 2.Costs1. Travel2. Telecommunications3. Opportunity 3.Carbon: effect on environment from excessive/unnecessary travel 8. 1. Business: Efficiency & Effectiveness Technology has made people more productive but most IT applications were not designed for collaboration. Dominant model is that people work individually and then merge their respective efforts Collaboration often means pulling up your chair next to your colleague so that you can look at the same screenMesh Collaboration Andy Mulholland. The Economist 25/10/08 9. 1. Business: Engagement for Innovation Innovation remains key to growth. Trust is the key to innovation. In distributed organisations technology is known barrier to developing trust Existing collaboration technologies audioconferencing, videoconferencing, team workspaces, document sharing are only very partial substitutes to face-to-face meeting at best 10. 2. Cost Travel: Considering air fare, car rental and hotel stay, we expect the average domestic trip for European companies to increase two per cent, or 21, to a total of approximately 1,020 - Amex Business Travel advisory services vice-president Joakim Johansson. October 2008 Telecommunications: For our global distributed mobile professional workforce our biggest telecoms cost is mobile telephony Tier 1 Consultancy. Opportunity The cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a certain action. Put another way, the benefits you could have received by taking an alternative action. 11. 3. Carbon Source: UK Dept. of Transport 12. SummaryCarbon? Travel Efficiency TelecomsCostBusiness Engagement OpportunityICT ! 13. Much Of Today's Technology Leaves CommunicationProblems UnsolvedToday, information workers use technology pervasively to get their jobs done tocommunicate with others, complete tasks, and learn new skills. mobile and landline phones, conference bridges, email and calendaring, instant messaging, text messaging, team workspaces, Web conferencing, videoconferencing, project management software, office productivity tools, eLearning modules, wikis, blogs, podcasts, social networking tools.But the vast majority of organizations deploy just a small subset of these tools. Even if abroad portfolio of technology is in place, it's usually just a collection of nonintegrated,disparate tools.And where tools like these are available, widespread suboptimal utilization is common.Source: Forrester Research, Inc. 2008 14. Now add in.the Dominant Work Model Dominant work model is that people labour individually and then merge their respective efforts Its not much different from the age of paper.Collaboration oftens means pulling up your chair next to your colleagues so that you can look at the same screen. Mesh Collaboration. Andy Mulholland. 15. Virtual Worlds 16. The Exploding Range of Virtual World Communities 17. Virtual World Capabilities 18. 2-D vs. 3-DCharacteristic The World Wide WebVirtual worldsDimensionality 2-D experience3-D experience Organizational metaphorWeb sites or Web pages, panels, windows,Rooms, buildings, islands, objects,..and framesExperience is borrowed from the physicalworld. Representation of the user In most cases, a person's presence on a A person is represented by an avatar. In in the environment Web site is unknown to others some virtual worlds, the user can also be aninvisible observer. Means of navigatingScrolling to view content not visible Walking, or typing in the name of a room,around the environment on the screen. object or location and"teleporting" there.Clicking on links or typing or copying andZooming in and out and changing camerapasting URLs to go to other Web sites orangles to view contentpages. ContentPrimarily text-based, though visuals of Primarily visual, though text (e.g., on virtualmany types are supported (e.g., graphics, signs and on documents) is supported.icons, photos, and videos). InteractivityThe average user cannot modify contentUser can create, view and manipulateon Web sites other than to post commentsrealistic or recognizable representations ofon forums or blogsobjects (e.g., furniture), RealismDoes not simulate real-world conditionsRealistic or recognizable representation andsimulation of objects, space, perspective,etc. Simulates gravity, day/night cycles,travel distances, collisions, picking upobjects, and wearing clothes, etc.Source: Forrester Research, Inc. 2008 19. Getting Work Done In Virtual Worlds Versus More Traditional Alternatives Comparison criteria Using more traditional In virtual worlds alternatives Multisite conversations or meetings Conference calls, video conferencing,Build a virtual room as large or small as you telepresence.need. All attendees convenePresenceBasic (usually self-administered)You can not only see a visual representationof who is in the meeting but what they aredoing Non-verbal, non- text communication Can be done well using hyper-expensive Typically use a series of menus for facial telepresence systems and less well via in- expressions and body gestures. room video conferencing and Web cams. 3-D model sharing reality mechanisms (augmented reality). Or Put it on the virtual table in the center of reduce three dimensions to a 2-D the room and walk or y through oraround it.Document sharingTeam workspaces, application sharing via All participants in the virtual room can edit enterprise IM clients. Real-time, in- line that document in real time. When done, the editing via a good user experience is sorely user can save the document back onto his lacking in most of today's information or her desktop. worker tool portfolios.Voice conversations Torturous teleconference systems requiring VoIP-enabled.. Easy to mix in multiple voice identification and 15- digit accessremote parties. Sometimes tied in with codes. Some systems don't allow fortraditional conferencing systems so speakers to hear while they are speaking,participants who are not in the virtual world which prevents them from noticing when (e.g., are on the road) can still participate others on the call want to voice.Videoconferencing Room-based videoconferencing, WebA shared video experience without high-end cameras (desktop video cameras), and expensive monitors. telepresence systems like Hewlett- Packard Halo or Cisco Telepresence at the top end of the market (for hundreds of thousands of dollars to outfit a single room).Source: Forrester Research, Inc. 2008 20. Value Proposition Virtual Audio WebVideoWorldsConferencing ConferencingConferencing (OLIVE) FamiliarFamiliar Face-to-face Face-to-face UbiquitousUbiquitous likelike Perceived to be InexpensiveMultiple mediaBenefitssharinginexpensiveAppealing toInternetgeneration Poor Same as audio Large download RequiresparticipantSingle mediaProven visiting installedattention span sharingeffectiveness sitesChallenges Discussion Pay extra for Easy entry forcontextaudio or VoIPemployees No display callingof dataCosts $500 to $30 to $100 $60 to $167 $1000s(per person $1000sper year) Enterprise Virtual Worlds Yield Immersive, Engaging, Interactive Experiences 21. Virtual Worlds Replicate with some accuracy the experience ofworking physically alongside others Allow people to work with and share digital 3-Dmodels of physical or theoretical objects. Incorporate nonverbal communication intointeractions where important. Make remote training and counseling a more realisticoption. 22. Virtual WorldsVirtual worlds are relatively inexpensive, don't require a great deal of startup technology infrastructure, and provide a naturalistic, immersive approach to simulating space, people, and objects Forrester 2008 23. The Need Shared private workspaces: secure, dedicated, accessible Shared immersive and persistent spaces: real-time engagement; resulting actions and activities remain over time Shared access to and control of office productivity applications: MS Office, corporate applications, video. Shared ability to manage and extend the team environment Secure: inside the corporate firewall if required Integration with corporate networks e.g. Active Directory or LDAP Trusted: authentication; avatar identity Carbon & Cost: cut carbon and cut costsThere must be a better way to collaborate 24. Accessible Access via any suitable PC with broadband connection anywhere. Simple to learn: mimics and extends everyday human interaction 25. Immersive: Realistic & Persistent True persistent world Real time voice via VOIP Highly realistic avatars breathe, facial expressions and gestures 3D asset development in-house or contracted out Record and replay reviews on demand 26. Workplace Tools Standard office tools available in-world: MS Office Custom tools and data streams can be integrated 27