Who will be at work tomorrow ? Immersive internet solutions to the Ash Cloud.

In those strange times when the ash cloud paralyzes our economies with consequences being announced than worse those of 9/11, medias keeps talking about the cancellation of meetings in which leaders of this world, big and small, can not attend, God obliges. The organization of enterprises, from the very small to multinationals, is being undermined: colleagues blocked at the 4 corners of the world, shows and fairs deserted, production cycles blocked, stock auction alerts ... Same as the banking crisis or the virus H1N1, the "Cloud Ashing" is a new small grain of sand that is seizing the modern economic machine.

Yet solutions do exist and more specifically those that we offer under the words of "3D immersive internet" also called "virtual environments or virtual worlds. Little known and often criticized by fear, stereotypes or lack of education, these solutions alleviate the complexity of problems related to these crises and more, outline new collaborative practices both more efficient and more social.

Whether presentations, meetings, conferences or virtual exhibitions, immersive 3D solutions offer many benefits and a real alternative to physical travel, because in addition to allowing verbal exchanges, they offer the sharing of space ( up to 350 simultaneous participants), the sense of self and group work, the spatialization of each other, sharing of documents and medias of all kind, cross-interactions in real time in the virtual world and via the web. And of course, a drastic reduction in transport costs, meeting fees and carbon footprint.

Beyond these collaborative practices, immersive 3D solutions offer a new framework for crisis management but also for knowledge management (training, prototyping, simulations) and social networking companies.

By enriching the user experience thru Immersion, training stop to be another formality more or less sympathic, to become a stimulating shared moment, made from co-creation, observation, practice and experimentation. Motivation is enhanced and results are powerful: around 30% retention of data transmitted via immersion education against 10% in conventional training. Language learning, economic or scientific theories, simulated professional situations, training in real-time 3D worlds are certainly superior in many ways than those of serious games or traditional e-learning.

But it would be defintely unfortunate that the virtualization does not benefit the people themselves. Immersive 3D worlds act as "water cooler" creating a framework for self-expression and facilitating communication with others. Distances disappear literally and figuratively, and it becomes easier to relate and socialize. Finally, the savings that companies make by virtualizing part of their collaborative practices can be partially reinvested in facilities and real benefits that can provide a natural extension to these virtual exchanges and add value to the daily lives of his players.

Helene Zuili is co-founder of Makemyworlds, Linden Lab Gold Solution Provider, a consultancy specialized in European integration of virtual worlds in communication and collaborative practices for companies. You can reach her at helenezuili (at) gmail.com

Related articles in this blog

- Real World Expos in Virtual Spaces at Virtual Keynote
- Will "Immersive Internet' become the next buzz word ?
How corporates can use Virtual Worlds for professional education & training ?

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