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I recently came across an interesting graphic and statistics from Gizmodo


The image is a pretty good graphical representation of what happens on the internet within a 60 second time frame. Pretty amazing how much (stuff) goes on!
• 1500+ blog posts
• 98,000 new tweets
• 12,000 new ads on Craigslist
• 20,000 new posts on Tumblr
• 600 new videos (more than 24 hours worth) on YouTube
• More than 3,000 images each minute to Flickr

It’s no wonder that it is difficult at times to find exactly what you are looking for on the web and a lot of search engines return duplicate and/ or worthless results.

A little fun factoid to ponder: In 2012, internet users in the U.S. will expand by 3.1% to 239 million, representing 75.6% of the total population.

With the ringing in of the New Year it is once again time to recap the Top 5 blog posts from 2011, click on any of the below links for the full entry. Happy New Year to everyone!

Serious Gaming in the United States Military

In an article featured in the August 2011 issue of Military Training Technology the magazine asked, “What role(s) will your company best fill as the United States military turns more to the use of serious gaming in an effort to reduce the military’s training costs while maintaining the combat readiness of the warfighter?”

Virtual Worlds for the Defense Sector

The Department of Defense has been in the news on a number of occurrences in past months highlighting the use of virtual worlds by the organization. They are utilizing virtual worlds for a host of different applications, one of which deals with post-traumatic stress in our soldiers, see this story for more details. This project is called The T2 Virtual PTSD Experience and is based in Second Life. By being based in Second Life it does allow an extra layer of interactivity as the player/ trainee is able to interact with anyone else that is experiencing the simulation. It just goes to show that the immersive nature of virtual worlds make them a prime candidate for this type of training and much more!

The Uncanny Valley

The blog post title may have you scratching the top of your head a little bit…The “Uncanny Valley” is a phenomenon that leads to a reaction from an all ‘but-not-quite-right’ simulated human form, whether it be robotic or animated. The term was invented by roboticist Masahiro Mori to depict the negative emotional response ‘real’ humans exhibit when a robot (avatar) seems practically human. Appearance and action are the two biggest factors that could potentially lead to this phenomenon playing out while one is immersed in a virtual world. Thus the overall quality of the avatar is paramount in any type of training simulation, the worst thing you can do is lead the player to possess detachment from the training. The human brain never ceases to amaze me.

Virtual Learning Environments- A New Trend?

Elearning! Magazine recently came out with a report on Virtual Learning Environments: Trends and Insights. The report outlined that virtual learning environments are one of the fastest growing solutions for learning. According to the report “In a June 2010 study conducted by Elearning! Media Group, 64 percent of all corporate respondents have implemented virtual learning within their organizations, and 18 percent more plan to add them. The same study reports virtual worlds for learning will grow 250 percent over the next year to 21 percent of enterprises. At the same time, social learning and collaboration is exploding, with 77 percent of enterprise using or planning to use these tools for learning.” Let me summarize that for you in case you weren’t paying attention…64 percent of respondents have implemented virtual learning within their organizations!

What Role are you Looking to Play?

An often-overlooked critical aspect of simulation training is the best manner in which to train: individual or collectively. Visual Purple offers three modes:
1) Single Player, Single Role – The trainee will always play one role; synchronous interaction with live players not supported or desirable due to intelligent simulation world.
Available: Decision-Based, Virtual World, Hybrid, Embedded

Greetings all VP loyal blog followers! Our apologies for not being consistent in our blog posts as of late…new offices, new technology, an expanding team have kept our ops tempo up! Most exciting is our game-changing technology released in September… years in development, GisterPRO is a cloud-powered Exploratory Search technology. Huh? What did you say? Below is a quick overview of GisterPRO. It is a revolutionary new approach to search inspired by many factors not the least of which is our core competency in understanding analysts needs and processes from years of producing intelligent training sims in this domain. We get it that analysts need better tools especially when it comers to being more effective in OSINT (Open Source Intelligence).

A GisterPRO SaaS Exploratory Web Search starts in the Amazon cloud. An army of Drones (Intelligent Web Crawlers) read all results- tens of thousands of documents- from fifteen search engines carefully selected to cast a wide net. Only the best results (Gisted Results) are presented for rapid review and sorting.

Gisted Results include thumbnail snapshots and metrics generated by precisely reading unstructured data from web pages and documents in an automatic, unbiased manner. This assures the user that their search terms will be in the returned pages and documents while rejecting search engine optimization strategies and profit biasing of results by search engines.

Rapid filtering of Gisted Results is achieved by sorting a unique and powerful reporting metric: Closeness Factor. This is an amalgamation of factors that report on how significantly the search terms are related to each other in a specific document.

Discovered Entities, automatically extracted terms of interest, are displayed with concepts and linkages on an interactive Globe, encouraging easy search exploration and refinement by clicking Globe terms. Simply put, GisterPRO both helps to construct the question, and rapidly reveal the best answers.

Discovered Entities are both listed and intelligently grouped (Automatic Disambiguation) on the Globe presenting the best data picture available from the entire text corpus acquired by the search. This projection- the story of the data- often reveals important or actionable intelligence and empowers the user to drill down.

September 2011 marked the official release of the production version of GisterPRO as both Software as a Service (SaaS) and customized for clients with special considerations and requirements, in both the OSINT World and the Enterprise. You can learn more information about GisterPRO by downloading the Product Overview below or visiting the GisterPRO website at www.GisterPRO.com to sign-up for a 14-day trial.

And don’t worry… We haven’t lost our simulation roots. We continue to do three worlds of custom-built simulation training for select clients and licensing of our authoring technology.

My how time flies… We are quickly approaching the end of 2011 which reminds me that it is once again time to reflect back on a prediction that I have mentioned in past blog entries. Way back in 2007 Gartner predicted that “By the end of 2011, 80 percent of active Internet users (and Fortune 500 enterprises) will have a “second life”, but not necessarily in Second Life“, according to Gartner, Inc. Where do we stand now with this?

Multi-user 3D environments once held so much promise, the idea just may have been ahead of its time. Back in December of last year I wrote about the hype cycle provided by Gartner which shows a timeline of 5 to 10 years for mainstream adoption of public virtual worlds. Funny that three years after the fact of Gartner saying virtual worlds would have 80 percent of all active internet users that just last year they said another 5 to 10 years for mainstream adoption. According to a post on Hypergrid Business Virtual worlds gained 214 million new users in the second quarter of 2011“, according to virtual worlds research firm KZero Worldwide. It was the largest quarterly increase since the company began tracking these numbers in 2008.” Second Life has 27 million registered users, so they say. How many of them have actually logged in within the last 3 months is unknown to most.

I believe that since the growth of mobile computing and the sea of apps that 3D virtual worlds might just once again have a chance. So let’s not completely write them off- perhaps Gartner should extend their prediction and also expand it to include some other popular virtual worlds of today rather than yesterday’s world of Second Life. I believe that 3D virtual worlds (with purpose) still have a lot of unreached potential to capitalize on in the future.

Visual Purple has been on Twitter for some time now (@visualpurplesim), however we thought you might want to follow a few more Twitter peeps.

@visualpurplesim
@gisterpro
@meganrutherford
@edheinbockel

twitter

Generation Z, also known as the Digital Generation is defined as people born between the early to mid 1990’s and the early 2000’s. What they bring to the table is a back of the hand knowledge on social networking and other applications as their lifestyles are predominately dominated by technology. From the type of cell phone they use, to the car they drive and everything in between, technology rules! Not to mention the fact that they don’t really know a world without technology. They were born at the dawn of the world wide web and can also be identified as Generation M (or the internet generation). Needless to say they lead a highly connected type of lifestyle (and are accustomed to no-other). Everything has always been at their fingertips from cell phones, to YouTube and the iPod. They are extremely adept at multi-tasking and handling anything that technology may throw their way.

Visual Purple was just recognized as a Top Training and Simulation Company for 2011 by Military Training Technology. This marks the fourth consecutive year that Visual Purple has made the list. MT2 publishes the list each year, with the winners selected by an impartial panel of judges from a highly competitive group of companies. A variety of criteria’s form the basis for selection, including total military sales volume, and overall program effectiveness. The winning companies from around the world are recognized as making a significant impact on the military training industry across the spectrum of technologies and services. We are very honored to once again be named a Top Training and Simulation Company for 2011.

In an article featured in the August 2011 issue of Military Training Technology the magazine asked, “What role(s) will your company best fill as the United States military turns more to the use of serious gaming in an effort to reduce the military’s training costs while maintaining the combat readiness of the warfighter?”

Here is what Ed Heinbockel, President of Visual Purple contributed to the article:

“Today’s warfighters have been raised on video games. They learn differently than past generations. By recognizing and leveraging the learning styles appropriate to current trainees, 3-D animated decision-based virtual world training offers instruction that is relevant and effective—with improvement in both motivation to train and knowledge retention—this type of training is proven to be very, very sticky.

Through the use of 3-D animated decision-based serious game training, a platform is presented to today’s warfighter that is immediately recognizable and significantly more palatable than traditional PowerPoint-type ‘page flip’ training. By offering simulation training aimed at individuals rather than large groups, training can take place anytime and anywhere the trainee has access to a computer, while non-virtual training can accommodate only a limited number of instructors and students at any given time. Refinement of training content is a continuing requirement necessary to ensure that warfighters have the latest and most relevant training possible.

One of the many benefits of Visual Purple’s training products is our proven technologies that allow for rapid updates and changes. Unlike some training programs that are difficult to make changes and/or updates to, Visual Purple simulations can easily be ‘remodeled’ later should the need arise. The number of true subject matter experts (SMEs) is limited. By incorporating SMEs’ expertise into learning content, the impact they provide is expanded to cover the entire training audience. Improvements in hardware capability have allowed for significant improvements in graphics and training technologies. More ‘horsepower’ in smaller packages (smartphones, touchpads, tablets, etc.) allows warfighters to train anytime and anywhere. These mission rehearsal modeling tools are aiding in overall military readiness by streamlining training capabilities. One thing is for sure: it beats the so-called BOGSAT (or Bunch of Guys Sitting Around a Table). Emerging technologies are changing the way today’s military trains-up.”

The Department of Defense has been in the news on a number of occurrences in past months highlighting the use of virtual worlds by the organization. They are utilizing virtual worlds for a host of different applications, one of which deals with post-traumatic stress in our soldiers, see this story for more details. This project is called The T2 Virtual PTSD Experience and is based in Second Life. By being based in Second Life it does allow an extra layer of interactivity as the player/ trainee is able to interact with anyone else that is experiencing the simulation. It just goes to show that the immersive nature of virtual worlds make them a prime candidate for this type of training and much more!

Another article on the defense.gov website published back in May featured Frank DiGiovianni, the director of training readiness and strategy in the office of the deputy assistant secretary of defense for readiness. As quoted by the article, “Five years from now, if Frank C. DiGiovanni has his way, warfighters from every service will learn aspects of their trade on a world in cyberspace.” Furthermore, “For the DOD virtual world experts are working on “a governance model that makes sense” in which everyone in the world can participate, DiGiovanni said, much like the Constitution allows American citizens to participate in their government.

“A governance model allows you to take all the efforts that are going on and synchronize them, integrate them, so you have a comprehensive whole, and not four separate efforts,” he added.
“I don’t want four separate worlds, I want one world … to be able to leverage all that content building that’s being done by everyone out there,” the director said.

The Strategic Plan for the Next Generation of Training for the Department of Defense, which was published in 2010, features leveraging emerging technologies to enhance the overall DoD training capabilities.