All posts tagged forterra

With the virtual world phenomena of recent years and the oh so many virtual world platforms on the market today, what’s the right choice for an organization? License technology and build? Buy a generic off-the-shelf product? Or, pay for a customized solution? Well there is no clear cut right answer here; it is all dependent upon the individual situation. Here are a few things to keep in mind…

1) You know the old saying – “Build it and they will come.” Well first off if you go the route of purchasing technology to build an in-house vw solution, you are buying the technology but not necessarily all of the components to build a full vw simulation. When Visual Purple licenses technology our philosophy is not to hand over the reins and say “here’s the technology, have fun learning how to use it.” Rather we provide training to all core team members on how to use our technology and offer the full gamut of tech support throughout the entire build and implementation processes.

2) Purchasing a generic platform. Let’s buy a license to Second Life and build the training. Well that sounds all fine and dandy but you still have to come up with the assets to place in your plain vanilla world and have a means to control those assets unless you are prepared to have ALL training proctored or “fat fingered” by real people: that costs real dollars every time someone needs to be trained. Not to mention what’s the purpose of the vw? With both of the above listed options there is no clear cut path on building the training material and implementing it. Moreover, there does not yet exist commercially available authoring tools to create true simulations in SL. Although a certain level of customization is available is it all worth the time and manpower and persistent costs to keep trainers in the loop?

3) Onto the customized virtual world solution route. You supply the Subject Matter Experts and content you want the vw sim created around, a timeline is defined and the work gets done. You end up with a real vw sim that costs less to build than traditional e-learning or CBT and saves you money from day one over any other solution. Collaborative, asynchronous or both…hmmm, why wouldn’t you go this route?!

So there you have it, three pragmatic options when considering virtual world platforms and real world approaches to training. Keep in mind this is just a brief overview without getting into all of the nuts and bolts.

Ed Heinbockel has confirmed to be on an industry panel at the upcoming Engage! Expo entitled “Vendor View: Collaborating to Cross the Chasm.” Join Ed on Thursday, September 24th from 4 to 5 pm.

What’s the session all about?
Thinkbalm has identified a number of barriers that need to be overcome to enable increased adoption of immersive technologies in the workplace. You can view and download the PDF of the ThinkBalm’s analyst report: Crossing the Chasm, One Implementation at a Time here.

Tony O’Driscoll will moderate a panel discussion with CEOs from the vendor community to understand what are planning to do from a technology roadmap perspective to address these issues so that we can collectively drive increased adoption and get across the chasm.

Tony O’Driscoll, Professor of the Practice, Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business (moderator)
Chris Badger, VP of Marketing, Forterra Systems
Ron J. Burns, CEO, ProtonMedia
Ed Heinbockel, President & CEO, Visual Purple, LLC.
Howard Mall, VP of Engineering, ECS, Inc.

By Ed Heinbockel, President and CEO (Head Heretic), Visual Purple, LLC

I’m witnessing some interesting virtual world developments of late. Not a scientific study to be sure, but a real, on-the-ground reality check. Quite simply: The emperor has no clothes.

Real companies and organizations with real training budgets are making real evals of real VW solutions. What they’re learning is an anathema for many in the VW community.

So here is the deal… Collaboration, since the beginning the holy grail of virtual worlds, is taking a backseat to the realities of building real world training for today’s digital workforce.

It’s not lost on those who have built VW applications as to probably why the collaboration drum has been beat so loud, for so long. Think about it: what else can you do in a virtual world unless you have the technology to embed logics to faithfully drive story, objects, behaviors, experiences, etc???? Well, about all you could do is co-op your friends or colleagues to join in and have a social, I mean, collaborative experience. I know, this is heresy. But then again, I’ve always been a bit of a heretic.

Collaboration has its place to be sure, great examples are what you can accomplish in Qwaq, Forterra and some SL apps by Rivers Run Red. But when it comes to real, high fidelity VW training invoked in a browser being dished up from a remote LMS with demonstrable results, what I’m hearing today is “…collaboration with a fence around it would be fine down the road. But right now, budgets are tight and we like virtual worlds because they cost-effectively deliver a compelling training experience that plays to today’s gamer savvy workforce. And realistically, all my people are very busy, dispersed and scheduling them all to be in world at one time is nearly impossible.” Dovetailing with this is a pervasive non-tech company corporate fear that the training will largely become a social experience. Message received. Get good asynchronous training in the hands of people now and prove the efficacy of VWs for training and learning. THEN walk the collaborative path…baby steps, collaborative baby steps… oh, and don’t forget your emperor’s, er, avatar’s clothes!