Thursday, September 22, 2011

Doing my Time in Introvert Hell for a Noble Cause

I'm an introvert with ADD. My idea of hell is being confined in a room with a bunch of people collaborating in real time on short deadline tasks using technology no one is familiar with. That's a fair description of my last two days at the vPEARL Summit, the most intense conference I've ever attended. In this case, the hell of the environmental stress was offset by being part of what I think will evolve into an important ongoing virtual world initiative.

One of the main factors holding back the 3D web paradigm from taking its rightful place alongside its older 2D sibling is a lack of standards and interoperability. In the 2D world, we can move seamlessly from place to place within the browser of our choice, uploading and downloading multi-media that works everywhere. The 3D virtual world is an archaic system of isolated kingdoms with closed borders.

The virtual world will never reach its potential until it embraces the type of open standards that support the 2D web. That's why the Summit was sponsored by the IEEE, an organization that has been dedicated for over a century to helping build the needed consensus to implement such standards:
The IEEE-SA is a leading consensus building organization that nurtures, develops and advances global technologies. Our standards drive the functionality, capabilities and interoperability of a wide range of products and services that transform the way people live, work and communicate.
Although the path to standards will require traditional processes such as technical working works, this first vPEARL summit was designed to explore the as-is state of the challenge through a mixed reality game, stress testing a half-dozen platforms.

About 70 people at Sony Studios along with a similar number of virtual participants came together to play a game encouraging us to brainstorm around how virtual worlds might be used to help solve critical global challenges. We were split into seven teams competing in a series of five 60-90 minute sprints. Teams rotated between different virtual world platforms while working to capture practices, ideas and strategies to help solve particular challenges. Of course, the aim wasn't to solve any of these problems through the game. The purpose was to provide an intense experience of the challenges ahead. And it was a very intense experience, indeed.

My team's main challenge was that only a couple of members had any virtual world experience. As you can imagine, it's tough figuring out how to change the world using a medium that you've never experienced. But as it turned out, the coolest aspects of our work was the result of the perspective of our virtual virgins.

The Summit concluded with presentations by each team describing what they considered to be their most interesting concept. Of course, my team won! This is the teaser video that opened our presentation. You can see the full live recording of the presentation here, starting at about 11:55.


Anonymous said...

Hey on the bright side there is a hell below yours and that's being locked in a room with none of the above and just internet and welfare, being spectator as the world burns to a cinder.

You might occasionally be hearing some soft sobbing from below. That would be me in the Hell below yours.

Botgirl Questi said...

For sure. A few days of Introvert Hell doesn't compare.

Pegysus said...

It was great to work with you at vPEARL! I think having you in-world made all the difference in team 2's ability to communicate between RL and SL members in the second sprint. Let's stay in touch! - Pegysus (Second Life)