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The Value of Virtual Events

June 24, 2009
at 12:00 pm PST

Recently there has been feedback from some folks that a virtual experience can not compensate for a physical experience. My first reaction was “really I had no idea?”. All sarcasm aside; yes physical and virtual experiences are different. The fact is they both offer different value for the attendees.

TwitThisTo use Cisco Live Virtual as an example…Virtually you will be able to do things you might not have gotten a change to do physically such as:1) Ask questions directly of Cisco SVP Carlos Dominguez and CTO Padmasree Warrior in the live executive chat sessions from 11:45 am -- 12:15 pm PDT. The majority of our physical attendees will not have the opportunity to rub shoulders with our executives and ask them questions directly.2) Participate in live interactive panel discussions on topics not covered at the physical event such as the Virtual University and the Sensor Networks. These events will provide you with the ability to ask questions and join the discussion with industry luminaries such as Dr. Richard A. Bartle who co-wrote the first MUD and Adam Dunkels the author of the uIP (micro-IP) and lwIP TCP/IP protocol stacks and author of the Contiki operating system.3) All of this without traveling!Physically you will be able to do things virtual just does not facilitate as well or as easily such as:1) Access to distinguished engineers via the Meet the Engineer program for exclusive, pre-scheduled one on one meetings. The virtual attendees have access to Cisco and partner experts but not exclusive, pre-scheduled one on one meetings more a first come first serve experience.2) Demonstrations of the Data Center of the Future which showcases an actual Data Center built on site in San Francisco for you to walk through and learn more about. Uh, can not really build out a Data Center in the virtual experience that you can touch, feel, hear, smell (?) and taste (if you are so inclined I suppose you could like a router? Yuck)…i.e. experience with all your senses.3) Chance to see DEVO and the B52’s!It is all about choices in my opinion. The goal for Cisco Live Virtual is to enable folks who can not or do not want to come to San Francisco to still get some of the Cisco Live experience from anywhere. Register now!What do you think differentiates virtual and physical experiences?

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4 Comments.


  1. While I think that the future for virtual worlds holds great potential, I find that there are times when I feel Second Life is trying to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. It also adds a layer of abstraction that can isolates rather than include in cases where one is a neophyte in the environment. Sadly, there is also a lot of
    oise”” in the environment due to the lack of over-all structure. All that stated, I think that as one’s proficiency with the environment increases, they are better able to extract more meaningful experiences. So the question becomes – does the learning curve reward the effort? The best way I can see this occurring is by adopting a 2-prong attack strategy: 1) decrease the learning curve to participate in the environment and 2) Build meaningful content.Is the ability to interact with an Executive something that is exclusive to a VW environment? Could it not be achieved with other technologies that have a lower barrier to participation – like a conference call, web-chat, etc? I applaud the architects of the Virtual Worlds and look forward to the day when there are “”in-world”” resources that deliver more than the ones I have currently been able to find. (navigation and search in VW is a whole other topic). I await the resource in the virtual world that demands the use of a Virtual World to deliver it.”

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  2. Like the young internet, virtual worlds will continue to evolve and deliver better content at an easier access level.I’m finding my personal partition a little … Boring at the moment. However, I joined second life years ago and will continue to visit whenever I can to find content and Interface development.

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  3. I really do agree with Frank,I also think virtual worlds will be hard to implement, for instance not everybody is technology savvy,and after testing out 2nd life,I have come to the conclusion that unless there is a way to also monetize virtual worlds, it will be a long long time before the general population can actually embrace it

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  4. Dannette Veale

    Hi Frank,I agree that 3D virtual worlds would greatly benefit from a decreased learning curb. Regarding the ability to interact with Executives…I think my point may have been missed here? I would not use a 3D intensive world as the exclusive way to interact with executives, we always extend our 3D virtual activities to our virtual web based environemtn primarily because as you said the learning curb for a 3D world can be steep.I think 3D virtual worlds are at a point where the gaming industry won’t be the sole development driver and we will see business/enterprise needs driving the course of development of spaces like Second Life.Regards,Dannette

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