Featured Article from Conferencing

Immersive Conferencing Solutions Affordable for Enterprises

June 14, 2011

While traditional immersive conferencing required users to download special software or interact with complex user interface, the new age conferencing technologies offer virtual meeting platforms that can work right from a Web browser, without the need for any software.

A news report finds that these immersive virtual meeting solutions are available from leading providers like Avaya for around $50 a month.

Immersive virtual meetings fall somewhere in between simple, voice-only conference calls and elaborate video-based telepresence conferences, according to Marc Beattie, managing partner at Wainhouse Research.

Virtual meeting scenarios find the best use in training environments or as alternatives to Web conferences. They create the sense of "being there" and allow more interaction between meeting participants.

“An immersive virtual meeting creates the same sense of ‘being there’ as a telepresence setup, but doesn't require all of the expensive equipment typically associated with telepresence. I see virtual events as replacing in-person events,” Beattie said.

The virtual meetings are more than just a new Avatar in a browser. They are secure, so customers can get their own private virtual space without any unauthorized visitors or unauthorized content. They are free to create their own content as in other virtual world platforms. Avatar choices and clothing options are severely constrained, making them ideal for business meeting scenarios.

Some of the leading virtual meeting technologies include Altadyn's 3DXplorer, VenueGen, Avaya's Web.alive, Assemblive, and ReactionGrid's Jibe.

DXplorer from Altadyn is a Java-based online meeting space where companies can fully customize the virtual environment and hold meetings similar to the ones they would have in Second Life.

VenueGen has the largest selection of pre-built environments of any browser-based immersive meeting platform and has a simple user interface. However, companies can't upload their own content and design their own environments.

Assemblies from the French social Web applications company A World for Us, offers a choice of environments, but customizable environments are under development. It's based on the popular Unity 3D platform, so many users will already have the plug-in installed.

Jibe is based on the Unity 3D platform. The Jibe platform is already fully customizable by companies and in-world objects can be scripted to interact with users.

DXplorer from Altadyn is a Java-based online meeting space where companies can fully customize the virtual environment and hold meetings similar to the ones they would have in Second Life.

Web.alive from Avaya offers a broad range of business-friendly features. Users can put up screens inside the 3D world and share desktops, PowerPoint presentations, Web pages, and other content. Web.alive can be integrated with corporate directories, and can also be run completely behind a company's firewall for maximum security.

Companies can create and upload their own virtual environments, or choose from a selection of pre-built meeting and conference spaces. They can even customize the pre-built environments.

Earlier this year, TMCnet reported that the inventor of Ethernet, Robert M. Metcalfe, enabled remote participants to attend his first lecture as a professor of innovation at the University of Texas at Austin Cockrell School of Engineering utilizing Avaya Web.alive.

Rajani Baburajan is a contributing editor for TMCnet. To read more of Rajani's articles, please visit her columnist page.

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