Featured Article from Conferencing

Instead of Being on the Call, Get in the Call with ProtonMedia

April 01, 2014

Imagine being able to communicate with coworkers, collaborate on documents, share presentations and engage with prospects all while sitting at your desk. OK, that doesn’t sound all too crazy – we have email, messaging services and social networking to do all of those things. But what if I told you it can all be done in a virtual environment where everyone can see and engage with each other just like they were in person, from any location?

Virtual environments are not new, but they are definitely growing. Virtual events, for example, have started to integrate with traditional conferences, tradeshows and networking opportunities. They reduce costs, allow attendees to target messaging and communications and offer real-time access to content. Eighty-seven percent of marketers predict by 2016 events will be half virtual and half face-to-face, which can be a great thing for those face-to-face events – 82 percent of online attendees think virtual events are helpful in decisions to attending events in person.

But virtual environments go beyond events. There are also solutions and applications out there for enterprise communication and collaboration, and that’s what ProtonMedia provides. Its ProtoSphere solution is a 3D virtual workspace designed for enterprises and employees to efficiently collaborate, learn and be productive. It integrates Microsoft Lync and SharePoint to maximize the efficiency and features.

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I caught up with Ron Burns, CEO of ProtonMedia, at Enterprise Connect this year and had a great discussion about the possibilities in the enterprise with 3D virtual workspaces and what this means for the next generation of communications and collaboration. At the event, ProtonMedia focused on sharing how a 3D virtual environment can have a positive impact on collaboration and learning needs.

“If content is king, context is the kingdom,” he said. The company builds persistent spaces that are always on and available in real-time, enabling the most effective productivity and collaboration. Its primary market is learning and collaboration, and works with companies like Merck, Boeing and BP to help them improve day-to-day meetings, training and educational programs and exhibitions of new technologies.

With ProtoSphere, employees, coworkers and customers can engage in a completely immersive experience, complete with customizable avatars and human-like functions (click to wave or walk). Burns explains why virtual workspaces like ProtoSphere can be used across multiple industries – no matter what type of company you work for, almost all managers deal with the same challenges of budget constraints, travel restrictions, compliance concerns and barriers to interactive, real-time collaboration.

Some may argue that people can do all of this just fine with video calling. However, with a larger gathering, with say, 40 people on a video call, “it becomes the Brady Bunch effect on steroids,” Burns says.

Virtual workspaces also help with information retention – in a 3D environment versus a 2D environment, users have a 28 percent higher retention rate, Burns says. The value of 3D becomes apparently when the visual element is required to represent data. He also explains that having an avatar does more than just visualize an online presence; it creates an external sense of self, so users can watch themselves interact with people and see a different perspective, which can help with how they get points across and share information.

ProtonMedia is also the first 3D client to be available on the iPad, delivering SharePoint and Lync on the server side but on an OS device. This is significant for all of the BYOD enterprise users today. ProtoSphere does a lot of what Smart is doing in that users can easily drag and drop content, presentations, documents and more. It’s extremely user-friendly, Burns says.  

The virtual workspaces are also a part of the UC escalation process. Users can initiate a conversation via text, transfer to a chat and build a room and join there in less than 5 minutes. Once it’s created, the rooms can be populates with content and shared, and become a repository of that conversation interaction.

One example of using ProtoSphere is for project management – a virtual workspace for Project X can be accessed by certain employees or users and can contain vital documents for that project, such as a budget, website, marketing plan and more. Users can annotate any of that content and the virtual workspace will always be available with the latest updates.

Learn more about ProtonMedia at www.protonmedia.com