Last week, VenueGen announced the newest release of its 3D virtual meeting and training collaboration platform. This represents a major development as the product imitates the experience of using an expensive TelePresence room, but is delivered as a browser-based web conferencing application.
Marc Beattie, Managing Director of Wainhouse Research, says, “Using VenueGen’s 3D meeting platform is like stepping into the new world of online meetings. It’s difficult to overstate what VenueGen has accomplished here. By combining the impact of web conferencing, TelePresence, and a high-fidelity audio conference, VenueGen has developed the next standard for online meetings, events, and trainings.”
The software allows associates to collaborate with individuals from different locations in a virtual conference environment (if unfamiliar with VenueGen, think Second Life, except in conference rooms). People create avatars by photo upload and a selection of clothing. Once set up in a meeting, each attendee can interact with the environment, share content on virtual displays, converse specifically with other people, and even make nonverbal gestures or expressions. The advantage over 2D conferencing is that there is an unlimited amount of virtual 3D space for content, and features like surround sound and avatar expressions make it easier to distinguish who’s talking to whom. (A disadvantage is that you all look pixelated and just a little silly.)
Along with the developments in screen sharing, VenueGen added an alternative architecture for collaboration that bypasses the bandwidth limitations of screen sharing by distributing content to the virtual attendees so that the content runs locally but is controlled centrally.
VenueGen CEO David Gardner hails his product as a more powerful, engaging conferencing tool than any other solution.
“My team confirmed that they do feel a sense of presence when they are looking at documents together in the 3D setting,” agrees Caroline Avery, Vice President at ACS. “This immersive feeling is stronger than when they only review documents via WebEx… and this immersion does contribute to a more productive working environment.”
It remains to be seen whether VenueGen can really popularize this alternative to traditional web conferencing.
Subscription prices begin at $90 per month.
[Photo courtesy of audability.]