Benefits of commuting to your 3D Virtual Office?

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This topic contains 30 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  Henry Brown 7 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #159773

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    Pat’s recent blog post, “Is Video the Core of Telework?”, got me thinking about other technologies that could be used to improve the teleworking experience (productivity, engagement, trust, etc.). Back when I was a consultant at IBM, one of the CTO’s there had a completely virtual team. Since his team didn’t have a physical location to meet and interact (by nature of being virtual), the manager created a 3D Virtual Office in Second Life, similar to what is described in this article by CNN. (Every member on the team had their own 3D custom avatar.)

    For you teleworkers out there, what do you think of the idea of a 3D Virtual Office to facilitate remote collaboration? What would the benefits be? And, most importantly, for you guys, would you go with pleated or flat-front on your 3D avatar’s trousers?

  • #159834

    Henry Brown
    Participant

    pluses:

    could be less time spent on worrying about how everyone appears.

    multi-tasking would/could be the accepted norm

    managers “might” have more control

    minus

    more skills could be required to be dedicated to “managing” the “avatar”.

    multi-tasking would/could be the accepted norm

    managers “might” have more control

    hardware costs could be an issue

  • #159832

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    Good analysis on the pluses and minuses. They whole managerial control issue stems from poor performance management. Any manager who needs to institute virtual controls to monitor how his/her employee spends time is a poor manager. Manage the results.

  • #159830

    Corey McCarren
    Participant

    I dunno, seems a little strange to me. I would worry that it would make some people uncomfortable by making them use a platform and communicate in a way that they aren’t used to. On the other hand, I wonder if people being allowed to use an avatar would encourage them to be more innovative? By this I mean people may be more willing to share strange ideas if they feel like it’s really their avatar sharing the idea.

  • #159828

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    There’s no doubt it would definitely take some getting used to. There are a lot of ways 3D worlds are being used in government right now, esp. in the DoD.

  • #159826

    Corey McCarren
    Participant

    Well hey, if they like it, and it saves taxpayer money, the more power to them.

  • #159824

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    I think the predominant use cases are around simulations, virtual conferences, and there are now some applications being used to treat wounded warriors (virtual reality therapy). I haven’t heard of any government agency using it for alternative offices.

  • #159822

    Corey McCarren
    Participant

    Oh I know it hasn’t been used as a full-time virtual office yet, now that would be something else! I do wonder about the overarching effects of things like this on society. It makes me think of one of my all-time favorite reports on the Onion, “90% of Waking Hours Spent Staring at Glowing Rectangles”. I couldn’t imagine any real benefit of a literal virtual office used daily for teleworkers, I think that would be stepping over the boundary of “innovative” and into the silly category.

  • #159820

    Confluence of brain power! Pam Broviak explores a couple related ideas in these posts from the last couple days:

  • #159818

    It’s an interesting concept certainly as it more closely approximates the feeling of being in a physical space together. Rather than just chatting someone, you could interact with their avatar in a more “embodied” manner, but…

    In some ways, I think I’d rather just have a video a la Chris Pirillo on me and others so that we can talk face to face and see one another’s expressions.

  • #159816

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    That was my initial reaction when I first saw this a few years ago. I mean, we have a decade’s worth of media mockery of virtual reality. The business applications don’t seem to be going away, however.

  • #159814

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    That is quite a coincidence!

  • #159812

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    That guy just sit there all day with a camera on him?

  • #159810

    Yes, I believe so!

  • #159808

    Corey McCarren
    Participant

    Another benefit of video is that you don’t have to focus on interacting with the environment via your avatar as in a virtual conference setting. Just focus on achieving the goals.

  • #159806

    Adam Arthur
    Participant
  • #159804

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    That is awesome, Adam. I can’t wait to hear the results of this.

  • #159802

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    I have been developing this exact use case for CDC for the last year!

    In addition to the government’s first hybrid event, (that was developed, designed and produced by FTE’s), the Public Health Informatics 2011 Virtual Conference, the Virtual Offices Initiative (VCO) is in beta test at CDC as we speak. I will be presenting the final result to GovLoop and will be doing a major press release eventually! In these environments, you navigate the experience with a social profile – not an avatar. So, getting to your content (audio, video, learning classes, office software, webinars, etc.), is easy, quick and fun! Please check out a few screen shots and graphical mock-ups below:

  • #159800

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Thanks, Chris. I hope to involve the Telework Exchange and other government agencies in sharing the technology. It is kind of a cool concept: 1) When the office belongs to you – you login behind the desk, having access to your remote computer desktop, virtual fax, VOIP and webinar services (logging you in as the presenter…starting a meeting); 2) When a person visits another office – they are logged-in to see the front of a person’s office desk, having the ability to ask to send a chat or video chat request, send that person an email, join their meeting, share a document, etc.). Real-time document editing and other office tools are currently being added.

  • #159798

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    The measurements for productivity, collaboration and engagement are AMAZING! This will go waaaay beyond analytics! 🙂

  • #159796

    Susan
    Participant

    There is a fine line between innovative and strange ideas, but this approach could potentially generate more ideas under the guise of an avatar…not necessarily good ideas, but they could be discussed/sorted later. As far a teleworking tool potential, there doesn’t seem to be added value.

  • #159794

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    Here are a few shots of the interface live in action.

    When you click on the video chat functionality, your camera instantly come on:

    When you are in a learning environment, you can stream it live or on-demand with learning tools, chat and animations:

  • #159792

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    I think the “strangeness” perception is thanks to over a decade of media mockery.

  • #159790

    Adam Arthur
    Participant

    A few other shots in a virtual event/conference environment:

  • #159788

    Susan
    Participant

    I agree. Most would prefer to see the “real” face to read expressions, cues, and other nuances during meetings rather than a representation of a person – Avatar. This can be accomplished via web cam video tools. The web cam would only be on during specific meetings as necessary. Not on all day. 🙂 If it’s an employee management issue, then I agree with Chris regarding managing the results, not the person.

  • #159786

    Susan
    Participant

    The virtual aspects and potential are quite interesting without the Avatar. 🙂 There may be viable applications via the Telework Exchange.

  • #159784

    Pam Broviak
    Participant

    I’ve spent quite a bit of time in a virtual setting with an avatar. Although a lot of that time has been exploring what people have created and creating spaces myself, I’ve also spent considerable time meeting with others in government in those settings. A group of us also worked together to host a conference in a virtual setting.

    In the course of my career, I’ve had the opportunity to telework, attend the virtual conferences w/o avatars, and participate in video conferencing (along with other conferencing methods). Putting it all together, I find the virtual setting with avatars is by far the most immersive. When I interact with someone through an avatar I end up with a closer connection to them – I feel more like I have truly met them and know them. Perhaps it is because even though the avatar is not physically them, it still takes on their identity. It also seems to be exactly what Andrew said, you are sharing a space together. And the other key is you can do things together there and share actual experiences. For me hanging out with someone in a place like Second Life and doing something together has produced the same experience, memories, and feelings as going on a hike or to an event with someone offline. There have now been studies done on this, and they show your brain does process these virtual experiences as if they are the same as offline experiences.

    For me, video conferencing seems sterile in that no one really seems truly connected during that time. It’s more like flashing a photo of yourself during a phone conversation except that it moves.

    As for non-av conferences, I am happy to see conferences becoming virtual since it allows me to attend. But I never feel connected to others who are also attending those. It’s like they aren’t really there. So for me those are more like attending a webinar than a true conference with people.

    But it does seem like everyone has a different comfort level with all of these. And it obviously doesn’t fit all jobs. Until we can perform road work and tree removal or fix a water or sewer pipe by sitting behind a computer, many jobs in my field will continue to involve sending a person to the site.

    (and thanks Andrew for mentioning my posts!)

  • #159782

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    Adam, you’re seriously getting me all excited about the applications. I’m envious that you’re at the forefront of all this. Keep charging!

  • #159780

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    Absolutely agree.

  • #159778

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    That’s awesome. All those boring training videos that I had to watch. I’d be much more engaged if my avatar were watching!

  • #159776

    Chris Cairns
    Participant

    Pam, really appreciate your insight. I strongly recommend that you turn this into a blog post. There aren’t too many folks like you with this kind of hands-on experience.

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