Friday, November 28, 2008

Second Life for Virtual Conferences

Continuing the theme I blogged about recently (see Second Life for Science and Scholarship), here is an example of a virtual conference that will be held in Second Life:

Virtual Conference on Climate Change and CO2 Storage

The organisers of this particular conference have an interest in getting the conference delegates to the "venue" with the minimum of travelling, so organising a virtual conference is the obvious choice.

The trend towards having virtual conferences is in its early stages, but there will be a lot more of this sort of thing in the future. There are many conferences that you would like to attend in person, but which would involve a lot of travelling/expense/fatigue/etc so you don't bother going. I can think of many annual conferences that fall into this category for me, but then I hate travelling. Perhaps there could be some sort of hybrid real/virtual conference to allow such people to attend conferences that would otherwise be difficult to attend. Of course, a purely virtual conference would be much easier to organise, and would present a very low barrier to attendance.

Currently, the main inhibiting factors working against the adoption of virtual conferences are unfamiliarity with the possibilities offered by the virtual medium, low quality of virtual reality compared to real reality, lack of communication cues that are only available in interactions between real humans, and so on. I would have thought that all of these inhibitors would reduce with time, so virtual conferencing will inevitably take off sooner or later.

The so-called "conference call", where multiple participants connect their telephones to have a multiway conversation (if it works at all!), will seem positively archaic in comparison with virtual reality.


Caroline said...

Climate change is already happening and represents one of the greatest environmental, social and economic threats facing the planet. The European Union is committed to working constructively for a global agreement to control climate change, and is leading the way by taking ambitious action of its own. The warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising global mean sea level. The Earth's average surface temperature has risen by 0.76° C since 1850. Most of the warming that has occurred over the last 50 years is very likely to have been caused by human activities. . I am a college sophomore with a dual major in Physics and Mathematics @ University of California, Santa Barbara. By the way, i came across these excellent physics flash cards. Its also a great initiative by the FunnelBrain team. Amazing!!

Clive said...

They have been saying that virtual conferences etc will take off for a number of years but the technology just has not been 'quick' enough overall.

However that is changing rapidaly and I suspect that indeed this area will have growth.

I do not however think it will replace the normal conferences as I believe the more he internet takes hold then live conferences offer something even more different and personal to the daily online grind.

I am definatly keepng my eye on developments and how/when/if to integrate these services for our own clients over time.

Blake said...

After two years, virtual communication has improved a lot. Now having virtual conferences are widely accepted in offices like the Office Space in Reston, VA and Tysons, VA Office Space. Investors have seen its practicality instead of traveling to the different parts of the world for a meeting. It has indeed changed the view of communication and business transaction.