Qwaq: commercializing OpenCroquet

 Posted by (Visited 8723 times)  Game talk
Mar 152007
 

Some of you may recall that I pointed some towards descriptions of OpenCroquet, when I saw it back at the Metaverse Roadmap Summit. Well, now Qwaq has come out of stealth, commercializing the platform.

It looks like their approach is to use it not for entertainment or even for user creativity, but rather for straight-up business applications. Given the whimsical nature of the Croquet demos I saw, it’s a bit of a letdown to see a corporate office space as the first Qwaq product. But I suppose that it’s a bid to establish OpenCroquet as more of an operating system than a virtual world, which seems to be the emphasis among the project leaders.

Croquet, for those who don’t know, is a peer-to-peer virtual space system that tries very hard to be client-agnostic — each peer acts as a server in the network and also as a client, and each client accept the inputs that it can handle and not other inputs. It fully embraces the fluidity of virtual space (you can have recursive doorways, for example) and also the notion that the line between virtual space and real space is permeable — an increasingly popular point of view these days, what with the talk surrounding mirror worlds, augmented reality, and so on. In Croquet’s case, the way they do this is by allowing any desktop window to become an object in the 3d space instantly, allowing you to share your desktop contents with other users.

It will be worth watching to see if this gets adoption. My gut says that the bulk of the business community is staid and unlikely to jump at a new medium for conferencing and the like. Entertainment is still where the cutting edge of adoption resides. But OpenCroquet has some amazing technology, so we can’t discount it.

  43 Responses to “Qwaq: commercializing OpenCroquet”

  1. (Feedster on: metaverse) 03/16 03:00 That was irksome… A cautionary tale. (Feedster on: metaverse) 03/16 02:46 Re: Second Life: I Just Don’t Get It (Feedster on: metaverse) 03/16 02:36 Qwaq: commercializing OpenCroquet (Feedster on: metaverse) 03/16 02:25 Bantam Dell Brings Dean Koontz to SL 3/15 (3pointD.com) 03/16 01:53 Hot Post – JPK Speculates (Feedster on: metaverse) 03/16 01:41 Get Your 3D Social Media On Monday In Kaneva

  2. The Sunday Song: This Don’t Groove  – Mar 18, 2007  – Raph King Lud IC’s on fire  – Mar 17, 2007  – Raph IGDA San Diego » What Makes A Next-Gen Game?  – Mar 16, 2007  – Raph Qwaq: commercializing OpenCroquet  – Mar 15, 2007  – Raph Understanding Games: Episode 2  – Mar 14, 2007  – Raph

  3. Well, I just finished watching a demonstration for UGS’s TeamCenter Express and the interface is so painfully overwhelming that I can see where Qwaq would have an opportunity. Yes, not as “fun”, but then haven’t we all been talking about the merging of “work” and “play”?

    Watch Qwaq get bought within the year.

  4. The two biggest concerns with such a totally open peer-based world are:

    1. Games are not distributed object systems, they are distributed transaction systems. Either a secure peer protocol needs to be created OR you need to go back to the MMO archetype of centralized servers.

    2. How will anyone protect their IP and be willing to invest in this model? While open source may be nice in theory, businesses, and, in particular tool makers, content creators, and infrastructure providers need a reason to “play” and make money.

  5. They just seriously, ate some peoples lunch….wow.

    Bought in a year? I doubt theyll make it 3 before aquisition, they’re in Palo Alto, thats not far from Mtn View….

  6. Steven:

    I see your points but thats mostly about licensing and infrastructure models…

  7. agreed that it’s cool, but, coming from the hallowed corporate world, people cringe if they have to go through the pain of setting up a webex meeting because that requires slide preparation. while i can appreciate their niche play, (and, it IS niche) i just really don’t see any practical aspects.

    1) everyone knows powerpoint and it’s relatively quick and painless to setup. that being said, 99% of the conference calls i’ve participated in have been “phone only.” the rest are demos of “how to do something.”

    2) business users in general aren’t tech savvy. and, the level of savviness rapidly falls the higher up in the food chain you go. (i currently work for a big, top 20 software company and i see people all the time who don’t know what tabbed browsing is or wonder things like why the “internet” button starts with “e.” i can’t imagine what it’s like in a non-tech company.)

    3) during conference calls, inevitably most of the content is only focused for a few specific callers at a time. the rest of the time, people are on mute and working away at emails.

    4) the crazy amount of preparation required (unless they have some killer import tools) is a serious putoff to the corporate worlds “gtd” methodologies. and, even with killer import tools, the information being shared is invariably going to be 2d information that would be faster, easier and more compatible to share in 2d. i mean, how many people just email docs rather than setup a virtual conference?

    5) anything that is “3d enough” and important enough to merit the work involved in getting everyone setup with clients and whatnot at the same time to look at, would probably be something that would be better served with a “real” meatspace unveiling where you can back-slap and hand-shake.

    6) it’s a very multi-participatory concept in an area where most of its uses would be broadcast only.

    thus, i’m thinking it’s a niche application and not practical for the majority of users. just like 3d is only really for entertainment because it’s just not practical for most uses because there are easier, faster 2d ways to do the same thing.

    m3mnoch.

  8. m3mnoch: Your points all have the premise that using 3D involves a lot of setup. What if the total setup time for getting into a space was entering a URL in a browser? What if displaying powerpoint was as simple as choosing the file in an HTML form?

    The Qwaq pdf datasheet mentions browser integration, but we’ll see what that means in reality.

    If nothing else, watching how Qwaq and Tixeo are received will tell us how many businesses have guild leaders in their midst.

  9. yup. that’s my point.

    right now, using standard web conferencing technologies, that’s all you have to do — import it via a form upload thing or click on a link to attend — and people don’t really like the overhead. there’s all the signing in nonsense like “what’s the password for this conference? wait, you already scheduled that conference id? hold on, bob’s browser needs to be updated. who is the chair? where’s jill at? we need her here.”

    add to it, they have to “steer their character around like in a video game” and you’ve just lost 3/4 of the business folks.

    conferencing all by itself is terribly painful and time consuming and barely productive. we need something that makes it easier, not harder and more complex.

    m3mnoch.

  10. coming from the hallowed corporate world

    I too came from the “hallowed” corporate world (and the military). What you describe, while not unfamiliar, is from my experience a bit exaggerated. In addition, your comment seems to ignore the fact that today’s generation is increasingly comfortable with these new-fangled web things. In five-to-ten years, most of the ones working corporate who didn’t keep up may be out on the street or retired.

    1) I’ve *never* been on a “how to do something” conference call. Seems to me if it’s simple, it should go in a “How To” which people can reference and understand at their own pace. If it’s difficult, then I’d expect classes to be scheduled so that everyone in the organization is fully able to use the tools available to them.

    2) Being “tech savvy” isn’t the issue; the issue is user interface. I’m always amazed that people don’t know how their car’s engine works, or that they’ve never replaced chunks of it by themselves. Yet they still manage to drive the things. People don’t need to know the code. And the apps should be as simple as driving a car; may require a little training, but then most powerful software assumes some level of capability and willingness to learn.

    3) “during conference calls, inevitably most of the content is only focused for a few specific callers at a time” – that’s a management issue, not an application issue.

    4) I’m not sure I understand what you’re getting at. As I understand it, there *is* no import/export. People have access to the application running on the host machine based on the Croquet demo I saw. Beats attaching files to emails and having those forwarded to outside vendors by mistake.

    5) I prefer “real meatspace” meetings myself. Only more and more designers like myself find themselves on 18-hour flights to Asia to accomplish that.

    6) again, that’s a management issue. If people who attend a meeting (virtual or otherwise) don’t contribute to it, then it’s wasted time. That has nothing to do with the application.

    conferencing all by itself is terribly painful and time consuming and barely productive. we need something that makes it easier, not harder and more complex.

    As I’ve not used or even seen a demo of Qwaq, could you describe which part makes it “harder and more complex”? Compared to the PLMware I think it targets, I can’t imagine it being more complex. The TeamCenter UI is a nightmare from what I’ve seen.

  11. Resistance Is Futile…

    Reading reviews like this nice summary at StartupSquad, or looking at the datasheet for Qwaq Forums, one starts to wonder what else one really needs in a computing environment. Working with Qwaq Forums, one gets a sense of what happens when browsers, …

  12. 3D has come to the computing environment for many practical reasons. It won’t be for most people or most applications right away but it does have advantages for business right now and more will come with time. People said similar things about the web, but exponential growth tends to be transforming. The existing 2D world is nicely assimilated into Qwaq forums. Firefox integration with Croquet is pretty smooth. I agree Raph that Croquet will be hard to ignore.

  13. The reasoning for my earlier post in part is related to my prior experiance training people how you use an advanced DSS. One of the biggest cost drivers for any SW post-aquisition is training, this means travel, time, impacts to work, costs in support and execution as well as follow up.

    Things like this, not only mitigate that but allow for multichannel collaborative enviornments. Anyone who has the experiance of commercial graphic design/web interface development where the team is psread out geographically can probably relate.

  14. @Allen

    Similarly, I can imagine designing an object in CAD and collaborating with an engineer in Japan to modify it for however they want to tool the parts. For comparative purposes, I might pull into the Qwaq virtual space some facsimiles of competitive products (e.g. for comparing size; often critical and parts always seem to grow). Iterations of the CAD in progress could be exported on my end and then I could import them back into the space where the other individual (and whoever happened to stop by; marketing manage, project manager, whoever) can see all the units together.

    After we agree to a final design, that same 3D design might then be used for developing the UI which might benefit from this kind interaction (e.g. it might be something which is part touchscreen and part buttons device – like a bank ATM).

  15. It will be worth watching to see if this gets adoption. My gut says that the bulk of the business community is staid and unlikely to jump at a new medium for conferencing and the like.

    Gut, I think you are right.

    I hope they have a business plan B.

  16. Another comment from the “hallowed corporate world” here. To me, conferencing in a 3D environment is a dead-end street for now. It is too literal a translation of virtual worlds to a business environment. It was all tried before at the end of last century by companies like Blaxxun (check Bruce Damer’s excellent history lesson on Terra Nova). My money is on trying to translate the enjoyment and motivation of virtual worlds to a business environment. To achieve that will take a bit more research.

  17. “I too came from the “hallowed” corporate world (and the military). What you describe, while not unfamiliar, is from my experience a bit exaggerated.”

    I’d say that, if anything, it understates the problem. I don’t come from the hallowed corporate world, I come from the hallowed world of business schools where you see a whole bunch of corporate worlds not just the techie end of the spectrum.

    “…that’s a management issue, not an application issue.”

    /boggle

    An application that only works well in well managed companies should go in the encyclopedia as a definition of ‘niche product’.

  18. My money is on trying to translate the enjoyment and motivation of virtual worlds to a business environment.

    The assumption that using Qwaq or a 3D virtual representation in the same manner as a game or like Second Life, or for communicating information that’s now effectively communicated in a spreadsheet is where I suspect we have a disconnect. I’m not now discussing anything more than a method for translating spatial information; information not easily represented in other ways.

    For example, I know plant managers who would love to have a 3D space where they could arrange virtual machines, test production cells arrangements, and invite other team members in to give them a sense of how things will be organized for a new product line launch (especially if the product needs to be molded in a higher capacity machine). Unless you’re someone who *really* gets into fabricating things, there’s nothing especially enjoyable about a real factory. Many button-down types avoid factories. They’re noisy and they’re dirty. Having a 3D space would potentially take what is today for most people a rather boring slideshow and convert it into something which team members are actually engaged, instead of something where they drift off in thought as suggested above.

    On a trip to Mexico, while going through the manufacturing process of an existing product in preparation for a new development project, the marketing VP who, in his almost 20 years, had *never* visited a factory, was amazed at the size of the machines and the complexity involved in what seemed to him to be a “simple”, small handheld product. He’d never seen a factory firsthand. It was all pictures and slideshows and numbers on spreadsheets. The reality… the enormity… struck him and I got a good laugh out of seeing him with his jaw dropping for most of the tour. Had he at least navigated a 3D simulation in first person view, he’d have had a better appreciation for it beforehand. So when someone says, we need to move “the machine” he’s not thinking “Oh, that should only be a day of production lost”, when in fact it requires getting heavy equipment (costly) in and a small army of technicians (costly), and may take a week. That sort of thing isn’t very well communicated with a slide and the plant manager verbal explanation. I’ve heard people, after they’ve been told this, say something like “I wish they wouldn’t drag their feet all the time”. They just don’t know any better. Sitting in Cubeville, they can’t relate since most have never even been in a factory.

    There are some things which are simply not well communicated in 2D. Sure, the numbers are there; the pictures. But spatial information is not easily comprehended by a great many people until they get a sense of it through something that simulates it.

    Now, considering that most factories are in Asia. And most project teams I know are still back in North America or Europe, this solution makes perfect sense. At least to me. When I’m talking “conferencing”, I’m not talking about people sitting in a room talking abstracts like profit margins or retention rates. I’m referring to conferences where something three-dimensional is the topic at hand. Where spatial information must be internalized in order for people to communicate effectively. For product development, for packaging, for point-of-sale merchandising, for production set up, for palletization and inventory and such things, an immersive virtual space… especially when the Things don’t yet exist beyond 3D CAD… is extremely compelling.

    And btw, I’ve done something similar and seen the difference in comprehension. Meetings where hands are waved and meetings where participants sit at my workstation and spin the object themselves are different as night and day.

  19. csven, I see your point when it comes to product design. A 3D space will definitely have an added value there, I agree.

  20. @csven

    while, i totally appreciate a healthy dose of skepticism (even when it’s leveled at my own bizarre ramblings), i gotta say: you’re crazy, my friend.

    when you say things like these:

    “I’ve *never* been on a “how to do something” conference call.”
    “Being “tech savvy” isn’t the issue”
    “that’s a management issue, not an application issue”
    “As I understand it, there *is* no import/export.”
    “Only more and more designers like myself find themselves on 18-hour flights to Asia to accomplish that.”

    i do believe you would be a special, special case. i think you are too close to bleeding edge to really have a good frame of reference.

    that thing i mentioned earlier about the tabs? yeah. that actually happened yesterday. one our our operations people had to upgrade to ie 7 and was baffled why one of my applications wasn’t working now. (ie 7 security thing — she needed to remove the ‘s’ in https in her bookmark she uses every day…) she had 12 ie 7 windows open and almost squealed with delight when i showed her how to use tabs.

    i’m there, man. in the middle of the corporate wasteland — and we’re a top software company. heh. one of our product managers went to work as a mortgage broker. you should HEAR the “fumbling incompetent” stories.

    in the last two weeks, i’ve done (as in chaired) 15-20 placeware demos or conference calls. all of them have been one-way communication. a product “how-to” demo of something i’ve built. knowledge transfer. general status meetings.

    on any give week, i’m in a conference call at least every day. my company has branches spread across the world. i talk to people in emea (mostly in our early morning) and email people in asia/pac.

    i’d be a pretty decent candidate for a virtual conference thing. especially since i’m technically in the marketing department. lots of visual representation of stuff needed there.

    that being said…

    99% of the business meetings i’m involved in are basically status updates. basically a bunch of direct reports breaking wind on what they’re doing to “the team,” most of whom aren’t ever terribly interested. not because they are mean and spiteful people, but because the audience tends to either be cross-functional or cross-product. both of which are inevitable.

    in other words, the guy designing the tradeshow booth doesn’t really care about the details of shipping the tradeshow booth from the guy who doesn’t care about the copy edits on the signage and the product guys don’t give a damn about the tradeshow at all — why do we even have to HAVE customers? — they’re just irritated they have to be on the call at all just because it’s “their product.” but, dammit, the show is next week. and WHO’S MANNING THE BOOTH!?!?

    if you think you have a solution to this kinda thing? you oughta write a book and get rich off of it. because it sho ain’t a fancy “3d” collaboration thing.

    in fact, collaboration is the keyword, i think. raise your hand if you’ve ever been on a “collaborative” conference call or a “collaborative” meeting that would be better in virtual space.

    *insert crickets chirping*

    man, there’s a reason your turn in the morning scrum is 90 seconds long.

    no. it’s niche. just like a u.s. designer (isn’t design the smallest department in manufacturing?) collaborating on cad pieces with a designer in japan is niche. i mean, c’mon. what’s the annual revenue of the plmware industry? i bet our marketing budget is bigger than that.

    m3mnoch.

  21. “They’re noisy and they’re dirty. Having a 3D space would potentially take what is today for most people a rather boring slideshow and convert it into something which team members are actually engaged, instead of something where they drift off in thought as suggested above.”

    um. but that boring slideshow emailed is consumable in 15 seconds — to the suits who actually care about placement enough to even open it. in-out-done.

    typically, no one outside your group really cares about issues like that. especially not as much as you do. and, if folks are in your group, you don’t really need to have a virtual meeting, eh?

    man. sorry for being such a pessimist on all this….

    m3mnoch.

  22. An application that only works well in well managed companies should go in the encyclopedia as a definition of ‘niche product’.

    Huh?

    If people participating in a telephone conference call aren’t paying attention, that doesn’t mean the telephone or the service itself is at fault. If management has a meeting on coding conventions and invites the cleaning staff to sit on the conference call, should we blame the phone system if the janitor falls asleep? I, at least, don’t think so.

  23. um. but that boring slideshow emailed is consumable in 15 seconds — to the suits who actually care about placement enough to even open it. in-out-done.

    I was talking about a real meeting, not an emailed ppt. However, if the person emailing the slideshow expected someone to grok the situation and it was casually dismissed, then something went wrong. Either the person didn’t really need the ppt, or the person made a mistake in dismissing it thoughtlessly (or bewilderingly). My experience is that both of those occur. That’s a problem.

    typically, no one outside your group really cares about issues like that.

    Define “group”. In the groups I’ve worked, they’ve almost always been comprised of people from different disciplines. I’m not talking about groups of marketers or groups of engineers. I’m talking one from each: engineering, finance, marketing, sales, design, packaging, etc. Those are the teams I’ve been on at both corporate gigs and the military one as an overhaul manager with different departments represented – supply, navigation, administration, medical, engineering, deck, quality assurance, SupShip (civil service) and contractors.

    At some point, the disciplines have to converge.

    and, if folks are in your group, you don’t really need to have a virtual meeting, eh?

    You’ve apparently not been on a team where the individual members are located on different continents. I have. And most of my corporate counterparts are increasingly working within geographically dispersed groups.

  24. but that boring slideshow emailed is consumable in 15 seconds — to the suits who actually care about placement enough to even open it. in-out-done.

    And btw, you missed the point. No slideshow – emailed or otherwise – communicates what I was discussing.

  25. “And btw, you missed the point. No slideshow – emailed or otherwise – communicates what I was discussing.”

    neither really does a virtual space.

    m3mnoch.

  26. “neither really does a virtual space.”

    To repeat:

    And btw, I’ve done something similar and seen the difference in comprehension. Meetings where hands are waved and meetings where participants sit at my workstation and spin the object themselves are different as night and day.

    Forgive me if I don’t believe someone when my own experience indicates otherwise.

  27. “Forgive me if I don’t believe someone when my own experience indicates otherwise.”

    no worries. i just wasn’t aware that a guy standing in your cube counted as virtual space.

    m3mnoch.

  28. You guys are SO talking past each other. Allow me to summarize:

    Being able to do distributed 3d visualization is very useful for at least some disciplines in some situations. And not particularly useful in many others. Arguably, there are more of the latter than there are of the former, but that does not diminish the utility for the former.

    We just happen to have one representative of a field where it would be crazy useful, and another from a field where it’s just not. 🙂

  29. totally agree. tho, i thought that was the basis for my whole “niche play” thing?

    m3mnoch.

  30. “Forgive me if I don’t believe someone when my own experience indicates otherwise.”

    no worries. i just wasn’t aware that a guy standing in your cube counted as virtual space.

    I don’t recall saying there was a “guy standing in” my cube. I said:

    Meetings where hands are waved and meetings where participants sit at my workstation and spin the object themselves

    Not the same thing.

    First, note that I used the word “sit” implying that people interacted with the software. Second, note that I didn’t say this was in my cube. For “meetings“, the workstation was moved into meeting areas so that the entire team and any other parties could get a hands on. That facilitated understanding in ways simply showing a screen with me manipulating the 3D object doesn’t always achieve. That was, in fact, the whole point of doing it this way.

    The attempt at being cute is, however, appreciated… even if it failed.

    Being able to do distributed 3d visualization is very useful for at least some disciplines in some situations. And not particularly useful in many others. Arguably, there are more of the latter than there are of the former, but that does not diminish the utility for the former.

    totally agree. tho, i thought that was the basis for my whole “niche play” thing?

    The issue, however, is that while something may be “niche” now, that doesn’t mean it will always be so. Wordprocessing was once niche, now it’s commonplace. Spreadsheets were once for Finance types. Now the same files are a requested download by everyday people using Second Life.

    My initial comment was directed at the niche market and the use for it in those circles. My follow-up comments were made to point out what I considered overly-broad generalizations that effectively discount the possibility of… say… a wordprocessor ever being used by anyone other than secretaries.

    Generalizations, as I perceive the above to be, implying that 3D will essentially *never* be more than niche is where I take issue. If the current PLM ware is the nightmare I believe it is, and Qwak and other 3D applications are easier to use because the interfaces are more intuitive (and as we live in a hybrid 2D/3D world, I consider that likely), then by default we should expect it to move to a broader audience just as computers themselves went from being used only by research scientists to being toys for children. At some point, user ability and software interface will overlap and it will no longer be niche at all.

    This is an example of such an overly-broad comment: “the guy designing the tradeshow booth doesn’t really care about the details of shipping the tradeshow booth“. Maybe some guys don’t care, but from my experience, more and more that designer does care about shipping. If they don’t, they’re not likely to last very long in a world where once-rigid occupational titles are increasingly blurring. I was once a relatively rare engineer/design hybrid. Now I’m not so rare as more and more dual-degreed, multiple-specialty types enter the workforce (increasing with so many older people moving into second careers).

    That comment is, imo, worthless as it ignores the reality all around us. Just as the general sentiment ignores what has come before.

  31. “The attempt at being cute is, however, appreciated… even if it failed.”

    oh, c’mon! that was TOTALLY funny!

    heh.

    tho, anyway, you’re still not on the button there. if we’re going to go all “semantic” on the situation, i can go there. i’m just pedantic enough to.

    yes — it would be exactly the same IF:
    1) you weren’t in the same cube with him when he was using it.

    and

    2) you didn’t physically instruct him how to use your application in order to “spin the object.”

    tho, that didn’t happen. you know why?

    because if he knew how to use the application on your desktop, he’d already have the application and you’d have sent him a 2k cad file he could spin at his own desk thousands of miles away. that, and well, he wouldn’t be nearly as impressed.

    AND, if he didn’t know instinctively that you need to hold down CTRL+ALT+DRAG to spin the thing on the z-axis, you’d have had to tell him — verbally. explain the whole thing. take precious time away from a guy who, since he normally wouldn’t be “visiting” with nothing else to do but play at your workstation, would have about a million other requests and a lot better ways he could think of to use his time other than to “play” with some spinny thing that he’s already having built anyway.

    that would be your thing here:

    Either the person didn’t really need the ppt, or the person made a mistake in dismissing it thoughtlessly (or bewilderingly). My experience is that both of those occur. That’s a problem.

    if he’s at his own desk, he’s not going to want to spend 20 minutes with an end net value of “okay, this thing spins in this virtual world. that’s neat.” when he could spend 30 seconds looking at a schematic.

    and, if you just showed him, what the difference between that and a video? and if he previously had access to the application, he’d not have the necessary reaction to validate your claim.

    as you explain it, it was a totally OPTIONAL encounter that correctly DID add some additional value to something that was already underway, but it was because he had your physical guidance and emotional cues at your desk, not because he was virtual at his.

    in other words, no — not like virtual space at all.

    and your whole word processor/niche thing is silly. you could haul ass on a word processor vs. a typewriter, it had more functionality and digital text is far more portable than dead trees.

    if you find something niche that pushed to replace something mainstream that didn’t upset the time/cost/quality triangle, i’m all ears.

    m3mnoch.

    p.s. and the booth designer doesn’t care about shipping. he’s given dimensions to meet (if that), and once he meets those, he could care less about who’s budget the shipping p.o. comes from (product or marketing) or the delivery date or the freight classification or any of that “unimportant” stuff.

  32. because if he knew how to use the application on your desktop, he’d already have the application and you’d have sent him a 2k cad file he could spin at his own desk thousands of miles away. that, and well, he wouldn’t be nearly as impressed.

    Wrong again.

    What I decided *not* to reveal in that previous post and which you obviously didn’t have the imagination to consider was that after the first few times it was done and people (plural) found it helpful, a dedicated workstation was placed in the meeting area. Starting the application, loading the file, and spinning it (depress CTRL and use the mouse) were all well within the abilities of every member of the team after an initial meeting (not a telephone “how to”). Thus “explain the whole thing” did occur. But hey, everyone has to learn. I spent a week offsite learning the package, but I was learning to *make* geometry. All they had to do was pull it up and spin it so that they could better grasp it in spatial terms. To fully wrap their heads around the 3D physicality of the thing.

    Yet once again you are so certain when you don’t even know the people! That’s pretty arrogant in my book.

    tho, that didn’t happen. you know why?” – Yes. It did. Too bad you weren’t there to see it.

    because if he knew how to use the application on your desktop, he’d already have the application and you’d have sent him a 2k cad file he could spin at his own desk thousands of miles away.” – No, he wouldn’t. That you apparently can’t figure why indicates to me a complete lack of understanding of the corporate situation for the not-so-bleeding edge companies out there. Here’s a hint: workstations and extra licenses for highend CAD cost money.

    if he’s at his own desk, he’s not going to want to spend 20 minutes with an end net value of “okay, this thing spins in this virtual world. that’s neat.” when he could spend 30 seconds looking at a schematic.” – “He’s Not Going To!” Can’t get more definite than that. What arrogance. All I can say is that people WERE doing this. But again, you indicate to me a clear lack of understanding for anything beyond your own experience. Apparently if you haven’t seen it, it’s impossible. Oh-Kay.

    and, if you just showed him, what the difference between that and a video?” – To make this simple, it’s similar to the difference between telling a child something is bad for them and them finding out for themselves. Some things – especially domino-style cause and effect changes to 3D shapes – are often best understood when there is adequate understanding of something in an interactively-spatial sense. A video doesn’t provide that for many people (and besides, it’d be more difficult to create and send a video than simply provide the path to the the file and say “Changing X impacts Y and Z; look at the CAD.”).

    as you explain it, it was a totally OPTIONAL encounter that correctly DID add some additional value to something that was already underway, but it was because he had your physical guidance and emotional cues at your desk, not because he was virtual at his.

    Wrong. As I explained it I left it open for the additional information provided above (I would have thought, being as smart as you are, that you would have realized that moving a workstation from cubicle to meeting space would get to be a pain and that if, as I’d previously indicated, it proved useful, a dedicated station would be provided.). You filled in the biased point of view all on your own here. I anticipated that you would and thought I’d wait to see if I was right. Thank you.

    and your whole word processor/niche thing is silly. you could haul ass on a word processor vs. a typewriter, it had more functionality and digital text is far more portable than dead trees.

    Silly because you obviously don’t understand the point. Let me instead ask if, in the 70’s you ever heard people claiming personal computers were a great idea. I don’t remember people saying PC’s would be useful for everyday people. Quite the opposite; people laughed. Yet look at the industry today.

    if you find something niche that pushed to replace something mainstream that didn’t upset the time/cost/quality triangle, i’m all ears.

    Why would I? My point is that the niche we’re discussing will do these things! You’re the one apparently denying it will ever happen by making definitive statements about what people ARE or ARE NOT going to do. I don’t do that; I leave myself open to the possibilities that people are going to surprise me. It’s my version of Gibson’s “the street finds its own use for things” observation.

    p.s. and the booth designer doesn’t care about shipping. he’s given dimensions to meet (if that), and once he meets those, he could care less about who’s budget the shipping p.o. comes from (product or marketing) or the delivery date or the freight classification or any of that “unimportant” stuff.

    Again, you seem to be talking for ALL booth designers. Arrogant.

    SOME exhibit designers DO care. I know designers who care. That’s because SUPERIOR designers keep in mind ALL the constraints. AVERAGE designers don’t care about anything but their own little world as if what they do doesn’t impact the overall. Spend some time surfing through design websites and blogs. What’s the latest buzz? Designers learning business. Now WHY would designers give a damn about business issues? Simple: survival. Competition is getting tougher, not easier. That’s the same reason last year the business world was abuzz about taking master’s level design classes and innovation seminars: to learn about something outside Business to help them compete.

  33. sorry, man. i think i touched a nerve or something. you and i are soooo off topic and out in left field now, it’s not even funny so i’m just gonna call out — kinda. (gonna end with a quick sum-up of my opinion, i think)

    your desk, a workstation in your office, a workstation in their department back home, a converted point-of-sale system down at starbucks — doesn’t matter. the point is that you and other physical people had a successful encounter in-person. you were interacting with them physically. you physically showed them how they could spin the object to see it spatially. they followed suit, it carried over “domino-style” (yet, still with physical transference each time) and It Was Good™.

    if you were not physically there at first, the emotional context (passion, excitement, the sheer coolness, relationship building, whatever) that you added to the encounter would not have been as strong had you (or those passing the word after you) not been in the same room.

    i feel like, without that physicality, it needs to get hit with the “productivity” hammer. meaning, a format to assimilate as much information as possible in as small an amount of time as possible. “glance, scan, NEXT!”

    trust me. not trying to idly dismiss any cool thing that you guys accomplished using 3d in a business environment.

    m3mnoch.

  34. “That’s the same reason last year the business world was abuzz about taking master’s level design classes and innovation seminars: to learn about something outside Business to help them compete.”

    You really do believe there’s ONE business world don’t you? Well I’m nothing if not an empiricist. We’ll see if a peer-to-peer virtual space application is a killer app I guess. Want to make a friendly wager on what kind of market penetration it gets in the next 2 years? A copy of A Theory of Fun for the stakes?

  35. you physically showed them how they could spin the object to see it spatially. they followed suit, it carried over “domino-style” (yet, still with physical transference each time) and It Was Good™.

    Not “the object”. An object. I’m not talking about one occasion.

    There were times on some projects when there was no meeting to discuss the CAD for a project; only my suggesting they pull up the file when they had a chance. And they did.

    if you were not physically there at first, the emotional context (passion, excitement, the sheer coolness, relationship building, whatever) that you added to the encounter would not have been as strong had you (or those passing the word after you) not been in the same room.

    Again, you seem to think I’m talking about one project. I’m not. So this metaphysical-physical connection or whatever it is your trying to claim here, falls kinda flat.

    i feel like, without that physicality, it needs to get hit with the “productivity” hammer. meaning, a format to assimilate as much information as possible in as small an amount of time as possible. “glance, scan, NEXT!”

    We call those “hard models”. Only they can range in cost from a few days time for an inhouse shop making a simple CNC-cut polyurethane foam to $10,000 for someone outside doing one that meets the needs of Marketing when they go on sales calls (words, pics, video aren’t enough). Companies will spend lots of money for hard models they can show to a retail buyer. The stand fan model in my portfolio is just such a model and cost over $10k to have fabricated.

    trust me. not trying to idly dismiss any cool thing that you guys accomplished using 3d in a business environment.

    And I’m not saying with certainty that I’m right. I’m saying I see a pattern in how technology migrates downward and there’s no reason to believe this won’t either. I’m saying that you can’t be certain of your position; especially based on what you’re claiming as justification from your experiences and what I’ve observed from my own.

  36. You really do believe there’s ONE business world don’t you? Well I’m nothing if not an empiricist. We’ll see if a peer-to-peer virtual space application is a killer app I guess. Want to make a friendly wager on what kind of market penetration it gets in the next 2 years? A copy of A Theory of Fun for the stakes?

    Not sure I understand what you mean by “ONE business world”. I believe that everything is somehow connected. And that’s why I’m not surprised when companies that manufacture consumer products take an interest in software companies like Google because they perceive them as innovators.

    That said, I’d be happy to place a wager. Only I’d prefer the loser donate to the charity of the winner’s choice (say $100). Only I expect we’ll probably need to move it out beyond two years to get a separation in our expectations as I don’t expect any appreciable market penetration in two years. I think we’re looking at almost seven to ten years before a dent is made. Just as some manufacturers resist change in production methods bc they have investments in old machinery; so too do some large software players have their own reasons for slowing things down. It’s going to take some time.

  37. While the supply (tech needed) and demand (the desire for the tech) is not there yet for 3D collaborative spaces as an essential business tools, I do see that one day, perhaps in 5-10 ten years, it could be.

    For example, I give great powerpoint presentation in person; however, the physical presence and complementary physical actions does not translate well in a virtual presentation over slow corporate internet and not so clear international phone connections.

    So, in the case of web presentation software we can say that the demand is there but the technology is not meeting the need. It may take 5 more years of development before web presentation tech like Placeware or WebEx become as smooth and useful as Outlook or instant messenger.

    Now, I do see a day where a 3D collaborative environment could be an essential business tool, but the tech is just not there yet.

    Frank

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