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Monday, April 19, 2010

Industry Happenings in 3D

A number of exciting things are happening in 3D space...

Caspian Learning just released a new version of its Thinking Worlds 3D software. This is version 3.3. According to the press release:

The new additions to Thinking Worlds 3.3 include the ability to integrate files created in Adobe’s Flash effortlessly into 3d environments and publish them directly to the internet. This will enable faster development and subsequently lowers the development costs of immersive simulations for designers.

The latest additions make the creation of immersive 3d learning and performance simulations even more cost effective than previous versions of the software.

Lee Rushworth, Marketing Executive for Caspian Learning, described the new release as “another round of exciting benefits that give instructional designers even more rapid authoring capability at their disposal”.

He added: “It’s our hope that with each new release, we make it easier for content developers to create simulations more efficiently and more cost effectively and that is exactly what we believe Thinking Worlds 3.3 has achieved.”

ProtonMedia's ProtoSphere has been named to Gartner's Cool Vendor List. Here is what Gartner says:

Analysis by Carol Rozwell and Steve Prentice

Why Cool: ProtonMedia's product, ProtoSphere, is a secure, private virtual environment for collaboration and learning. It provides tools that allow teams to collaborate while they are interacting in a virtual environment, such as document and application sharing, audio conferencing, text chat, presence awareness and team workspaces. It is used to create an inviting environment where individuals' avatars can engage with each other when being physically located in the same place is impractical or cost prohibitive. ProtoSphere integrates with Microsoft SharePoint to produce a live, "humanized," avatar-driven portal experience around self-service enterprise resource planning transactions.

In certain situations, a virtual environment provides advantages over real-world encounters. When used for collaborative activities and meetings, it eliminates the need to travel, which encourages environmental responsibility. A virtual environment also offers a persistent setting that can be revisited as needed. When used for training, it allows learners to participate in simulated scenarios — such as an industrial accident — that would not make sense to do in practice, so that emergency personnel can explore how to respond most effectively.

Challenges: The use of virtual environments for conducting enterprise business is still a nascent market. To survive, ProtonMedia must remain focused and continue to make smart product development decisions, while keeping its cash burn low. It must also forge alliances with major software vendors that will integrate it into a virtually-enabled collaboration platform. It must also convince skeptical business leaders that virtual environments are useful for more than playing games.

Who Should Care: ProtoSphere should be of interest to any company interested in bolstering its online collaboration capabilities for employees, business partners and customers. Likely targets include HR, customer service and sales, scientific research and development. ProtonMedia has established a strong following in life sciences and energy companies, as well as with firms that have significant needs for enterprise security and intellectual property protection.

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