Conferences are an effective way to share knowledge and engage with peers and like-minded people.
Unfortunately they may also require a hefty admission fee, significant travel costs and time spent away from home and the office. Having twigged to this rather hairy problem, conference organisers have experimented with live-streaming and other ways to distribute the knowledge shared at these events, however these mediums lack the immediacy and human presence necessary to engage audiences.
This all changed when iSee dropped in on a technology conference via the Cloud ….
iSee surprised and delighted audiences at the 2014 DiG (Design + Interactive + Green Tech) Festival when presenter Dr Gary Ellem pulled off an audacious world-first. While live on stage, Dr Ellem joined with the employees of iSee in a virtual 3D conference room using only a laptop, webcam and the standard building WiFi.
By positioning himself in front of his laptop webcam, Dr Ellem was able to seamlessly complete his presentation as both a mevatar in iSee and physical presenter to the audience.
Dr Ellem’s presentation was projected onto a wall in the 3D environment, just as in a real-world setting. By projecting his view of iSee onto the physical conference screen, the audience were able to follow.
At one point Dr Ellem presented four questions to the collective (virtual and physical) audience. The physical conference broke into two large groups while the virtual delegates mimicked their behaviour, splitting into two groups, gathering around separate tables to workshop their question and then reporting back to the main auditorium.
The technology worked flawlessly throughout the 20 minute presentation - a move that surprised conference organisers who had warned against taking such a ‘risk’ with the sluggish WiFi connection.
The technology defies geographical bounds and levels the playing field. It removes barriers to participation for those affected by:
- Geographical distances
- Travel costs
- Family responsibilities (eg new mothers, single parents or primary carers)
- Time pressure (eg CEO’s, Directors etc)
The platform also offers one compelling opportunity that a physical conference alone lacks – the ability to nurture the connections made at the conference into the future. The iSee environment can continue to operate, promoting ongoing collaboration, knowledge sharing and mentoring well after the conference auditorium has closed its doors.
“There was a collective expression of disbelief in the audience. I think it was a combination of what they were seeing in iSee and the fact that it was being achieved on the same sluggish WiFi connection they were all using.”
- Dr Gary Ellem, Tom Farell Institute, University of Newcastle
During Dr Ellem’s presentation at the DIG Conference #DiGFestival trended at #2 on Twitter. Visit our media blog on Storify to see what the audience were saying on Twitter.