Yesterday was the first day of Virtual Edge Summit 2010. Live in Santa Clara, California, it was a hybrid event with virtual participation. My interest was from an e-learning conference perspective. While this conference covered vitual events in general, there was certainly representation from the education community. As reminded by one speaker, “an event is an event is an event” (Alex Sapiz, George P. Johnson Company), so this information to be gained was to be helpful for different types of vitual events. This summit is presented virtually in a 3D environment where you can attend as an avatar, interact with other virtual participants, and watch the live presentations on screens.

Big names in the industry represented the platform solutions and a wealth of delivery expertise. With an opportunity for everyone to attend at no charge after completion of a short questionnaire (I’m not sure that was even enforced), the bill was obviously paid by the sponsors. Of course they should get their recognition, but it was not a commercialized day. There were great speakers sharing their knowledge and experience, and I enjoyed listening to Byron Reeves of Media X Partners Program, Stanford University, speaking about the use of games such as World of Warcraft (WOW) in training, work, and event areas for engagement and collaborative experiences. As one whom has not got into WOW, it certainly gave me ideas to consider.

One of the takeaways is that virtual events can be very costly, and they require as much planning as others. It was noted by participants that the planning for this summit did not provide much integration of the physical and virtual audiences. In fact, kudos were sent to Paul Salinger of Oracle for his specific recognition of the virtual attendees late in the day.

For future events, plans do need to include a virtual component to such things as the networking with those on site and a virtual component to the end of day wine and cheese, along with integration of the virtual audience during question periods. For some sessions, all that could be seen was a feed from another room.

All in all, the day was a success and worth attending. The price was certainly right. It was interesting to have it pointed out that we are still pioneers in the virtual delivery. True, while I have attended online conferences, this is the first one in 3D that I recall, and it is a big commitment over a 2 day period. This is Day 2, commencing at 8:00 PST, and there is more than enough room for others to attend. On Twitter, the primary hashtag is #ve10.

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