Friday, February 25, 2011

Avatars in the Boardroom - A Presentation at Tuck School of Business

I recently had the pleasure of speaking to students and faculty at the Center for Digital Strategies at Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College.

My lecture was titled Avatars in the Boardroom: A Virtual Revolution in Workplace Collaboration, and my slides are all online. The focus of my presentation was on the unique affordances of virtual worlds as they relate to business goals. One of the biggest challenges to businesses is how to build effective teams that are distributed around the world, so I talked a lot about how virtual worlds are a compelling platform for building trust and developing team training programs.

The trick is to use the right tool for the right job. Businesses have many different communication tools at their disposal, and virtual worlds are part of this spectrum of choices. With their power to perceptually immerse people in an interactive learning environment full of other people, and their power to visualize data and models in 3d, virtual worlds are a technology that deserves thoughtful consideration.

I also spoke about the unique nature of the human mind. How our minds crave places and faces, and how powerful it is to develop communication platforms that engage people in ways that complement our natural human tendencies. Virtual worlds can help us feel more human as we communicate electronically, and they also unlock our innate creativity as we discover the unique malleability of our avatars and the virtual spaces around them. Just because we can identically replicate the physical boardroom in a virtual world doesn't mean we should. By creating new and more evocative virtual spaces, we can make collaboration more engaging and interesting.

To wrap things up, I gave some demos of ReactionGrid's Jibe platform and how it can be used for collaboration and data visualization. Our Jibe Server Control Room was a big hit. The students also gave me some very interesting ideas on how to possibly expand the metaphor in ways that could visualize even more information. Ideas such as scripted avatars that automatically position themselves in a server room to visually reflect which tasks employees are focused on, creating interactive bots that have access to back-end data, and how to best leverage a 3d environment to convey information that simply cannot be conveyed in 2d. I was very impressed by their brainstorming.

I had a great time at Tuck, and I was very impressed with the thoughtfulness and creativity of everyone I spoke with at the school. To everyone I met, thank you again for the opportunity.

Jibe Server Control Room - Update

We've been working to enhance our virtual Operations Center this week, and now have 95 virtual servers reporting in and visualized. COO Robin Gomboy and I have had a super week tending to the fleet, catching issues and fixing them before they become critical, identifying troubled machines in a timely fashion and working with their owners to fix and improve performance.

Our latest edition of the operations center can be seen in the latest video.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Jibe Server Control Room

Our Network Operations Center team consisting of COO Robin Gomboy, CTO Chris Hart (lead programmer for Jibe) & Support Engineer Felix Techie have created a virtual virtual server datacenter for our virtual worlds.  Confused yet?  Essentially we have replaced a 2D representation of our clients servers with a 3D space where we can monitor all systems.

We also review new systems like this to make sure we have improved how we digest aggregates of data, visualize that data and generally understand better what the data is telling us.  In this case we have an instant hit.  Our team will not use something if it isn't an improvement over the old way of doing things.  This is a huge leap forward for the task at hand.

Not only can we access data quicker, see trouble more easily and understand what is needed for corrective actions but we can also visualize who is responding to what machine in our fleet.  I now know that Felix is likely already accessing a server because I visually see him near that virtual representation of that virtual server.  Therefore I will not interrupt him as has happened often in the past.

So essentially what was previously a disparate system of Skype+RDP Manager+Email is now a cohesive 3D environment that our team already considers an invaluable tool.  That kind of thing is what excites us about virtual worlds!

Full Image

Monday, February 14, 2011

What Does Reactiongrid Love?

Happy Valentine's Day everyone! Today is typically a day you recognize the special someone you love with flowers, gifts, chocolates, or cutting edge tech toys (for those special geeks in our lives). It's also a good time to reflect as an organization on what we love doing.

So what is it that drives Reactiongrid? What is it we love doing?

Put in businessy terms, our vision statement explains what we ultimately want to come from our actions:

Our vision is a better world through broadly adopted metaverse and physical connectivity.

And our mission statement explains how we intend to make this vision a reality:

Our mission is simplifying metaverse making with tools, support, and community.

To put it in non-businessy terms, we love those "AH HA!" moments when a client's world completes their need. We love it when students and trainees finally "get" a concept from seeing it in-world. We love when teachers share stories of students joining in-world class activities despite them being at home sick. We love hearing a client say "Gosh, that was easy." We love seeing you do remarkable, unexpectedly brilliant, and previously impossible things with the worlds we help you make.

Friday, February 4, 2011

1939 World's Fair Project on ReactionGrid

The project to recreate the essence of the 1939 World's Fair on ReactionGrid has been one of our longest-running and most successful projects. If you are interested in finding out more about the fair, and about future plans for the builds on ReactionGrid, join us today at 12:30pm Eastern US / 17:30 UTC on 39FairHQ region on ReactionGrid - see here for details on today's meeting!

Chris Hart
CTO ReactionGrid Inc.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Jibe/Unity3D Developer Resumes Wanted

If you are a Unity3D developer we'd like to collect your latest resume and examples of work for some upcoming 2011 positions.  Simply visit and use the "Jobs" menu item to let us know more about you.

Kyle G
CEO ReactionGrid Inc.