Ever thought about how you could do business in a virtual environment? Do you find conference calls too impersonal? Want a frank discussion but find webinars too restrictive?
the v-trade project
The Serious Games Institute (SGI) at Coventry University and our neighbours on Innovation Village are trying to provide solutions to these questions and many others with the V-Trade project.
The V-Trade project, supported by Advantage West Midlands and the European Regional Development Fund, has been giving West Midlands based SMEs the opportunity to showcase their products and/or services to potential clients across the globe through their very own 3D virtual environment within Second Life or Unity.
For those that don’t know Second Life is a 3D virtual world, which is free to join. It allows users to create an avatar (virtual representation of themselves) to socialise and connect with each other using voice and text chat. Second Life came into real prominence a few years ago when its user base suddenly exploded in numbers, so many major companies such as Dell built huge areas or islands within the virtual world so that they could be seen in this new environment.
One of the issues with Second Life though is that it is an independent piece of software so if you were to organise a meeting with the virtual world, all parties would need the software installed on there computers. That is why V-Trade is also using Unity as an alternative as the Unity Web Player will allow your 3D environment to be viewed directly within a browser.
our v-trade environment
After discussions with our friends at Prominent Media and Communications (who were already involved with the project) to take part in this project. We met with the SGI to discuss our wants and needs for our own virtual environment.
We decided that we wanted our V-Trade are to be a meeting place suitable for current and potential website clients to receive end-user training and support for the Umbraco Content Management System (CMS). We chose to do this because even though Umbraco has a strong and vibrant community of developers there aren’t as many helpful resources for the end-users and content editors.
With our list of requirements in hand the SGI built our virtual meeting place within Second Life. The results can be seen below:
Within our 3D environment we have three meeting areas, two on the upper level for one on one discussion and a larger seating area can be created for larger groups. There is also an interactive wall that currently has our website displayed on one side and our twitter profile on the other with links to our other social media pages.
If you wish to visit our virtual trade environment you will need to have Second Life installed on your machine and we can then be found on Serious Games Instiute’s island, SGI Nexus, or by following this url http://maps.secondlife.com/secondlife/SGI%20Nexus/214/131/22
Finally I would just like to thank the SGI for all their work building the area.