I’m one of the keynote speakers today for the grand opening of Virtualis, which bills itself as “the largest and most meticulously designed convention center in the computer-generated world of Second Life.”
Virtualis features ballrooms, breakout rooms, and an extensive trade show floor. I’ll be speaking in the Grand Ballroom at 4pm EST; my own “trade show booth” (pictured here) features links to my blog, books, and to streaming video from strategically placed video screens on the wall.
Will such “virtual worlds” come to play a role in the meeting and convention industry? The media seems to have been quite down on Second Life as of late; at one recent digital marketing conference, it was dismissed as a waste of advertisers time, and the biggest project sinkhole in the last year. (See The Client Side blog link below).
Maybe so. Maybe not. I don’t know whether that is true or not.
But I do know this. Ten years ago, we didn’t have a Google; five years ago, there was no FaceBook. New methods of interacting are emerging at a furious pace. Ten years from now, we’ll be in an economy in which organizations will have to figure out how to “deliver knowledge quickly.” I think we will see a wide variety of platforms and methods of accomplishing this — and that’s why I’m spending some of my time exploring the opportunity within Virtualis.
I’m a big believer that meetings and events will continue to be a “key strategic component of an organization’s success” in the future, because they involve the delivery of knowledge.
And there’s going to have to be a lot more of that in the future. Organizations must deal with the fact that their world is becoming faster: they must deal with innovation time compression, the rapid emergence of new markets, fast opportunities for emergence of new product or service branding, increased skills specialization, rapid business model transformation and the emergence of new competitive challengers.
The impact is quite simple: rapid market, business, industry, and skills change leads to a need for faster “knowledge delivery.” We might need to upgrade the knowledge of a sales force for a new emerging market; help a leadership team focus on a new business competitor, or steer a project team towards dealing with a new industry challenge. Whatever the case may be, knowledge delivery is key to success in the future.
I think we’d be fools to think that we won’t do a lot more of this online. Hence, the importance of new explorations such as Virtualis : it helps to solve a fundamental purpose, and plays a key strategic role, just as real-world conferences and events do. And so this is a critical and important first step.
It’s all about innovation and trying things out. And as Larry Ellison of Oracle stated, “when you innovate, you’ve got to be prepared for everyone telling you you’re nuts.”