Overcoming Barriers to Adoption of Virtual Worlds in Government

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Presentation given at Defense GameTech 2010 on overcoming current barriers to adoption of Virtual Worlds for training and collaboration in government organizations.

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Overcoming Barriers to Adoption of Virtual Worlds in Government

  1. 1. An Eyes-Wide-Open Look at the Challenges in Adopting Virtual Worlds for Learning & Collaboration Ms. Janet Cichelli Serco, Inc. LinkedIn: janet-cichelli SL: Micaela Sorbet
  2. 2. Barriers Can Be Expected “Each new technical medium runs into common obstacles as well as unique barriers to its adoption. But attitudes change when proven value or competitive advantage are achieved. The value of virtual-world technology will evolve as business models continue to become more intensely collaborative internally, externally, and globally.” Algis Leveckis, Co-founder of QuestG, Inc.,
  3. 3. Barriers Can Be Expected “Each new technical medium runs into common obstacles as well as unique barriers to its adoption. But attitudes change when proven value or competitive advantage are achieved. The value of virtual-world technology will evolve as business models continue to become more intensely collaborative internally, externally, and globally.” Algis Leveckis, Co-founder of QuestG, Inc.,
  4. 4. Growth? What the Industry is Saying Virtual Worlds Forecast to Grow Through 2015 Virtual Worlds Management The Strategy Analytics Virtual Worlds Strategies Industry Forecast service report, “Virtual Worlds Market Forecast 2009-2015,” predicts that virtual worlds will While investments in the virtual continue to improve the user experience and will world space will likely go down in convert registrations to active users at a 38% 2009, innovation can still be compounded annual growth rate through 2015. rewarded. In effect, the recession may lead to something of a culling of the herd, but still promote some virtual worlds and Predictions 2010: What's In Store For Serious developers to greater success Games And B2B Virtual Worlds? than before. The foundation will be laid for future business acceptance of the technology for 2011 and beyond. We also predict that serious games adoption will remain highly vertical in 2010 — expect firms in the defense industry to make strong moves to acquire serious gaming and virtual world companies to serve their military and healthcare clients.
  5. 5. How Were Barriers to Adoption Identified? Navy CSCS Project 3 1 Serco Customer Collaboration Center 2 DoD Early VW Adopters Army RDECOM ● Navy NUWC NDU ● Navy CNIC ● Navy JTIEC
  6. 6. Significant Barriers to Adoption: Top 3 Categories Technology Selection Buy-In & Stakeholder Support And Preparation User Experience
  7. 7. Top Barriers to Virtual Worlds Adoption 1. Economic downturn and reduced operating budgets 2. Bias against VW for doing real work & learning 3. Inadequate workplace computer hardware 4. Network security and firewall restrictions 5. Unsuccessful or under-successful pilot project 6. Poor first-time user experience
  8. 8. Barrier #1: Economic downturn and reduced operating budgets • Some of the casualties • Flash-based virtual world platform Metaplace shut down on 1/1/10 • There shut its virtual doors on March 9, 2010 • Specific challenges: • Reduced innovative efforts and risk tolerance • Perception that innovation is risky and expensive • Management inertia • Prejudgment of value/cost
  9. 9. Opportunities & Recommendations Economic downturn and reduced operating budgets Great news! Current economy provides more motivation to explore VWs to reduce cost! • Learn to Love the Low End* • Leverage Green Government • Help Stakeholders experience the value • From BAA to VW Challenges! case. The Bottom Line Some funding exists, but increases the need for creativity and a compelling and clear business case. *The Silver Lining – An Innovation Playbook for Uncertain Times by Scott D. Anthony
  10. 10. Barrier #2: Bias against Virtual Worlds for real work & learning tolerance • What Biases? Are we our • Cultural Avatar? • Generational • Personality predisposition http://iggyo.blogspot.com/2009_07_01_archive.html • Perception as frivolous entertainment • Fantasized avatars and settings may not help • Perceived VW technology shortcomings From the Trenches: “If you can’t bring the instructors • Government briefing generation along, you’ll never get the students.” • Incoming gaming generation Tami Griffith (SL Avatar Tami Nightfire) Research, Development and Engineering Command (RDECOM), US Army
  11. 11. Opportunities & Recommendations Bias against Virtual Worlds for real work & learning What the Experts Are Saying: • Provide first-hand experiences Position virtual immersive environments • Limit other changes as a natural extension and convergence of existing technologies such as • Find champions synchronous learning tools, video games, • Leverage diffusion of innovation* Web 2.0, and social networking – and not as a science-fiction-dream-come-to- life. Tony O’Driscoll Learning in 3D: Adding a New Dimension to Enterprise Learning and Collaboration. “Converting the delivery of instruction while leaving the instructional content largely intact eases the transition for FMS instructors. “ Navy CSCS CONOPS The Bottom Line We tend to resist what is not understood, so make extra efforts early on to provide easy entrée into environment and manage change. *Diffusion of Innovations by Everett M. Rogers
  12. 12. Barrier #3: Inadequate workplace computer hardware tolerance • Many enterprise computers in place today • are several years old From the Trenches: Each computer running the • not outfitted to run graphically rich apps virtual world needs an average of 80 kbps • have computational and graphics downstream, spiking at about 400 kbps on initial connect and during “teleports.” processing good enough for Internet Upstream is much lower, requiring 30 kbps on average. VOIP requires an additional browsing and PowerPoint 50 kbps on both downstream and upstream per speaker. • not outfitted with microphone or headset Real Government in Virtual Worlds Gov 2.0 Conference Session notes for VOIP • Lack bandwidth - performance can grind session to a halt
  13. 13. Opportunities & Recommendations Inadequate workplace computer hardware • Consider limitations when selecting VW technology platform • Opt for thinner clients with less functionality • Browser-based solutions for meetings work fine • Strive for high-end graphics and high bandwidth • Set up small number of shared higher-end computers for scheduled events The Bottom Line You’ll need to plan to replace or supplement PC/laptops that are capable of supporting virtual world efforts.
  14. 14. Barrier #4: Network security and firewall restrictions • Network Security • Public VWs require ports on a network and desktop PC to be "open“ • Federal CIOs consider VW a cyber-security threat • Avatar Security • Identity management & assurance • Who’s behind that avatar? • Reputation management
  15. 15. Opportunities & Recommendations Network security and firewall restrictions • Use SL Enterprise or others that can be run behind a firewall on private servers • Employ a multi-layered security approach for public VWs (Source: Trend Micro: Threat Management white paper) • User awareness • Gateway Protection • Endpoint Protection • As mobility increases, focus on protecting mobile devices The Bottom Line You’ll need to employ a multi-layered security approach for use of public VWs or bring it in behind your firewall.
  16. 16. Barrier #5: Unsuccessful or under-successful pilot project • Some use cases not well suited Uses Cases for Defense & Government: • Requires smart planning • • Learning and Training ≠ Visitors Meetings • Conferences • Content • Technology “challenges” and BAAs • Recruiting & Onboarding • Misaligned expectations common • • Collaborative Prototyping Scripted-Physics Simulation • Human Resource Management • Proof-of-concept for reason • 3D Data Visualization • Data Analytics • Redirection can be seen as • Remote System and Facility Operations • Situation Rooms failure • Community of Practice Adapted from: http://second-life-tool- ranking.ning.com/group/immersiveenviro nments/forum/topics/virtual-world-use- cases
  17. 17. Opportunities & Recommendations Unsuccessful or under-successful pilot project • The right use case is critical • With clear and compelling ROI or operational value • Provides for easy entry & quick win • Training and virtual meetings - top use cases for a reason • Consider selecting with “the same, only better” approach • Manage Expectations Start small……….THINK BIG • Try out and adjust • Some efforts may need to be redirected/abandoned The Bottom Line We are still in the early adoption stage. Pick your spots well, and connect with other veterans to learn and gain best practices.
  18. 18. Barrier #6: Poor first-time user experience • Just create an account, log in and follow a SLURL, right? • New users are expected to • control their movement, direction, speed and “flight” • fight lag From the Trenches: • use camera controls It ended up taking nearly 30 minutes to make sure everyone’s voice over IP • use chat, VOIP and gestures was working. Some people didn’t have the right drivers on their machines. Others needed to switch microphones. • not get entangled, lost… Even once we got most people up and running with voice, we heard a loud • Many explore in advance, squeaking sound a couple of times and communication was sometimes difficult due to people talking over each other and find empty spaces because of lag. ThinkBalm report, “Crossing the Chasm, One Implementation at a Time.”
  19. 19. Opportunities & Recommendations Poor first-time user experience From the Trenches: • Provide live support & in-world guides Becoming proficient in navigating virtual worlds such as SecondLife • Provide default or pre-tailored avatars requires an investment of several hours time. If it is not done smoothly, the individual becomes frustrated • Resolve technical glitches well in advance and has no further desire to participate in any kind of Virtual World in the future. • Have content/displays available for pre- Mr. Bud Livers US Navy event visitors Center for Naval Intelligence • VIPs require extra effort to ensure good stakeholder experience Future devices to improve experience The Bottom Line If we want to engage people, we need to design an experience with a low threshold for entry.
  20. 20. Some final points we can’t solve every training problem with virtual worlds think differently this is evolution, not revolution manage expectations technology is never enough don’t burn down the schoolhouse yet initial experiences can make or break an ounce of planning is worth a pound of glitz think big, start small be realistic about limits you still have time analyze take risks be cautious remember the goal add value Ms. Janet Cichelli ● Email: Janet.Cichelli@serco-na.com ● LinkedIn: janet-cichelli ● SL: Micaela Sorbet

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