Web Manager University New Media Talk

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Virtual Worlds (VW) are a genre of online community that takes the form of a computer-based simulated environment, through which users can interact with one another using and creating content. VWs could benefit the government as a collaboration, data visualization, learning, and marketing tool. This talk highlights the advantages and the risks that many government organizations face when using VWs. The goal is to show the overall advantage to the government and to share information about how VWs can provide a safe, secure, and powerful business tool.

The talk focuses on a number of active government VW projects including vGov (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qo0ifj8W4Lo), the Federal Consortium for Virtual Worlds (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKh8-QyL1Bs), and SciLands (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scilands)

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  • This image is not a photograph, its taken from a new virtual world called “Blue Mars.”There are already a number of government sponsored projects focused on education that have some good assessment data.Jodi A sbell-Clarke - EdGE@TERChttp://cleanet.org/files/cln/edge_gaming_science_education.ppt
  • What are virtual worlds?A new online development platform born out of the video game industry.A massively multiplayer online environment where users can interact with our science and each other through avatars. Avatars literally translate as “reincarnation.” In this case, an electronic representation of ones self.The video in the URL is a cute overview of how NOAA has used public virtual worlds in the last few years.
  • Lets investigate a few VW use cases currently underway within the government.
  • Sponsored by the National Defense University’s iCollege. Check out the overview video and consider attending the next conference. It currently has over 1600 members from all cabinet level agencies.Rather than look at the video now, we will look at a few active projects within the government. But first lets take a look at a couple of demonstrations.
  • Virtual worlds are part of the natural progression of web technologies to more immersive and social use cases.Second Life is probably the largest public virtual world in terms of number of avatars and number of government projects. As I log in, those of you with avatars consider joining me on NOAA’s virtual island. We’ll take a quick walk around before continuing on to other technologies.
  • Unity is a tool that has become popular since NOAA began in virtual worlds. It’s designed as a traditional video game engine but offers a number of next generation features and eases the entrance barrier in visiting virtual worlds.You can write your application once and deploy to multiple environments including PC, Mac, Wii, xBox, iPhone, and Android mobile devices.
  • It is important to note that once again all these images are renderings, not actual photographs. Between the example of water and these images hopefully you can tell where NOAA is headed.
  • Now that you’ve seen first hand what is possible, hopefully you are beginning to think of the possibilities within your own organization. To assist with brainstorming here are just a few of the things people are currently working on in VWs.We will look at a few examples.
  • First island opened Jan 2007 and is a first person experience of NOAA science. We were just there. NOAA has over 10 islands now, part of Scilands that has over 80. We are also working on transitioning our content out of Second Life into a variety of other platforms and technologies.
  • NOAA has assisted the Department of Energy in creating a career center in Second Life with the goal of interesting young people to possible careers in Energy. Along with a traditional career center that has a variety of topical lectures we built a recreation of a particle acclearator.Here I’ve been shrunk to the size of a packet of protons and am watching a high speed collision. The movie at the URL are the highlights from a recent career event sponsored by the NNSA.
  • NASA has developed one of the of the first “real” video games. It’s been released via STEAM and is downloadable for free at the URL above. I encourage you to download and try it out. Ask yourself if you can come up with a more exciting way of highlighting your agency mission.
  • Large scale collaboration in government presents a number of unique challenges. This is immediately evident in large scale military exercises that are enormously dangerous and expensive.MILands represents a growing joint military continent in virtual worlds and currently has partners in the Air Force, Army, and Navy.Large scale collaboration in VWs is easier and less expensive when conducted virtually while still offering a number of advantages typically only found in real life.
  • Led by US Army Research:Reaching a global development community Innovative training and analysis solutionsCollaboration, skill buildings, instruction, and visualization categoriesOpen to all contestantsWinners showcased at GameTech25+ “real” submissions receivedGovernment and non-government winners~50K in prize money
  • A new extension to virtual worlds is on the horizon called “augmented reality.”This is an example of a real world science exhibit on electricity and magnetism at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. Information can be layered on the real world. In this case, a visualization of the electromagnetic field to add value to existing infrastructure.Another example with “Science On a Sphere” (http://sos.noaa.gov) can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9iALMLDZJU
  • Moving from education to data visualization augmented reality offer a number of exiting potentials in the future. Data in context is everything!
  • Hopefully you are exciting by now.  While VWs may sound complicated and difficult to get involved it doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are a few action items to keep you busy.
  • vGov is a federal government virtual world project. Sponsored by the OCIO office in the USDA it has tremendous high level support. The purpose of the project is to provide a secure virtual world environment. Watch the movie at the URL for a brief project overview and the founding member’s experimentations.vGov is actively seeking new memberships and your agency could be next!
  • A few advantages and disadvantages to vGov.
  • Second Life is still an excellent platform to cheaply test out VW use cases. It’s free to sign up for an avatar and owning a private island is in the $300 a month range. As normal in web applications, content development will be a majority of your cost.
  • Second Life is undergoing a lot of change. It’s closely followed Gartner’s technology curve and many would say it had it’s hay-day in 2008. Yes, it’s still there and still sees tremendous use. With luck, Second Life is coming out of the Gartner ‘trough of disillusionment.”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hype_cycleHowever, before starting any new major initiative consider your projects technology migration path. Are you sure you own the content? Do you have the ability to pull that content into other VW platforms should it become necessary in the future?
  • Second Life is popular enough and customers have a strong enough desire to control their own infrastructure that a good portion of the technology has been reverse engineered.OpenSim, while still alpha technology offers a cost effective alternative for those wanting to control their own infrastructure or those wanting the ability to migrate their content to other VW technology.Check out the URL in the slide to see an idea of the type of content that can be developed in these sorts of environment. Obviously, this content has a certain NOAA twist. I’m sure you can imagine your own content. 
  • A few advantages and disadvantages to OpenSimulator.
  • Virtual.worlds@noaa.gov
  • Web Manager University New Media Talk

    1. 1. Virtual Worlds Overview<br />Web Manager University’s New Media Talk<br />Eric Hackathorn, 10/12/2010<br />http://www.slideshare.net/hackshaven/web-manager-university-new-media-talk<br />http://www.bluemarsonline.com/<br />
    2. 2. What are virtual worlds?<br />… and creating scalable branded experiences.<br />Taking flagship organizational assets…<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WeFZukZLaT8<br />
    3. 3. Why should you care?<br />
    4. 4. Imagine a Future<br />The Federal Consortium<br />For Virtual Worlds<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKh8-QyL1Bs<br />
    5. 5. Second Life<br />
    6. 6. Demonstration<br />
    7. 7.
    8. 8. Demonstration<br />http://www.temporalauthority.com/oilrig.html<br />
    9. 9.
    10. 10. Virtual World Use Cases<br />Procurement design contests<br />Transparency in communication<br />Advancements in search capabilities<br />Data visualization<br />Document management process<br />Collaborative design & development<br />Science fairs<br />Integrated customer interface<br />Learning & development<br />Meetings & conferences<br />Remote facility management<br />Recruiting & onboarding<br />
    11. 11. NOAA’s Virtual Island<br />Outreach and Education<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=is8YX32GAyQ<br />
    12. 12. Energy Island<br />Job Recruitment<br />http://www.vimeo.com/14552134<br />
    13. 13. Moon Base Alpha<br />http://www.moonbasealphagame.com/<br />
    14. 14. “MiLands” or Military Islands<br />http://wiki.secondlife.com/wiki/Military_Lands<br /><ul><li>A growing joint military virtual continent
    15. 15. Family counseling, simulation, prototype testing, and training
    16. 16. Starting virtual joint military exercises</li></li></ul><li>Federal Virtual Worlds Challenge<br />http://www.fvwc.army.mil/<br />
    17. 17. Augmented Reality<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9iALMLDZJU<br />
    18. 18.
    19. 19. How can you get involved?<br />
    20. 20. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qo0ifj8W4Lo<br />
    21. 21. vGov Highlights<br />
    22. 22. Second Life<br />http://work.secondlife.com/<br />
    23. 23. Second Life Highlights<br />
    24. 24. OpenSim<br />An Open Source Virtual World Alternative<br />http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DVijeVO8SlU<br />
    25. 25. OpenSim Highlights<br />
    26. 26. An Executive Guide for<br />Keeping Up with the Virtual World<br />Contact me!<br />Join a virtual world and create an avatar<br />Ask your kids about virtual worlds<br />Ask your staff about virtual worlds<br />Bookmark several virtual world news sites<br />
    27. 27. Questions?<br />Eric Hackathorn<br />Eric.J.Hackathorn@noaa.gov<br />

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