No, this blog post is not about Dassault 3D Experience. Even more… this post is not about PLM. Last week, I had a chance to attend first ever virtual PLM event – Social PLM 2012. You can see some of presentations already on Youtube. Navigate to this link to see them. Preparation and presenting at this virtual conference made me think about 3D appearance online and user experience.
The idea of Social PLM virtual event is great. Fully immersive 3D environment with avatars, halls, presenting rooms, seats, almost natural people movement and many other effects. My expectation was very high, and I was interested to experience that. The practice was a bit different. The tuning of the environment had some specific elements that created many IT complications – required open firewall ports, specific versions of browsers and headset requirements. Inside of the environment, the user experience wasn’t always very intuitive, I wasn’t able to see people in the hall and my presentation slides. Comments and questions were available only via online chat and not by voice.
My experience as an attendee and presenter at Social PLM 2012 made me think about the complexity of 3D user experience. I’ve been comparing 3D user experience with Webex and Google Hangout. The first one is simple virtual sharing of slides with limited video presence. It has some limitations and allows you to get job done and share your thoughts with the audience. Opposite to that Google Hangout (I admit that I have very limited experience) allows you to have an immersive video communication with your colleagues and friends.
What is my conclusion? Here is a single word, which I believe is important to remember – efficiency. 3D is cool and can be very entertaining. However, if it creates lots of additional complexity levels, you might decide to go with something that Google calls “good enough”. Webex can be good enough technology to share my speech today. At the same time, I can see a growing interest in 3D experience. I think Social PLM 2012 was good not only because of excellent PLM presentations, but also as a lesson of future 3D experience. I hope PLM vendors learned the lesson and will make right conclusions. Just my thoughts…