Yesterday I had the pleasure of attending a virtual webfair hosted by domainindex.com. First and foremost I’d like to applaud this new use of virtual realities in the business world. I believe that this type of meeting ground for companies is absolutely going to revolutionize the way companies and individuals will interact. This type of venue changes the physical requirements to attend a convention or a fair and gives the opportunity to be in more places. My hopes are that using virtual realities in business will foster a new type social interaction online.
I’d like to take you through my experience while being at the webfair. To begin with the user had to create a login and user profile equipped with a photograph and contact information. What I found unique about the way it was formatted is that it was all geared toward giving the user a business related profile, even letting the user be equipped with their own business card. The user was then able to log on and tailor their account toward their own company. A pleasant surprise was that the user was able to choose their avatar and the avatars were sensitive to gender, race, hair color, and style. I felt that you were able to create your own identity based off what you potentially look like in real life or a more embellished version of yourself. This was a unique way of giving the user a sense of self and maybe taking away some insecurities that they may have in real life meeting people at fairs.
After creating your avatar the user is dropped in the location of the webfair and you are able to start running around the simulated world. The webfair had different rooms with different companies present. 101domain was located in Room B along with a hoard of other companies. When the user would walk into the different rooms each company had a virtual booth setup where the user was able to walk up and view company information and talk to a representative. I have included in the article a picture of my own avatar that attended and the booth that was setup by 101domain.
Right after I logged in I was approached by a few avatars that mostly wanted to socialize, but some mentioned to me that they had already spoken to my colleagues. What was amazing is during the conversation I actually felt like I was attending an event and the interaction was effortless. Being a part of this definitely transcended the lines between public interaction while being in private place. I believe the concept of a web fair is an amazing way to lessen the burden of travel and time, however this is one of the last remaining aspects of real social interaction when it comes to the business world. If real life fairs and conventions disappeared I feel that the human aspect to creating sound business relationships could be compromised. I do give some props to the creators of the web fair who attributed reducing the carbon footprint and shear size of the global community to having this 3D event.
Overall I believe this is the future of the business world and I can’t wait to attended more web based fairs. This could potentially give a voice to individuals who are sometimes shy or feel insecure when meeting new connections in the material world. In a time where real life interactions are being facilitated online in places like social media I think this is one of the more positive and productive avenues available. Like the web fair creators said reducing the carbon footprint is ultimately the best benefit to seeing more of these webfairs pop up in the business world.