This summary was proudly provided by Carina…
“A virtual world (VW) is an instantiation of a metaverse – a fully immersive 3D virtual space in which people interact with one another through avatars and software agents”.
VWs are gaining attention because they provide technology capabilities that can transform education, learning, organizational communication, and even VPM. The goal of the paper is to highlight the technology capabilities in those new environments.
What is unique about VW?
- They let you create a world of your choice including buildings and artifacts that perform specific tasks.
- The vividness and the technology capabilities that provide opportunities to enhance interaction and collaboration.
- Physical boundaries no longer exist.
- 3D life-like conversations and an immersive environment for interaction.
- Purposeful nonverbal communication, including the ability to touch.
- The ability to control your avatar’s appearance, behavior and its environment.
- Immediate feedback regarding communication and project deliverables.
- Control over the appearance of the avatar (e.g. hair, clothing).
- Purposeful nonverbal communication.
- Control over the environment‘s appearance and functions (implementation of additional tools, such as voting and brainstorming).
- Individuals can choose their preferred method of communication; freedom to express and interact with others using one or more ways.
- Increased flexibility
- Minimize coordination challenges through immediate feedback, established trust through multiple communication channels, removed geographical boundaries, and accessibility to others’ artifacts (e.g. texts, images, models) as team members elaborate on them (immediacy of artifacts).
- The ability to immediately touch and interact with artifacts can improve team performance
- Facilitate informal communication.
Trust can be developed through…
- the use and control of verbal and nonverbal communication cues,
- simultaneous use of multiple communication channels and the combination of verbal and nonverbal cues, and
- a playful environment that lets users socialize and develop member and group well-being.
It is necessary that VW Project-teams have a clear definition of roles and an effective team leader.
Challenges of VW
- Members could ignore available communication channels (e.g. voice chat and gestures) and use nothing but e.g. text.
- Security (Company concerns, server not owned by them…).
- It can become difficult to motivate employees to accept the technology because of its reputation as a gaming environment.
- Unpredictable behavior.
3D brainstorming tools to generate new ideas and rank them, share virtual objects and documents seamlessly between the VW and other software tools.
Owens, D., Davis, A., Murphy, J. D., Khazanchi, D., Zigurs, I. (2009): Real-World Opportunities for Virtual-World Project Management. IT Pro. 34-41.