Wonderful conference in all ways here in Finland

It has been a really great conference here in Lahti Finland. The venue, the Sibeliustalo was truly stunning and the hospitality of everyone for all of us visiting speakers.
Whilst I do call us Metarati moderately tongue in cheek when your fellow speakers have such a reputation and track record in the whole breadth of virtual world interaction it really is a cool club to be considered part of.
Ken Hudson had asked some of us a while back if we wanted to come and speak. For me I was intrigued what Finland was like having never visited before, and also to see where my European neighbours were on the whole scene. It has ended up being culturally enlightening for me personally too.
The conference was a huge success in my opinion because of very good organisation (the sort of smooth running that does not cause the delegates any stress), and a willing and knowledgable audience. That makes it much easier for the speakers to share their stories.
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Not only that but in the evening yesterday we were treated to tickets to a symphony performance in the acoustically superior hall. Then a wonderful dinner followed by some of the students performing circus routines from ropes and bands suspended from the wooded frame of the building. The performances were all stunning.
This certainly gave us lots to talk about as well as the metaverse subjects were were here to share as we then headed of to sample the Finnish ‘White Wine’.
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The venue was set up with both a constant SL presence on a giant screen in the hall and a constant twitter feed too. It was not trying to hack around between a single projector screen. We had AV kit it was filmed, photographed and streamed, radio mics when needed, power, good stable wireless, presentations we both in RL, SL and a backup on the web. We also had translators who expertly dashed to wherever us English only speakers were and told us what was going on when a presentation was in Finnish. Truly wonderful stuff!
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The well organized mixed media nature of this meant I could sit on stage and visit myself in Second Life whilst tweeting. You don’t get much more connected than that.
Karl Kapp did his opening keynote for today (which I missed the first 10 minutes of to my annoyance but it could not be helped). Insights into the degrees of engagement in virtual worlds, reminding people of the time and emotional effort that causes identification with the avatar and presence to name but a few. He also signed a copy of his book for a fellow presenter. I expect there will be some very good coverage on Karl’s blog
I had to do some last minute alteration prep to my pitch for later in the morning, but it was good to see RealXtend represented and the fascinating school of the future project
The Finn’s understand and take education very seriously. In many other places such as the UK it seems to not be held with quite the same high regard by the establishment and society in general.
I followed the pitch by Bill May of the state department with the great job of director of the U.S. Department of State’s Office of Innovative Engagement (part of the Bureau of International Information Programs). Using social media and virtual worlds for political and cultural engagement. I first met Bill at the first virtual worlds conference in New York back in 2006, so it was good to see all the things that have transpired and that he has done since those conversations.
I did a cut down version of Washing Away Cave paintings the primary thing still being to consider not getting stuck in old ways already and to challenge the patterns, including not assuming SL is the only way. Leading to the amazing loop of virtual to real and back to virtual again. Something that is a game changer. (I also kept getting to throw in The Cool Stuff Collective too 🙂 )
It was good to bring up Augmented Reality and reference the work done here by the guys and show how far forward they are in their thinking and doing, whilst also showing there is even more potential than anyone would initially think.
Georges Segura (who led the organisation of the whole thing) also then presented with some Live demo’s AR applications build using the Total Immersion toolkit. A very cool circus clown demo which blended markerless tracking then seamless into facial tracking. Then a student build RC car was driven in that was streaming video to eye glass screens.
This practical demonstration was a great way to end the main elements of the conference. It flowed nicely from the the things I had been pushing forward, and AR does wow an audience. (I am thinking I should drop some AR live and risky demos into my pitch, maybe do the slides as AR triggered objects as it may add a little bit more to the whole story)
So thankyou everyone in Finland, presenters, translators, delegates, organizers and stake holders. Its the 3rd year this has been run and it is the best and most inspirational conference I have been to and thats not the “white wine” talking.
Well done all!

One thought on “Wonderful conference in all ways here in Finland

  1. Pingback: Finland Key Note Resources and Part One of Recap | Kapp Notes

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