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The first step is browser-based environments for online meetings
Browser-based environments are the easiest to get started with, and are a good way to find out if an immersive environment will work for your company. They run in the browser, so users don't have to download separate software to access them, though a plug-in of some kind is typically required. In the future, expect to see HTML 5-based platforms, which require no plugins. These platforms are well suited to sales training meetings and can be very inexpensive if a custom environment isn't required.
Focused mainly on the educational market, VenueGen allows end users to download a plug-in, create an avatar and start collaborating. The product is aimed at online meetings and training classes.
With AvayaLive Engage, end users can share desktops, show presentations, work at white boards, post and stream recorded video and project live video. Uses include training, collaboration and sales.
From the French company Attadyn comes 3DXplorer, a browser-based, 3D platform that doesn’t require a plug-in. It supports 100-plus avatars in a 3D conference call. And the enterprise edition delivers added security. 3DXplorer is targeted at virtual events and trade shows.
With Jibe, customers can create, publish and manage fully customized virtual worlds which can be embedded in any web page or accessed from mobile devices. The Jibe world can be hosted by ReactionGrid or installed on a company’s servers.
Enterprise-grade platforms: Protosphere
Protonmedia’s Protosphere builds on an enterprises’s existing UC platform and delivers a 3D virtual collaboration environment. The company’s latest release adds fine-grained moderator controls and enhanced usage metrics reporting for corporate learning apps.
The VastPark open standards platform allows companies to create 3D virtual worlds for sales and training. The VastPark player can handle more than 200 avatars in a single room and there’s an enterprise SDK.
SAIC's OLIVE (online interactive virtual environment) enables customers to deploy 3-D virtual worlds where users can train, collaborate and rehearse using life-like human avatars in custom terrain.
3D ICC's Terf
Terf is an immersive environment that offers instant live audio and video. Customers can create virtual locations that are contextually accurate and users can design their type of virtual interaction, whether that’s looking into another avatar’s eyes or facing a wall containing information on a particular topic.
Hosted OpenSim environments: Dreamland Metaverse
These vendors offer private, managed OpenSim environments on dedicated servers, and also provide support for behind-the-firewall OpenSim deployments. For example, Dreamland Metaverse offers fully managed, OpenSim hosting services for private customers, educational institutions and companies.
SimHost is a joint-venture between DeepThink, and OpenSim developer James Stallings. SimHost will host your OpenSim site, offer consulting or help you host the site yourself.