Cancer be Gone: All Quiet on the Southern Front
A Starbucks Experience

Bridging the Gap between Game Worlds and a Games Conference

Interrelativity had the good fortune to work with Evergreen Events to facilitate interactions at the recent Seattle Games Conference.  We deployed a proactive display at the one-day event, where it showed content from profiles created primarily by speakers and sponsors on a plasma display near the registration table in the lobby of the Highline Performing Arts Center.

The display attracted a fair amount of attention, sparked some conversations based on content that was being shown, and led to subsequent interactions in different times and places throughout the conference.  We plan to conduct a survey to better assess the impact of the display and determine how to continue to improve its effectiveness at future events.

One of the benefits we derived from the experience was a heightened awareness of the games industry as an ideal market segment for our technology.  [Briefly, a proactive display is a large computer display that shows content from people's online profiles when they are detected nearby, creating new opportunities for conversations and other interactions.]  Gamers, particularly those in massively multiplayer online role playing games (MMORPGs), have some of the richest online profiles of any group of people I've encountered.  The games they play, the avatars they use to represent themselves, the levels they've achieved, and their teammates or guild members, are some of the many aspects of their digital lives that they may be very willing to share in a physical space shared with other gamers ... such as at a games conference.  Add to that the highly visual nature of much of these digital dimensions, and it seems like a rich source of profile content for a proactive display.

The Seattle Games Conference was intended for students and professionals who were looking for jobs in the games industry. As such, it seemed that attendees were more focused on interacting with the speakers and sponsors than with each other. Since many of the speakers and sponsors had profiles that were shown on our proactive display, we believe our technology helped facilitate some of those interactions.  However, very few of the attendees (other than speakers or sponsors) created Interrelativity profiles, which may have something to do with the intentions and goals of the attendees, but no doubt also due to our ongoing challenges to craft a crisp, clear and compelling marketing message for this technology, and to simplify and the user profile registration interface (we were able to personalize our invitations and assistance to speakers and sponsors before the event, but not with attendees).  Even if we would have had more attendee profiles, I suspect that this kind of technology is likely to have greater impact at an event where there is not such a power imbalance, and the attendees are peers.

Another big benefit of Interrelativity's involvement in this event was the opportunity to work with Cynthia Freese, CEO of Evergreen Events, and an incredibly generous mensch.  The biography on her web page highlights this attitude toward life and work:

Evergreen Events is a conference company dedicated to the enrichment of the games industry through innovative, high-quality conferences that are both informative as well as connective. A dynamic networker who loves meeting people and helping others, Cynthia exemplifies the mission of making connections happen. A mother of three, she is an entrepreneur, volunteer, artist, and a writer who believes in sharing and giving back to her community.

In addition to all the efforts she and her business partner, Suzanne Freyjadis-Chuberka, expended in organizing a successful event, Cynthia still found time to help me better understand how a proactive display might enhance this and other games industry events, and to actively promote Interrelativity among her extensive network of business associates and friends, perfectly illustrating the concept of BizLove (= knowledge + network + compassion) that I blogged about a while back. 

Interrelativity was also fortunate to have the assistance of Scott Axworthy, who founded Immersion Arts with the ambitious goal of creating a year-round Halloween theme park that will provide a personalized and immersive social and entertainment experience for families, friends, tourists, and corporate groups ... possibly involving proactive displays.  Scott helped with a broad range of technical, user interface and [other] design issues for Interrelativity, including debugging a networking "issue" that arose during our setup at the event, helping me observe (vs. facilitate) an on-site user registration process, and suggesting a number of improvements for future versions of the applications.

Entrepreneurship can be a lonely road at times, so partnering with Scott and Cynthia (and members of Cynthia's extensive network) was a welcome boost, and I look forward to further exploring how we might effectively and beneficially bridge the gaps between virtual worlds and shared physical spaces at future events!

comments powered by Disqus