Recall Jonathan Mostow’s Surrogates or James Cameron’s Avatar? Well, apparently the business world isn’t satisfied with their humanoid selves either.
Enter Venugen. This Web-based software seeks to satisfy these businesses’ avatar-envy by providing them with the tools necessary to hold virtual meetings. Oh, and did we mention that it looks like fun?
It might look similar to Second Life or The Sims, but the company wants to distance themselves from that notion. Yet we can’t help but think of it as Second Life except without the exciting elements of that game.
The person putting on the Venugen event can select from various venues, and these venues have the ability to project images, videos, and webpages on a virtual screen — pretty much Powerpoint on steroids. They also have interactive elements like chairs, stages, and who knows what else.
People can easily be invited to join an event. All that is necessary is a browser and a plug-in for the browser.
Venugen can then take a photograph of its virtual attendee and translate it into a virtual avatar — the avatar will then look quite similar to their real-life counterpart. The user is then able to tweak their avatar with outfits and other accessories to their heart’s content.
Users actually have great control over their avatars. Lips actually move to the user’s voice. The direction of the user’s virtual focus is also represented. And users also have various controls over their avatar’s body movements and facial expressions.
For those who want to experiment with virtual meetings, Venugen will cost $90 per month for small team environments, with prices increasing as the group size increases. Users are also required to have a Windows-based computer (which is slightly disappointing).
But remember, this is not a game — this is serious business!