On November 12, Guild member and Presentation Futurist Yulia Barnakova led a group of us on a journey through a 3D presentation space called FrameVR. We didn’t need to install special software or use a VR headset for this experience. Yulia logged into the FrameVR website, created an event space for our gathering, and then sent us a custom url.
I enjoyed this virtual Guild Gathering so much that I wanted to learn more about 3D meeting and presentation spaces. After the event, I sent Yulia questions about her 3D presenting passion. Her responses below made me more excited to experience what the future of these platforms hold for presenters.
Why did you choose to highlight a 3D/VR platform for our Guild Gathering?
The future is 3D. It’s the way we naturally process the world, and technology is making it easier to communicate and collaborate that way too. Therefore, it’s critical to learn to think and design in a 3D-first way when making your experiences and presentations.
Why use a 3D/VR platform instead of more traditional conferencing tools like Zoom, Teams, or WebEx?
Although still in early stages, 3D platforms are important to have in your audience engagement toolkit. One thing we hear a lot from our enterprise clients is that they’d love to get more immersed, more connected during their meetings—and recapture a lot of the serendipity and “water cooler” style run-ins from in-person meetings. On 3D platforms, the audience enters the space as free-roaming avatars and can choose to speak to anyone at any time whom they encounter. This style of virtual networking is very challenging on Zoom or Teams—and 3D/VR platforms offer a chance to recapture some of that magic of “real” reality—and sometimes even enhance it.
Here are a sampling of use cases:
Gallery/Exhibition/Portfolio: “Hang” your photos/images/videos on the walls (or on the floor and ceiling!) and arrange your 3D models around the room. Forward potential clients your FrameVR url (you can even put it through Bitly to track the clicks) so they can “walk through” your portfolio. In addition, you can add hyperlinks to any of the works shown in your virtual room.
Meeting: This is an excellent place to hold a creative networking event or all-hands meeting (though I’d suggest starting with a small group to get a feel for the space first). A great way to grab attention is to put the attendees’ pictures/videos around the room. If you have 3D models that can be placed into the space, use them too. You want the audience/attendees to be delighted and feel a sense of awe, magic, and wonder when they walk into the virtual room.
Conference: Earlier this year, I delivered a conference presentation with Educators in VR in FrameVR (on the topic of using PowerPoint creatively with VR). I took them through several “worlds” on FrameVR and discussed the creative possibilities when designing the space to suit their needs.
Gamified Experience: It’s fun to play games in a virtual space like FrameVR. I like to create scavenger hunts by hiding objects around the virtual room. You can get UBER creative with this! In fact, I’m talking to the events team at the Guild about scheduling a virtual scavenger hunt for members next year.
Why did you choose FrameVR in particular over other platforms?
From my experience, FrameVR is the easiest software to log into and showcase the promise of 3D platforms—no downloads (it’s browser-based), fees (for now), or sign-ups required to join a session. It works very well on a computer, so there is no need for a VR headset (though you can enter with one for extra immersion).
It’s not without its hiccups BUT compared to other platforms, it’s much better and easier for beginners to get in. You just have to make sure you’re (ideally) using the Chrome browser and know how to mute/unmute and give camera access to Chrome. You also have incredibly rich creative opportunities to design the space to your specifications with images, videos, sound, 3D models, 360 videos, photos, audio, and so much more.
AltspaceVR from Microsoft, by the way, is a close second choice when I do 3D platform demos and experiences. I’ve used it extensively with Microsoft and various conferences (with and without a VR headset) with no issues. It’s great for making memories, as you can throw snowballs, launch rockets, fly, and do so many other interactive things with your audience/attendees. However, AltspaceVR requires a computer download and does not have consistent Mac support. Other 3D/VR platforms to try out include Spatial, Virbela (parent company of FrameVR), Engage, Rec Room, Glue, and many others. There’s currently an explosion of these platforms, and I expect a lot of market consolidation soon.
Is there a fee associated with FrameVR?
At the time of this writing, FrameVR is currently in beta testing and free for 15 people, but you can request a larger room like I did for the Guild Gathering where I hosted up to 30 attendees. The developer is creating a pricing plan for release soon. Because FrameVR is in beta, the program is not as robust as other platforms (like its parent Virbela) regarding security policies and such, although they were approved by one of my aerospace clients.
How can new users start working with 3D platforms?
My advice for a new user is to test out the platform by hosting an informal team or group meeting in the 3D space. Notify attendees in advance what to expect from the experience and ask them to be patient with any tech issues that might occur as you become comfortable with the platform. Once everyone gets past any tech issues, I guarantee it’ll be a meeting they’ll never forget!
Another tip is to “ease in” your participants by starting your meeting on a familiar platform like Zoom or Teams and then hop into the 3D space (like I did for the Guild Gathering). You can even preview the 3D space by sharing your screen with the participants so they can know what to expect on the platform before diving in.
To their credit, the FrameVR team has extensive tutorials (and discord group) on how to get started and operate the platform. You can also check out my tutorial on it from 2020 (they have way more features now, but this gives you an overview).
Enjoy, and see you in the future!
Yulia Barnakova is a strategy and innovation consultant with a passion for using technology for more engaging and impactful experiences. In her consulting work, she helps business leaders at Fortune 500 organizations envision the future of their industries and stay ahead of digital disruption. She is also a Microsoft MVP with a passion for the intersection of mixed reality and presentations, regularly speaking on the subject at conferences and technology events. Her forthcoming TEDx Talk “Think You’re Not Tech Savvy? Here’s Why You Are” explores how everyone can (and must) expand their digital skills to stay relevant and competitive into the future. Connect with her on LinkedIn here.