John Zhaoying talks to SciEye: carbon, future trends, & advantages of running VR conferences

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This is how a high-attendance area slowly rezzes for a new arrival.

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John Zhaoying low-rezzed in my viewer at 106 person Mitch Kapor conf.

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And rezzing in …

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And he’s all here now with my old graphics card at last [the lag only partly to do with SL]

While at Life 2.0 Spring ’08, SciEye was fascinated by John Zhaoying’s answers to a conf carbob footprint question on the last day.  So Eye asked for those numbers again afterwards, and added a few followup questions for him.

John, who is John Jainshigg in Real Life [RL], graciously answered answered them.  As promised, here is our exclusive interview with John …

“Exclusive interview!?!”  “Yes, it’s the only one he gave Wed at 4:11am, March 26th.”

Better carbon numbers, etc.
JJainschigg@cmp.com
to Paradox Olbers <paradox.olbers@gmail.com>

date:Wed, Mar 26, 2008 at 4:11 AM
Hi, Paradox! Answers as follows:

>> For the blog-entry Rissa quoted, I just found some spreadsheets on the web. The actual numbers are as follows, estimates produced by CarbonNeutral.com (http://www.carbonneutral.com/).

For a virtual event in Second Life with 1000 attendees, six days long: about 4 tons of carbon, total. Additionally, I note that since this carbon is produced entirely through consumption of electricity for server/computer power and cooling, it can be migrated to renewable and non-carbon-impactful sources using current technology, becoming natively carbon-neutral. Virtual events, of course, produce no solid-waste stream, no carcinogenic particulates, etc.

The reason I hesitate to say “the carbon footprint of Life 2.0″ is because CarbonNeutral calculated these figures based on data from our Fall ’07 event, and used an audience cutoff of 1000 attendees in order to work with a round number. The Life 2.0 Spring event, just finished, had a much larger registration pool (2100+) and a much larger inworld audience. So we need to recalculate, and the relation isn’t quite linear — for the actual event, it’s probably around 6 or 6.5 tons of carbon — but don’t quote me. For comparison, the carbon footprint of one average American family in a year is between 9 and 11 tons of carbon.

Through purchases of carbon offsets, Life 2.0 is designated a CarbonNeutral event. That is, we’ve spent money investing in a heat-reclamation project in South India and a wind-farm in China to offset our tiny carbon damage.

CarbonNeutral also gave me the carbon-footprint of a real-world event with 1000 attendees and a comparable global audience distribution (which inflects the carbon-cost of travel to and from the show). That figure is about 200 tons of carbon PER DAY, which means a six-day event for 1000 folks costs the world 1200 tons of carbon total, including a huge waste-stream that includes non-recyclables (e.g., plastics, toxics, packing materials, etc.), huge fuel-consumption, carcinogens, etc.

Followup qs – is this the 1st Life 2.0 event to be virtual-only?

>> CMP founded Life 2.0 in April of 2007 as a virtual event on metaverse technology and business. Since the April show last year, we did a Fall iteration (September 15-21, 2007), so this recent Spring ’08 show is our third. All have been virtual, though the Fall show had some mixed-reality extensions to the Dr. Dobb’s SD Best Practices show in Boston and the InformationWeek 500 show in Phoenix/Scottsdale AZ.With over 2100 registrants, Life 2.0 is now arguably the biggest show in the virtual worlds space, and is growing (for the moment) at about 100% per iteration, so 4x, year over year.

What % of your managed events are VWorld only?

>> All of them, for the moment. But you need to distinguish between our local business (UBM World2World), which is all about virtual reality, and United Business Media’s global branded and custom events business, which is enormous, spread across multiple divisions, and mostly based in the real. UBM and its subsidiaries are in the very tippy-top tier of global event producers — we (the collective ‘we’ in this case) do networld+interop, Web 2.0, Black Hat, Game Developer Conference, XChange events, the Japan Jewelry Expo (which I believe is the largest single event in the world) and dozens of others, and produce real-world custom events for all sorts of global clients. (http://www.ubmgroup.biz)

The trendline u see for the future?

>> I can really only comment on trends as they affect our virtual worlds business. Given the direction of the economy, the price of fuel, global warming, the costs of travel, hospitality, and labor, etc, and the increasing desire on the part of event producers to reach global markets without increasing costs, doing events in virtual reality is a no-brainer. The web, however, has taught us to avoid carelessly predicting the rate of cultural and economic transition to new technology — so “more virtual events” doesn’t necessarily mean “fewer real-world events,” at least for the near-term.

What seems more important to us is that virtual reality opens up new event-market opportunities. For example, there are hundreds of event ideas floating around that just can’t happen in reality, due to logistics and cost issues. Events where, for example, the target audience numbers only a few hundred people, globally distributed. Or where a critical, globally-distributed audience needs to meet quarterly, instead of yearly (think: AIDS researchers). Or where a large component of the target audience is locked to location, at any given time, by the nature of its mission-critical work (think: air-traffic controllers, police, military). Or where someone wants to extend the benefits of membership in an event community to a group or region where people are economically or otherwise challenged to travel to real events. Think of a big software company, for example, that holds a global event each year for its developers in San Jose — but now wants to involve some of the tens of thousands of developers it has in India. How many of these folks can afford to fly around the world to attend a real event? Virtual reality offers a fluent, natural solution to problems like these, and many others.

What was easier?

>> I assume you mean from our point of view (i.e., the producers?) Not much in the way of core labor. An event of any kind is a large-scale, complex project, requiring a certain, irreducible amount of labor in organizing, building stuff, marketing and execution by managers and specialists (e.g., webdevs, media engineers, etc.). But there was NO peripheral labor at all to manage. And unlike a real event, we didn’t have to relocate ourselves at various times during production to the destination city to meet with vendors and venue folks, or spend two weeks living out of a suitcase around the event itself.

Virtual events are a little like blogs, right? If you apply professional standards, it turns out to be just as hard to write for a blog as it is to write for a magazine — journalism is journalism. And in some facets, blogging can be technically more challenging. But you don’t need to manage the printing presses.

What was harder [re being in a VW only, not a mixed-reality (mix-real) event]?

>> Nothing essential is made harder by being in a virtual world. Clearly, attendees new to virtual worlds will need some help with the user interface, navigation and media. But folks who are totally new to the space (or who simply don’t want the trouble of dealing with the virtual world directly) can watch, listen and chat on the web.

What _is_ harder is providing this host of media options — the realtime video, the streamed audio, the chat. But it’s well worth it — the audience on the web at this past Life 2.0 was just as involved as the audience inworld, asked great questions, and generally made their presence felt. And by these means, the show reached a much, much wider audience in realtime than inworld-only can permit.

And where can i find your preferred boilerplate text to describe both CMP & TS Metaverse?

The CMP trademark is now legacy. We’re part of the ThinkServices division of United Business Media.

http://www.ubmgroup.biz/    for the global corporation.
http://www.think-services.com/    for our local division

Our own (UBM World2World … that’s the new name) website is being redesigned as we speak. For the moment, the following will serve to describe what we locally do:

UBM World2World is a full service Second Life solution provider offering turnkey services to global clients in project conceptualization; design, building and scripting; custom infrastructure engineering; event production; asset management; audience acquisition and community development; and metrics/analytics.

In our work, we draw on the resources of United Business Media, one of the world’s largest multimedia companies, creator of market-leading periodicals, award-winning websites, and some of the most innovative trade events in the technology space, including the SD series of global events, the Web 2.0 events, Xchange expos, ICMI, Black Hat events, CSI Summits, and Game Developer events.

We help our customers achieve ROI on metaverse investments — through subject-matter expertise and market insight; by best-practice in audience acquisition, qualification, community nurturance, and metrics; and by creating integrated solutions that leverage web technology to overcome metaverse scale, security and other limitations, insuring deep engagement with hyperqualified global audiences.

Thank you for your time!

“Any other questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch!

John Jainschigg
Executive Director, CMP Metaverse”

Here’s SciEye’s previous look at CMP region isles 1-4 and Life 2.0 Spring’08 

Troy McLuhan said “Great Interview about Virtual World Conferences
My good friend Paradox Olbers (SL name) just posted a great interview with John Jainschigg (John Zhaoying in SL) about the recent Life 2.0 Summit in SL, which was arguably the biggest virtual-world-only conference ever.  John was one of the main organizers.  The interview is a must-read if you’re interested in using virtual worlds for conferences.”

CarbonFund.org said: “The carbon footprint of an event in Second Life was reportedly “tiny.” It was offset through support of a wind farm in real life in China.”

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One Response to “John Zhaoying talks to SciEye: carbon, future trends, & advantages of running VR conferences”

  1. The Grid Live » Second Life News for March 30, 2008 Says:

    […] Spindrift, in SciLands, Second Life John Zhaoying talks to SciEye: carbon, future trends, & advantages of running VR conferences Quote from the site – While at Life 2.0 Spring ‘08, SciEye was fascinated by John Zhaoying’s […]

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