Virtual software simulates thrill of real business meetings

SANTA BARBARA, CALIF. -- 3D, virtual space "worlds" enable you to take on otherworldly forms, fly through futuristic cities and battle evil wizards. But one new offering lets you sit in a meeting room and listen to PowerPoint presentations. Actually, it's cooler than it sounds.

Altadyn's 3DXplorer offers 3D virtual meeting spaces that let you display PowerPoint-like presentations, complete with virtual laser pointer, and lets you import all kinds of content to create your own scenes, rooms and objects. 

To use it, you simply sign up and pick a meeting room template. The service gives you a unique URL where the meetings will take place.  You can also design a custom avatar to represent you. 3DXplorer is free to use, unless you're planning to make money with it, in which case you have to pay Altadyn a subscription.

Virtual online meetings are great, because you can hear the voice of the presenter and look at his or her presentation at the same time, chat with other attendees and do other things. I'm not sure meetings need the additional benefit of being able to look at the virtual backs of other attendees' virtual heads.

But could this kind of software be used to create a new kind of company? What if you created a virtual company -- or, rather, a real company with a distributed set of employees. And what if you used 3DXplorer to create an entire office, complete with a meeting room, virtual water cooler and an office for every employee. Would that have advantages, or would it simply re-create the disadvantages of a physical office without leveraging the benefits of a virtual workforce? 

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