There is a video of Ebbe at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education conference. Daniel Voyager posted it and I picked it up from his site.
There is about 4 minutes and 20 seconds of a test pattern at the beginning. I’ve started the video 4:20 in. So, you only have a couple of seconds of it.
If leave the display of the video on mid-size display you see the live chat recorded scroll in the window to the right. Different links will display the chat differently. I thought this was the better one.
The location and computer rendering of the scene both suck. Sad. This looks like something from 10 years ago. The audio has apparently not been edited. So, you’ll have some volume issues but it is OK.
Ebbe and Bret Atwood from Linden Lab are interviewed. Of course, the questions are about Second Life and Sansar as they related to education.
I’ve paraphrased the questions and answers. So, my perception of both may depart from what was actually asked and answered. So, if you see a point important to you, be sure and listen/watch that part of the video.
05:30 – The first question is about how Linden Lab (LL) views the importance of education using its products. Ebbe thinks it core. Near and dear. Much longer answer.
08:40 – Planed partnerships and opportunities to work with other groups? Are things coming from partnerships? Ways for organizations to get involved?
Ebbe introduces Bret. Bret is also a teacher (currently teaching at Washington state), so the education side is dear to him. SLED is still active and has 5,000 members. Active. Community Forum on SL Forum.
12:00 – In terms of R&D is there anything specific going on? Ebbe reiterates that spending and development of SL has NOT stopped. Ebbe talks about coming animesh and the changing economic model. Looking for alternative income to lower ‘real estate taxes’. Looking to make owning experiences cheaper… affordable.
16:35 – Is anything going to be happening in next little while for educational pricing? Already half price. Ebbe is hoping to be able to reduce cost even more as they change the financial model.
17:00 – Question on moving to cloud. What is happen and what benefits do you expect? Using proprietary hosting from a decade ago. Now cloud is a better option. The infrastructure can scale by use when in the cloud. Expected to reduce cost and that savings can be passed along.
Other benefits are having more flexibility in servers and performance. So, big events could use high performance system.
Geographic distribution, being located in US means people in Asia and Australia would have less latency.
On demand spin up of a region. Cheaper to hold a region not in use on disk.
Moving the system is a big, complex project expected to take all of this year (2018) and some of next.
23:20 – Any specific plans for promoting education in SL and/or Sansar? Team is focused on growth, financial and user count.
Bret talks about Place Pages. See places.secondlife.com. They are getting 360-images working with Place Pages. Bret places a link in chat. Lok to the right side of the YouTube page to see what was happening in chat.
Aside: Search on roleplay. There is a place page for Doomed Ship. Also, I have yet to be able to get a Places Page to come up in Google or another big search engine. Things in the top ten of results were some 2012 pages. So, something isn’t clicking.
Narrowing my Doomed Ship Second Life search to the last year (12 months), I get no hits om a place page. If these pages fail to show up on the search engines then they are basically pointless.
Ebbe re-iterates the Lab wants to and strives to listen to the educational community and keep communication channels open.
26:20 – Is there a possibility of bring back the Community Liaisons? There used to be dedicated employees that worked with various industries. Ebbe says maybe not dedicated. But, they are separating marketing efforts with 3 people dictated to Second Life.
28:00 – Talk about commitment to SL and Sansar. Ebbe says lots of similarities. Both are places to create experiences and invite people to them. Investment in Sansar is for the future and VR. SL can’t provide the performance necessary for VR. So, they are independent products that will work to support their respective customers. Each will do their own thing.
Each product is better for different things.
Ebbe thinks they have just scratched the surface of what can be done with SL and Sansar.
33:20 – What educational advantages are there in Sansar? Ebbe says nothing special so far, Sansar’s basic design should have benefits and cost advantages for educational groups.
36:45 – Is the Lab reconsidering a browser-based or VR viewer? Ebbe says the system/platform capabilities just aren’t there for SL for VR. In Sansar to get performance, there is no real-time editing and scenes/regions are prebaked to improve performance. SL allows real-time building and editing but, cannot match Sansar’s performance. Currently not considering VR for SL.
Browser-based is something the Lab has experimented with. The conversion rates for new users were expected to improve if the download and install steps were removed. But, they didn’t. So, a browser-based viewer with the Lab doing the rendering server side would be a subscription service to cover the cost of a GPU farm. For now, the Lab is leaving that to third parties.
41:11 – Are there other technological improvements coming over the next 12 months? Yes. Continue to improve, like Animesh and EEP, also performance and security, management of griefing vectors, more stable system overall. Improved balance in the revenue model. Better subscription plans.
42:50 – What about accessibility in SL and Sansar? Sansar has a way to go for accessibility. If there is a problem with accessibility in SL Ebbe is not aware of it. They have done all they know to do. So, feedback is welcome. Tell them what they might do.
44:30 – What about ease of use for creation? Sansar requires 3rd party tools to build the content. Ebbe says there are degrees of creation and sophistication. Sansar is specifically avoiding attempting to build in creation tools. Not planning to reinvent the wheel. Sansar design is focused on how to deal with content once imported.
Sansar users will have to rely on 3rd party tools and/or the Sansar marketplace.
The above is a part worth listening to in the video.
49:20 – Educators run into a wall when dealing with their administrators. Is there something the Lab could do to help them? Ebbe points them to Bret. Basically, have the educators talk to Bret and marketing to explain the roadblocks they hit. Bret will help them find ways to solve problems.
Bret is going to look at the information for educators in the SL Wiki and probably update it.
52:30 – Asking Bret, are there things the Lab needs to do to be more attractive to education-based organizations? Not that they know of… So, get us a list… … a couple of minutes of spin.
Bret monitors the SL Forum’s Education section.
56:10 – Each year the Lab has surprised us. Is there anything you would like to let the education community know about? Bret dropped a hint of a public announcement coming soon on what to expect this coming year.
The video quality is horrible. The worst example of Second Life I’ve seen in a long time. Of course, Ebbe and Bret probably didn’t control that or know what the recording would look like. I suggest they be more involved in setting up future interviews. Even meeting in Hippo it would have looked better… (Ebbe in SL)
I think we also see the disconnect between the educators and the reality of private enterprise. The question repeatedly comes up in one form or another asking what the Lab is doing for educators. Ebbe and Bret were spinning the answers to show their sincere concern. But, my takeaway was, ‘well, we’ve done SL and we are building Sansar’ just use them and let us know if there is something more you need.’
That may seem callous to educators. But, for 15 years the Lab has at some level, and certainly more or less at different times, been designing for the education community. So, what is it they haven’t already built in?
I don’t know how impromptu the interview was. So, they may not have had a chance to prep for it. So, neither Ebbe or Bret seemed to have good answers. They did have honest, real answers but they were short on how to spin them for educators.
I greatly appreciate Ebbe. Of all the SL CEO’s I’ve seen, I like Ebbe best. I think he has best understood SL and done the most to improve it. I also think Bret will be a great asset for the Lab. I look forward to seeing where they take SL and Sansar in 2018.