Altadyn CEO, Darius Lahoutifard, Talks About 3D Virtual Events
In a recent Interview, Altadyn CEO, Darius Lahoutifard answers to Jean-Michel Billaut’s questions about Altadyn, the Virtual Events market and more. Jean-Michel is the founding President of Atelier BNP-Paribas, the technology analysis office of the largest European investment bank. He has received multiple awards for his work in the promotion and the development of the Internet in Europe.
The full interview in French can be found here.
A subtitled and shorter version of the interview can be watched below:
The script of the interview can be read below:
Hello Jean Michel
You started a company called Altadyn, can you explain us what it does ?
We provide 3D-VirtualEvents.com. In a 3D Virtual Event, users enter a conference room, a lounge, or an exhibit hall with their avatars, in a more realistic and much more engaging and interactive way than the traditional tools such as Webex. It’s a SaaS platform for running virtual events in 3D immersive mode.
Do you download and install the software?
No. There is no need for that! Our big difference with other 3D immersive platforms, is that thanks to our tiny Java applet, there is no download or installation required. It’s very “enterprise-friendly”.
How does the virtual event market evolve in the US ?
The Virtual Events market is emerging. The 2.5D & 3D market is estimated around $180M, growing fast, and that figure doesn’t include numbers from traditional 2D vendors. If we add them, then we talk about the live collaboration platforms (or web conferencing) market which is estimated at $3B and growing.
And if I want to use your system to run a 3D conference, what should I do ?
There are 2 steps. First, as the event planner, you can setup your event in 3 easy steps thanks to a wizard on our website . You’ll chose the capacity of the event, for instance 50 or 100 persons, then you choose a virtual room among a list of ready-made templates, that you can easily customize with your company logo or other graphics, or add seats in the room, add links to other web pages or resources from the room, decide how attendees can join (login through Facebook or Linkedin,…) and some other setups. When finished with the room and meeting setup, the system provides you with an e-mail invitation including a URL that you can share with the attendees or get them registered for automatic management of the registration from our website which can send out invitations directly.
The 2nd step is when the users enter the space, they receive the invitation e-mail, click on a link, follow a short login process, choose an avatar among a list of 30 models, then they are teleported in a 3D space. They can jump from one point of the room to another. They can click on a seat and sit down if it’s a conference. For a tradeshow they can click from one booth to another or freely walk in 3D using arrow keys and/or the mouse. They navigate freely in the 3D space and visualize different booths. In a conference room, they can see multiple screens thanks to the 3D space : slides on one screen, a live twitter feed on another, a video started by the presenter on a 3rd screen, etc. All with VoIP and chat. The whole experience is simulating perfectly the reality, like a real conference.
Ok, I see. Now in a tradeshow, with booths, how can one build a virtual booth ?
Similar to what I said earlier: There are different templates for individual booths and read-made exhibit halls, where you just customize a booth with logos, setup links to pdf brochures, video links, contact links, etc. Another benefit of 3D is the capability of importing 3D objects. You can import 3D models built in CAD or architecture software, or from 3D animation. Models built with tools such as Catia or 3DS-Max or Google SketchUp. Participants can handle objects, rotate, move or enlarge them and while one manipulates an object, the others can watch or interact. In fact one of the applications of the platform is synchronous collaboration for design review both in product design and in construction. When you are pointing your laser beam on a specific area of a 3D object, other participants see what you are showing. Here’s an application for presenting a new product during launch or a technical training for maintenance. Dell, one of our customers, has used our platform for new product presentation to internal sales force and it’s obviously 10 or 20 times less expensive than organizing a real meeting.
How much does it cost and what is your business model ?
It is a SaaS platform, with either a monthly subscription or an event-based on demand purchasing. To give you an idea, monthly subscription for a conference room with a capacity of 100 people is $490, unlimited use. For an on-demand event, which lasts a few hours, with 100 people using AMAZON’s EC2 Cloud Computing servers, you pay just $150.
I organize an exhibition with vendors and sponsors, Can I make them pay ?
Absolutely, it is the choice of the organizer to decide about their own business model. You may proceed with the same economic model as real trade shows by charging exhibitors and sponsors and provide them with booths and banners or other ads.
In your opinion, what percentage of the whole tradeshows market is virtual today?
Still a very small part, but growing fast. This market is traditionally connected to hospitality and tourism (hotels, etc…). Event venues (hotel rooms, conference rooms, ….) see us as competitors, while Event Planners and Event Producers are shifting gradually from physical to virtual. The market is actually going through a transition via hybrid events. Those are real events with a simultaneous live broadcast online. For instance, one of our clients, the National Defense University in Washington D.C. runs their annual conference using our platform each year, in a hybrid mode with people in the 3D virtual room watching a live video stream of the real conference.
In your system, can I see who is in the same space as me?
Absolutely, not only you can see the list of participants as you see in traditional tools, but also you see their avatars moving, their actions, where they are looking at, what they are doing, etc. You can also click on their avatar and engage conversations or check their linkedin or facebook or Google+ profiles depending on the social media through which the user entered.
I wanted to thank you for allowing me to present Altadyn and 3D-VirtualEvents.com.
You are welcome, congratulation and good luck !
Thank you very much Jean-Michel !