Communicating in the third dimension

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Face-to-face contact in business is now often a luxury and to most effectively communicate our ideas over the web we need 3D. But until the technology is consumer friendly we’re fighting a losing battle, writes Rob Jamieson
As the global economy is starting to fight its way out of recession some new trends have emerged. Alongside a reduction in workforce, more people are now working from home or working for themselves. Travel bans are also in place at many companies. All of this means less face-to-face contact than ever before, so how do you communicate effectively with your work colleagues and your customers?

A lot of companies started using “consumer” based technologies, and Facebook and Twitter have become all the rage. Personally, I’m not 100% convinced by the effectiveness of these apps in the professional space but for business to consumer it can be strong, but the person Tweeting has to be interesting!

Some companies have embraced new technologies well, and judging by some stats on YouTube, video can be a really effective way of communicating with customers. We all know about the highly crafted viral marketing but a ‘Joe blogs’ video of something being manufactured or a monkey fitting a graphics card certainly work and have changed the way companies talk to their customers.

The 3D challenge

While 2D technologies are everywhere, as engineers and designers we play in a 3D arena but there is still no 3D for the masses quite yet. You could argue that there is 3Dvia (Dassault) or Microsoft Bing, SketchUp on Google etc but you still need some grasp of 3D to use them.

I’ve been recently trying to buy a new house and part of the elimination process is looking at houses ‘virtually’ using 3D street-viewing tools. Watching my wife navigate a street with one of these (badly) and trying my best not to jump in was hard!

Now I have lots of hardware around my house so 3D works well, but using these tools on lesser hardware did not give us the same experience. There is always a requirement for some form of 3D acceleration. However, Fusion chips with both 3D and CPU support are coming out from major manufactures and form factors are getting smaller so expect more out of portable devices.

Using 3D tech should not be like buying a house in England where you need four or five sets of people to move on the same day for it to work. When one part breaks, the whole chain breaks down, but don’t get me started!

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Part of my house move now requires me to look at planning drawings (dealing with builders is next). I can’t help myself commenting on hand drawn ones with interesting linework. For me I’m surprised that they are not in 3D – even recent plans. It would be far easier for consumers to realise what has been designed if it was in 3D.

The broader market reach of 3D technology will certainly help us all, but it needs to work out of the box for widespread adoption by consumers. One of the biggest barriers is when it comes to sharing information. Yes you can send another designer or potential business customer a viewer or instructions of how to view your 3D data, but easy access to 3D in this volume prosumer and consumer space is still missing. And while companies continue to fight over an industry standard it will continue to be absent.

As things stand, sharing 3D data is made easier by embedding 3D technology in websites but it often takes time to update the information. One of the successes of YouTube is how easy it is to change and update data. One house I was looking at had recently been renovated but a quick look at street view showed how it was before the paint job. My wife never wanted to see that one, but she would have if data had been kept up to date. This illustrates the importance of relevant data.

In some ways we need something outside of one provider, that supports multiple platforms and level hardware from handheld to workstation. The hardware foundation is there and 3D technologies are more than capable – now it’s down to software companies to agree on a standard. Once this is in place communicating with dispersed colleagues, customers and suppliers will certainly be much easier, but why can’t they get a move on? Surely it can’t be as hard as buying a house in England!

Rob Jamieson is a marketing manager at AMD. He thought he was dealing quite well with the stress of moving and then a man with a large city bonus gazumped him. This article is his own opinion and may not represent AMD’s positions, strategies or opinions.
robert.jamieson@amd.com


Exchanging ideas over the web can be a challenge says Rob Jamieson


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