I have just been having a first look around Sustainability Now (see post), the free two-day virtual event organised by Phil Clark and his colleagues at Building and Building Design magazines. There’s a lot of opportunities to interact – the event has video clips, seminars, loads of downloadable white papers, case studies, brochures, and a lounge which many people seem to be using to have all kinds of conversations (some of these get intertwined; what about having lounges that are themed by subject so that people can join in the conversation they like?). Icons along the bottom of the screen help you keep track of who’s “in the room”.
On the exhibition side, just like a real-life event, I first quickly surveyed the stands and then went back to the one or two that I was interested in. Archetype, for example, was the only software vendor with an online presence, so I tentatively opened a chat window and asked a question. Just minutes later, I got a quick response and a vCard back from Archetype’s Jon Burrows and an online conversation was under way. Cool. (Archetype, by the way, specialises in software to support architectural practice’s knowledge and processes. A familiar proposition, I thought, and found out that its solution is not a software-as-a-service solution, and, yes, its principal competitor is Union Square.)
I know some of my other fellow bloggers are also at the event (I’ve spotted iSite‘s Martin Brown talking about ecotowns in the lounge, and Mel Starrs tweeted that she was mooching around the event) – so there is a bit of a Web 2.0 buzz going on outside the event’s established channels of communication (I’ve just had an email and a chat request from two different Building/CMPi people). According to Phil, the event has now had over 3000 registrations; his colleague Dawn Archambault tells me that 736 have logged in so far today (1150am), with 289 currently “live”.
I did try watching one of the event’s webinars, but a problem with my RealPlayer installation defeated me.