Collaborative Virtual Environments

A collaborative virtual environment is a space in which several people interact with each other, often over several locations. The aim is for these people to share ideas and experiences in a co-operative setting – hence the name.

Types of collaborative virtual environments

Examples of collaborative environments include:

  • Marketing: consumer interaction
  • Training in dangerous/harmful situations
  • Social entertainment, e.g. multi-player games
  • Education: distance learning
  • Art: interactive installations
  • Built environment: architectural walkthroughs
  • Medicine: surgery simulation
  • Healthcare: virtual reality in phobia treatment

These are some of the most popular uses of collaborative virtual environments.

Benefits of collaborative virtual environments

The benefits of collaborative virtual environments or CVE’s for short are new forms of communication and co-operation: these enable the participants to develop new ways of using data which are then utilised in the real world.

This is a dynamic and innovative way of working which enables people to interact, change or amend the data within these environments. This is in contrast to the static, linear way of working in which information is passed from one person to another and negates the chance to explore this is a variety of ways.

A collaborative virtual environment can be entirely digital or a mixture of the virtual and real world (known as augmented reality). But their main advantage is to allow a group of people who are based in different locations to share information.

This is an exciting form of technology which has attracted people from a variety of disciplines. This includes:

  • Designers
  • Scientists
  • Artists
  • Engineers
  • Researchers
  • Developers

All of these people collaborate to find new forms of interaction as well as boosting current forms of human-computer interaction (HCI).

More research is being carried out into the application of collaborative virtual environments now and in the future.

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