What is ProtoSphere?


ProtoSphere is business collaboration software that allows your organization to quickly create a 3D immersive environment optimized for business applications such as e-learning, virtual meetings and virtual conference events, scientific research and development, and sales and manufacturing collaborations involving rich data visualization. ProtoSphere allows global organizations to effectively bring together their best people and relevant information to make optimal business decisions, from anywhere, at anytime.

What do I get out of the box?


You get everything you need to create your own 3D virtual immersive environment for your business including server and client software, management and administration tools, and end-user tools for putting content and application data feeds into the environment. ProtoSphere is based on the ubiquitous Microsoft Windows server and desktop client operating system platforms.


Can I customize the environment to suit my needs?


Yes. The most useful personalizations are typically the ability to display and modify content in ProtoSphere from enterprise document stores like Microsoft Sharepoint and Windows File System. Organizations can use ProtoSphere’s presentation billboards to add content to 3D surfaces, provide Powerpoint presentations, and add jpeg photos or logos to the virtual environment. Users can also write brainstorming notes and perform application sharing between multiple user-locations. ProtonMedia can also customize the 3D art to suit specific customer look and feel requirements.


How secure is it?


Highly secure. ProtoSphere utilizes government-grade Advanced Encryption Standard (AES 256-bit) for security of communications (voice over IP, instant messaging/chat, etc.) between client and server. All communications occur on one, typically open, TCP firewall port (443) so no additional open port threats are introduced. User authentication, single sign on, and access control privileges are accommodated via integration with Microsoft Active Directory/LDAP, or via a secure local authentication store.


Can I hold a meeting in ProtoSphere with more than 100 people?


Yes. ProtoSphere’s mass meeting auditorium can comfortably accommodate hundreds of simultaneous user connections participating in a single meeting.



What is a 3D virtual meeting?


A 3D virtual meeting is an ad hoc or scheduled activity held via a communications network (like the Internet) and hosted within a ProtoSphere 3D virtual environment where people, represented by their avatars, congregate in a virtual room/space for purposes of sharing and visualizing information, collaboration, and learning.


What is an avatar?


An avatar is a computer user’s representation of himself/herself. It is an object representing the user. In the case of ProtoSphere, an avatar is chosen or designed with characteristics (facial, gender, clothing, skin and hair color, etc.) to the users liking, but in all circumstances acceptable for use within a business context.


Can my avatar look like me?


Yes, in ProtoSphere it is possible to select from a myriad of pre-defined styles and options which taken together can resemble your appearance, very closely, if desired.


What is VoIP?


VoIP stands for Voice over IP protocol. It is a mechanism by which a computer user’s voice information can be transported over an Internet Protocol (IP) based packet network such as the Internet. ProtoSphere makes use of VoIP for transporting voice information from connected users so that they may fully participate (e.g. conference live with their colleagues) when conducting 3D virtual meetings.


What is application sharing (app-share)?


Application-sharing is the ability for other users at remote locations to see and possibly manipulate an application running on your desktop computer. Application-sharing is one feature of ProtoSphere that may be used in a virtual room to collaborate with your colleagues.


Can I run ProtoSphere on my home computer (from a quality standpoint)?


Yes. Any Windows compatible computer running Vista or Windows 7 with a minimum Windows Experience Index (WEI) of 3.0 or better should run ProtoSphere with quality and fidelity. A WEI graphics and gaming graphics sub-score of 3.3 or better is highly recommended for a superior ProtoSphere 3D user interface experience. The WEI score of your Vista or Windows 7 machine may be obtained by running the “Check Your Windows Experience Index” application under the Control Panel. There is no WEI score available for Windows XP installations although ProtoSphere client software will run on XP machines with a suitable 3D graphics processor unit (GPU) and DirectX support.


How many people can meet in the virtual environment at one time?


The number of simultaneous connected users depends greatly on the hardware server(s) on which ProtoSphere services are deployed as well as on the Windows Experience Index (WEI) of the specific client machine. ProtoSphere server-side software services determine the number of total users possible within a virtual environment. When running all services on one dual-core server platform with 4GB RAM, 500 total concurrent users can be supported within a single virtual environment. For enterprise scaling, services may be separated to run on more hardware servers. ProtoSphere client-side software determines how many users may be in a single room/space within the virtual environment. The greater the number of users (avatars) in a single room, the lower the frame rate will drop. For a client machine with a WEI score of 3.3, in a standard virtual room, 50-60 avatars is the acceptable limit to maintain a usable frame rate. ProtoSphere has a special Mass Presentation Auditorium which is specially designed to accommodate hundreds of simultaneous users participating in a very large, forum-style virtual meeting (e.g. a plenary conference)


Do I have to be connected to my company’s VPN?

No. The embedded encryption offered with ProtoSphere means that it isn’t essential for users to connect solely via the company virtual private network (VPN). ProtoSphere also operates over VPN facilities, so this will be determined by corporate policy on a case-by-case basis.


What is Single Port Firewall Traversal?


Single Firewall Port traversal is a ProtoSphere feature which allows all communications to travel securely over one designated firewall port which is usually acceptable to corporate security policy.


What is the difference between ProtoSphere and Second Life?


ProtoSphere is a 3D immersive environment built on the Microsoft stack to address business collaboration needs. Second Life is a business-to-consumer 3D online service built on open-source technologies and focused on e-commerce, entertainment, and third-party development.


Why should we use a ProtoSphere 3D Virtual Environment vs. a physical meeting?


Many organizations have recently implemented travel restrictions (due to budget) yet still need to bring together employees for meetings, conferences, events, and project and product collaborations. ProtoSphere provides a virtual meeting environment that’s just like being there. ProtoSphere use means less unproductive time wasted in airports, sitting in traffic, and waiting for connections. ProtoSphere also has the benefit of easily persisting data in electronic form after the meeting/event is over so that it can be reviewed, updated, and massaged. This persistence isn’t possible with physical meetings or events. Finally, customer case studies of ProtoSphere indicate some tendency to more fluid engagement among meeting participants in brainstorming and conflict resolution because of the anonymity afforded by the avatar versus live interactions.


How are companies using ProtoSphere to make a difference today?


Businesses within the life-sciences industry are using ProtoSphere to facilitate e-learning and virtual meetings and events that eliminate unnecessary business travel. The same organizations have started to realize additional benefits of holding ongoing collaborative sessions in ProtoSphere, such as 25 percent less time spent meeting with up to 50 percent better retention of what happened, versus 2D meeting tools like Cisco WebEx. Specific collaborative applications include 3D virtual scientific research poster sessions, enterprise social networking for improved human capital management, and manufacturing process optimization activities.


What is the relationship between unified communications (UC) or unified communications and collaboration (UCC) and ProtoSphere?


ProtoSphere is a collaboration application with a rich user experience that rides on top of, and often justifies the investment in, enterprise UC and UCC infrastructure projects. ProtoSphere takes unique advantage of the enterprise VoIP, instant messaging, and presence and document management platforms provided by UCC.


What is the difference between telepresence and a ProtoSphere 3D virtual collaborative environment?


Telepresence uses high quality video conferencing equipment and facilities to enable collaboration. Due to the relatively high price, specialized equipment, and increased network bandwidth involved, telepresence is best suited for room-to-room meetings, and is most often used by executives and senior management.  ProtoSphere’s ability to bring together people and their information (documents; presentations; and application content, including video) enables the kind of brainstorming and conflict resolution that drives to the core of enterprise workflow. The value equation for ProtoSphere (e.g. software running on commodity PC clients and servers in the enterprise or on a dedicated cloud) also means that many more users within an organization can justifiably access ProtoSphere collaboration tools versus a telepresence implementation, with significantly less bandwidth being required on average. ProtonMedia expects to provide deeper integration/interworking between 3D virtual environments and enterprise video telepresence as its roadmap unfolds.