I find your lack of faith disturbing

(When real life just ain’t good enough no more)

I finally managed to see Avatar in 3D last week, and then again with my son. The reactions to both viewings were very different but it also posed a bit of a dilemma. Firstly, I was completely taken by surprise as to how immersive the whole experience was. Oh sure, it’s SciFi by the numbers and nothing new in terms of a storyline but the visual spectacle I was completely unprepared for. If you could take the emotional high of watching Star Wars as a 7 year old for the first time and somehow capture that then release it in adult form then it doesn’t come close. Still very much in what could only be described as delayed shock the next day (as a friend pointed out, it’s like being involved in an accident and it only sinks in hours after) I vowed to take my 6 year old to see it and hope he would experience and enjoy something this big. And enjoy it he did. But the impact wasn’t the same and he was fairly nonchalant about it all (although he didn’t like it when the aliens died so was happy they won). It then struck me how technically desensitised the young have become in having access to practically everything at their fingertips and yet as the older generation we’ve scrambled and tripped to get here.

So turning this into a process tool perspective, has this been the case ? Have we become desensitised to technical changes in BPMS that nothing really grabs us anymore ?

I toyed with the concept in 2009 of mashing a BPMS tool with OpenSim, an open source and more flexible alternative to Second Life. The guys at ReactionGrid were extremely receptive and helpful in trying out the idea and entertaining prospective vendors in how they could turn a flat 2D simulated process model into a 3D simulated process environment. Over at the BPM research crowd in QUT they’ve been doing similar work albeit using the Half-Life engine. Ross Brown, originally a games developer and now BPM researcher conducts these studies in practical application (watch out for an incoming ‘Audience with….’ on Ross)

Now to me something like this would be extremely useful depending on the industry application (obviously watching a bank clerk simulated doing a mortgage application would be extremely dull !) but you can imagine the manufacturing or health service possibilities in being able to sweep through an environment and watch it unfold without actually being there. Certainly, WalMart do this already where they don’t have a full size mock up store on hand to test out new layouts.

So why the technical apathy from the rest of the industry ?
Are we simply not there yet in terms of moving on from simple simulation ?
Do the types of practical applications not justify the spend in R&D ?
Or is it perhaps just not ‘wow’ enough anymore ?

I’m still stuck in the late 70’s watching that Star Destroyer fill the screen with a sense of wonder.
And so should you be.


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